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Dolphins-Falcons: 10 observations


BlacksburgHokie
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Advantages:

MIA-OL, LB, DB

ATL-QB, WR, RB, DL, ST, Coach

After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Dolphins-Falcons matchup.

1. Miami needs to make Atlanta one dimensional: Last year rookie QB Matt Ryan took the league by storm and it looks like he will have even more offensive weapons at his disposal in 2009. The passing game fed off a very strong ground game so if Miami can crowd the box and take away the threat of Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood it will make the play-action pass less threatening.

2. Expect the Dolphins to try to sustain long drives and control the clock: The longer the Dolphins are able to keep Atlanta's offense off the field the better chance they have of taking the home crowd out of the game. With all the weapons the Falcons have Miami needs to keep its defense rested and fresh. Look for Miami to run the ball as much as possible and go with the short, controlled passing game.

3. Miami will attack the edges with their ground game: The Dolphins have two excellent tackles in Jake Long and Vernon Carey and probably will send Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams on a lot of off-tackle plays in an attempt to play to their strength. Both ball carriers can be extremely difficult to bring down once they get to the open field.

4. Look for the Dolphins to keep to their base defense for most of the game: It is hard to commit extra defenders to either the run or the pass when playing the Falcons as they can hurt you from so many different directions. Expect the Dolphins to stress responsibility and staying at home on defense as they try to keep the Falcons from making any big plays.

5. Matchup to watch: Long vs. Atlanta RDE John Abraham: Abraham ended up third in the NFL with 16.5 sacks in 2008 and will be counted on to provide pressure off the edge again in 2009. He will be matched up against Long, who enjoyed an excellent rookie season in 2008. Miami QB Chad Pennington is not very elusive in the pocket and needs protection to give him the time to go through his progressions.

6. Atlanta will pound the ball with their powerful two-headed ground game: Turner and Norwood gave Atlanta one of the strongest ground games in the NFL in 2008 and will be counted on to be dominating again this year. Head coach Mike Smith and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey are not apt to give up quickly if the ground game does not produce right out of the blocks. They know that eventually their backs will break some runs.

7. Expect the Falcons to use the ground game to spur the passing attack with an effective play-action fake: With the strong ground game Atlanta possesses they are able to freeze most secondaries with an effective play-action fake which opens up the passing game at all levels. With the addition of Tony Gonzalez at tight end it gives Ryan even more levels to look for effective receivers.

8. Atlanta needs to stop the Dolphins' ground game: The Falcons are apt to rely on their base front seven to contain Miami's ground game. The addition of rookie DT Peria Jerry, their first-round draft choice this past spring, gives the Falcons a quality run stopper who is athletic enough to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage.

9. Look for Atlanta to rotate a lot of defensive backs: With the late additions of cornerbacks Tye Hill and Brian Williams the Falcons feel as if they are getting strong in the secondary. These guys give them a lot of options for nickel backs as well as their dime packages. Quality cover corners mixed with a good pass rush can make it difficult for opponents to throw the ball effectively.

10. Matchup to watch: Turner vs. Miami LB Channing Crowder: Turner became Atlanta's workhorse ball carrier last year as he led the team with nearly 1,700 yards. He is a powerful running back who has the speed to take it all the way once he gets past the first level of defense. Crowder's job will be to stop Turner before he gets up a good head of steam.

Prediction:

Miami - 20

Atlanta - 24

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/scouting?gameId=290913001

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Thier first point doesn't make any sense. If you crowd the box, you are more susceptible to play action.

Beat me to it !

Ol buddy boi forgot about one said Gonzo!

But I can also give the guy a bit of leeway because it has not yet been

proven one way or the other.

However, come Sunday we will see definitive proof ;)

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Number 5: Long vs. Atlanta RDE John Abraham

I think Long is gonna be in for a very long day. I am looking for JA55 to have the same kinda game as last years season opener.

Agreed. Abe comes up big in season openers and Jake's only weakness is against elite speed rushers.

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Number 5: Long vs. Atlanta RDE John Abraham

I think Long is gonna be in for a very long day. I am looking for JA55 to have the same kinda game as last years season opener.

We need Babs and the NTs to get some push in this game. Miami's O-line has new parts at center and RG but both players are good. We need to take advantage of their lack of experience working with each other. If we can get Jerry/Lewis doubled up, I like Abe's chances one on one against any tackle in the league.

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We need Babs and the NTs to get some push in this game. Miami's O-line has new parts at center and RG but both players are good. We need to take advantage of their lack of experience working with each other. If we can get Jerry/Lewis doubled up, I like Abe's chances one on one against any tackle in the league.

Agree. If we prevent Pennington from stepping up in the pocket, then our edge rushers will rattle him early. A couple early sacks or at least knock downs and his effectiveness will go way down.

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2. Expect the Dolphins to try to sustain long drives and control the clock: The longer the Dolphins are able to keep Atlanta's offense off the field the better chance they have of taking the home crowd out of the game. With all the weapons the Falcons have Miami needs to keep its defense rested and fresh. Look for Miami to run the ball as much as possible and go with the short, controlled passing game.

Yes as opposed to the deep-ball offense we all know they can run.

Laughs aside, good article. Hits most of the talking points. Special teams always get forgotten though. Our coverage is excellent. It's hard to drive 80 yards on any team let alone our soft secondary.

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We need Babs and the NTs to get some push in this game. Miami's O-line has new parts at center and RG but both players are good. We need to take advantage of their lack of experience working with each other. If we can get Jerry/Lewis doubled up, I like Abe's chances one on one against any tackle in the league.

agreed

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Pennington doesn't go down field, so if we see Decoud and Coleman making tackles, we're likely having a bad day because that means that Camarillo and Bess are getting behind our corners. I'm more worried about Brian Hartline than any of the other WRs on the Dolphins; I think he's going to be another Anthony Gonzalez/Michael Jenkins type who makes plays when needed as opposed to carrying the load.

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2. Expect the Dolphins to try to sustain long drives and control the clock: The longer the Dolphins are able to keep Atlanta's offense off the field the better chance they have of taking the home crowd out of the game. With all the weapons the Falcons have Miami needs to keep its defense rested and fresh. Look for Miami to run the ball as much as possible and go with the short, controlled passing game.
This is what we will have to stop. Expect us to load the box and make Penny throw a duck.
3. Miami will attack the edges with their ground game: The Dolphins have two excellent tackles in Jake Long and Vernon Carey and probably will send Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams on a lot of off-tackle plays in an attempt to play to their strength. Both ball carriers can be extremely difficult to bring down once they get to the open field.
Brown is scary. But if Smitty and BVG play Ricky like we used to when he was in NO we will neutralize him. The game plan was always pound him. With kill shot after kill shot. After two or three he will tip around until he can smoke a blount. Lofton, Nic and Pete need to do the do.
5. Matchup to watch: Long vs. Atlanta RDE John Abraham: Abraham ended up third in the NFL with 16.5 sacks in 2008 and will be counted on to provide pressure off the edge again in 2009. He will be matched up against Long, who enjoyed an excellent rookie season in 2008. Miami QB Chad Pennington is not very elusive in the pocket and needs protection to give him the time to go through his progressions.
The match up will be on the other side. The Dolphins will do what all teams do against Abe and that's block him with two or three. Who can bring pressure from the LDE side?
7. Expect the Falcons to use the ground game to spur the passing attack with an effective play-action fake: With the strong ground game Atlanta possesses they are able to freeze most secondaries with an effective play-action fake which opens up the passing game at all levels. With the addition of Tony Gonzalez at tight end it gives Ryan even more levels to look for effective receivers.
Don't be surprised if we don't come out and try to throw on them, go up 7-14 points then pound, pound, throw, rest defense.
8. Atlanta needs to stop the Dolphins' ground game: The Falcons are apt to rely on their base front seven to contain Miami's ground game. The addition of rookie DT Peria Jerry, their first-round draft choice this past spring, gives the Falcons a quality run stopper who is athletic enough to make plays up and down the line of scrimmage.
Again expect eight in the box. Their best bet would be to throw at Crisp and Bernt.
9. Look for Atlanta to rotate a lot of defensive backs: With the late additions of cornerbacks Tye Hill and Brian Williams the Falcons feel as if they are getting strong in the secondary. These guys give them a lot of options for nickel backs as well as their dime packages. Quality cover corners mixed with a good pass rush can make it difficult for opponents to throw the ball effectively.
Look for ATL to pull a Foxworth and wait too long to get Hill and Williams on the field.

Prediction:

Miami - 20

Atlanta - 24

Sticking with my ATL 23 MIA 20 prediction.
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