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The Atlanta Falcons offense is ready to explode despite a tough first-week challenge

September 11, 11:06 PM Atlanta Falcons Examiner Daniel Cox

The Atlanta Falcons offense is ready to make the offseason hype a reality.

The addition of future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to an existing roster of Pro Bowl playmakers like wide receiver Roddy White and running back Michael Turner mean the Atlanta squad is expected to put up a lot of points. Quarterback Matt Ryan believes the expectations come with the territory.

“If we want to be the kind of football team that we want to be long term, you have to be able to deal with that," said Ryan. "You have to expect to win week in and week out. We are not going to have to sneak up on anyone. It’s different from last year in that respect, but I think that everyone embraces that challenge."

The challenge in Week 1 is the Miami Dolphins, who will provide a good test for the Falcons and their performance in the season's first game will go a long way toward showing exactly what the offense is capable of.

The Dolphins were a top-15 defense in 2008 and the addition of Jason Taylor who has been moved to outside linebacker and safety Gibril Wilson should further improve Miami's defensive prowess. However, the Dolphins are not without flaws. Sure, they were eighth in the league in sacks with 40 and the presence of Taylor, who has 120.5 career sacks, will only help with pressuring the quarterback, but they were 25th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game with 227.8. They were stouter against the run, holding opponents to 101.2 yards per game, 10th-best. Ryan thinks the pass rush is the first priority for the Falcons offensive line.

"They've got some talent in the front seven," he said. "I think their bookends in the 3-4;Jason Taylor and Joey Porter do a great job. We're going to have our work cut out for us. I think having played San Diego in the preseason, that scheme, there are some similarities. Not a lot, but some similarities. I think that experience will help us out a little bit."

Despite the passing yards allowed, the Dolphins still held 2008 opponents to 19.8 points per game, ninth-best in the NFL. The passing defense was the sore spot and it's where Miami chose to upgrade in the offseason.

They spent their first two draft choices on cornerbacks, selecting Vontae Davis in the first round from Illinois and Sean Smith in the second from Utah. Smith has been particularly impressive, earning the starting nod opposite nine-year veteran Will Allen.

The stat that impresses the most was the Dolphins' +17 in takeaway differential last season. Gonzalez believes that's key in Sunday's matchup, saying the Falcons must take care of the football against a team as opportunistic of Miami.

"That's the most important stat in football," Gonzalez said on Wednesday. "Every coach knows it. If you can win the turnover ratio, you usually win the game. So we know this team, they're ball hawks; they want to get the ball. It's up to us to make sure we keep it in our possession. Ball security is the most important thing on the offensive side of the ball."

The safeties, Wilson and returning-starter Yeremiah Bell, are a concern for Ryan, Bell especially. The 31-year-old finished '08 with 120 tackles, one sack, and three forced fumbles.

"Yeremiah Bell does a really good job, physical player," the Falcons' quarterback said. "He's really good in run support. He's very physical--does a pretty good job in pass coverage too. That's pretty impressive when you see that from safeties who are good in run support. I've been impressed with him and we're definitely going to need to know where he's at when we throw the ball, but also when we run it as well."

Despite the potential concerns the Dolphins pose, the players on Atlanta's offense are ready to raise the curtain on what could be a break-out season.

"I don't have any concerns," White said with a laugh. "I think we're rocking and rolling right now. I'm just ready to get out there and see what we can do against live bullets."

White has good reason to feel good. He's quickly found the chemistry this preseason with Ryan that he enjoyed last season en route to his first career Pro Bowl nod. He's also $18.6 million richer, following the six-year, $50 million contract extension he signed in early August that will guarantee him that sum.

Ryan knows he's got a lot of weapons. In addition to Gonzalez, White, and Turner, there's the steady-handed receiver in Michael Jenkins, the player on the receiving end of Ryan's first-NFL-pass-turned-touchdown last season. Speedy running back Jerious Norwood provides a change of pace to Turner's bruising running style, a wild card of sorts. In short, there are a lot of hands that want the ball.

“That’s a good thing to have," Ryan said. "We have guys who make plays and work hard during the week to get themselves prepared to play. Then it's my job to try and put that ball in position to have them make plays and score some touchdowns, but the biggest thing is we've got a group of unselfish guys around here. Guys that want to win first and foremost. And when you have that, guys who will do whatever it takes to win football games, it makes it a lot of fun”

It's also fun throwing to future Hall-of-Famers, guys like Gonzalez, who provides a large target on third downs and in the red zone. No player works harder than the 33-year-old. He's found a second wind with the Falcons, a team on a playoff march. Gonzalez himself, after 12 seasons, is still searching for his first career playoff victory. He believes he's in an excellent position to achieve just that, and then some.

"I'm ready to go," Gonzalez said. "I'm excited. I think we've got a great opportunity here; we'll put it that way. We can be a really good football team. We just have to take it one game at a time. I know it's all cliché, but that's really how you create great teams in the NFL. You don't look ahead. I'm not looking to the playoffs. I'm not looking to Carolina. I'm looking to the Miami Dolphins, to go out there and put the best performance on. And I think this team is too. As long as we stay focused we're going to have a shot every single game."

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Fal...09m9d11-offense

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The Atlanta Falcons offense is ready to explode despite a tough first-week challenge

September 11, 11:06 PM Atlanta Falcons Examiner Daniel Cox

The Atlanta Falcons offense is ready to make the offseason hype a reality.

The addition of future Hall-of-Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez to an existing roster of Pro Bowl playmakers like wide receiver Roddy White and running back Michael Turner mean the Atlanta squad is expected to put up a lot of points. Quarterback Matt Ryan believes the expectations come with the territory.

“If we want to be the kind of football team that we want to be long term, you have to be able to deal with that," said Ryan. "You have to expect to win week in and week out. We are not going to have to sneak up on anyone. It’s different from last year in that respect, but I think that everyone embraces that challenge."

The challenge in Week 1 is the Miami Dolphins, who will provide a good test for the Falcons and their performance in the season's first game will go a long way toward showing exactly what the offense is capable of.

The Dolphins were a top-15 defense in 2008 and the addition of Jason Taylor who has been moved to outside linebacker and safety Gibril Wilson should further improve Miami's defensive prowess. However, the Dolphins are not without flaws. Sure, they were eighth in the league in sacks with 40 and the presence of Taylor, who has 120.5 career sacks, will only help with pressuring the quarterback, but they were 25th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game with 227.8. They were stouter against the run, holding opponents to 101.2 yards per game, 10th-best. Ryan thinks the pass rush is the first priority for the Falcons offensive line.

"They've got some talent in the front seven," he said. "I think their bookends in the 3-4;Jason Taylor and Joey Porter do a great job. We're going to have our work cut out for us. I think having played San Diego in the preseason, that scheme, there are some similarities. Not a lot, but some similarities. I think that experience will help us out a little bit."

Despite the passing yards allowed, the Dolphins still held 2008 opponents to 19.8 points per game, ninth-best in the NFL. The passing defense was the sore spot and it's where Miami chose to upgrade in the offseason.

They spent their first two draft choices on cornerbacks, selecting Vontae Davis in the first round from Illinois and Sean Smith in the second from Utah. Smith has been particularly impressive, earning the starting nod opposite nine-year veteran Will Allen.

The stat that impresses the most was the Dolphins' +17 in takeaway differential last season. Gonzalez believes that's key in Sunday's matchup, saying the Falcons must take care of the football against a team as opportunistic of Miami.

"That's the most important stat in football," Gonzalez said on Wednesday. "Every coach knows it. If you can win the turnover ratio, you usually win the game. So we know this team, they're ball hawks; they want to get the ball. It's up to us to make sure we keep it in our possession. Ball security is the most important thing on the offensive side of the ball."

The safeties, Wilson and returning-starter Yeremiah Bell, are a concern for Ryan, Bell especially. The 31-year-old finished '08 with 120 tackles, one sack, and three forced fumbles.

"Yeremiah Bell does a really good job, physical player," the Falcons' quarterback said. "He's really good in run support. He's very physical--does a pretty good job in pass coverage too. That's pretty impressive when you see that from safeties who are good in run support. I've been impressed with him and we're definitely going to need to know where he's at when we throw the ball, but also when we run it as well."

Despite the potential concerns the Dolphins pose, the players on Atlanta's offense are ready to raise the curtain on what could be a break-out season.

"I don't have any concerns," White said with a laugh. "I think we're rocking and rolling right now. I'm just ready to get out there and see what we can do against live bullets."

White has good reason to feel good. He's quickly found the chemistry this preseason with Ryan that he enjoyed last season en route to his first career Pro Bowl nod. He's also $18.6 million richer, following the six-year, $50 million contract extension he signed in early August that will guarantee him that sum.

Ryan knows he's got a lot of weapons. In addition to Gonzalez, White, and Turner, there's the steady-handed receiver in Michael Jenkins, the player on the receiving end of Ryan's first-NFL-pass-turned-touchdown last season. Speedy running back Jerious Norwood provides a change of pace to Turner's bruising running style, a wild card of sorts. In short, there are a lot of hands that want the ball.

“That’s a good thing to have," Ryan said. "We have guys who make plays and work hard during the week to get themselves prepared to play. Then it's my job to try and put that ball in position to have them make plays and score some touchdowns, but the biggest thing is we've got a group of unselfish guys around here. Guys that want to win first and foremost. And when you have that, guys who will do whatever it takes to win football games, it makes it a lot of fun”

It's also fun throwing to future Hall-of-Famers, guys like Gonzalez, who provides a large target on third downs and in the red zone. No player works harder than the 33-year-old. He's found a second wind with the Falcons, a team on a playoff march. Gonzalez himself, after 12 seasons, is still searching for his first career playoff victory. He believes he's in an excellent position to achieve just that, and then some.

"I'm ready to go," Gonzalez said. "I'm excited. I think we've got a great opportunity here; we'll put it that way. We can be a really good football team. We just have to take it one game at a time. I know it's all cliché, but that's really how you create great teams in the NFL. You don't look ahead. I'm not looking to the playoffs. I'm not looking to Carolina. I'm looking to the Miami Dolphins, to go out there and put the best performance on. And I think this team is too. As long as we stay focused we're going to have a shot every single game."

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Fal...09m9d11-offense

The only explosions from the Falcons will be coach Smith yelling at your players at halftime because you guys are down 17-3

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The only explosions from the Falcons will be coach Smith yelling at your players at halftime because you guys are down 17-3

IF you would have said 17-14 or 21-17 ...I'd have agree with you somewhat... But I think you are living in the dream land... 17-3... Either you haven't watched the Offense or you just can't see beyond the Duuulllpphhiinneee

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QUOTE (langer72 @ Sep 12 2009, 07:09 AM

The only explosions from the Falcons will be coach Smith yelling at your players at halftime because you guys are down 17-3

Here, point this at me and pull the trigger please, I beg you! :lol:

Man! That girl is hot ! Who is she?

I would love to show her my magnum!

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You responded rather quickly to a childish act of homophobia, another clear sign of denial. You have been exposed. You may not get help here but help is available in the medical fields.

It took me 7 minutes to reply...it only took you 3 minutes.

Stop diverting from the topic you "hick'ry stick" waggler.

LOL

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It took me 7 minutes to reply...it only took you 3 minutes.

Stop diverting from the topic you "hick'ry stick" waggler.

LOL

Sorry, I guess I touched a short fuse about you. Or is that what you refer to as your magnum?

The topic was you made an Idiotic statement about football which is acceptable because you are what you are. But then you had to make a non football comment about a nice picture of a girl...which kind of screams why your hanging out here. So we are arguing over your non football comment probably because you don't feel accepted on your teams MB.

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Sorry, I guess I touched a short fuse about you. Or is that what you refer to as your magnum?

The topic was you made an Idiotic statement about football which is acceptable because you are what you are. But then you had to make a non football comment about a nice picture of a girl...which kind of screams why your hanging out here. So we are arguing over your non football comment probably because you don't feel accepted on your teams MB.

How did you know?

Please stop obsessing about my magnum!

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How did you know?

Please stop obsessing about my magnum!

Langer, if your mom had as many magnums poking out of her, as she has poked in her, she'd look like a porcupine!!!!! Lets face it, you know your a fudge packer looking for some attention. We falcon fans aren't homophobes, we just don't like sissy boys like you on our MB. So STFU and like it... flipper!!! End of story, end of thread. Dolphins 0-1, Falcons 1-0. Yeah, you heard me.

0-1...stop crying cause your makeup is gonna run onto your dolphins cheerleading outfit....

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