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Two former Jaguars have big days in Falcons win


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Two former Jacksonville Jaguars have big days in Atlanta Falcons win

September 14, 9:13 AM Atlanta Falcons Examiner Daniel Cox

Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington said the Atlanta Falcons didn't do anything to surprise them on Sunday. In an attempt at oversimplifying what exactly the Falcons did to the Dolphins in the 19-7 win, he went the 'shot ourselves in the foot' route.

"Anytime we got a drive going we did something to shoot ourselves in the foot and end the drive," the 10-year veteran said. "They didn't do anything we weren't expecting. If anything they were more simple than we thought they would be."

He's right. They did make playing defense against the Dolphins look like a simple thing. Surely it wasn't, but it almost appeared that in the tunnel before the game the defensive players gathered around one of their leaders, perhaps the vocal linebacker Mike Peterson, and said "To heck with the game plan, let's tackle them really hard and the closest man takes the ball away."

Peterson, the headliner of the offseason changeover on defense, was in the middle of everything on Sunday. The 11-year veteran came to Atlanta following six seasons in Jacksonville, five under Head Coach Mike Smith who was then the Jaguars' Defensive Coordinator.

He describes himself as fiercely loyal to Smith and the scheme and it looked as if he took exception to some of the negative things that were being said in the preseason.

"We just used it as motivation," the linebacker said of the negativity. "We don't get caught up in everything that's being said all during the week. We just use it as motivation and try to pull our part with the team."

Peterson's part with the team was playmaker. His stat line is stuffed. He finished second on the team in tackles with seven. He also added a defensed pass and was responsible for two of the most critical plays of the game, a forced fumble and an interception.

Late in the second quarter when it looked like Miami was finding momentum, Peterson read a pass check down to the tight end Anthony Fasano perfectly. Fasano caught the ball on the Atlanta 10-yard line a split second before Peterson arrived with a crushing blow.

The hit turned Fasano around and the ball came out. As the players have said they've been taught to do all offseason, they swarmed to the ball. Before the ball could hit the ground, the newest Falcon--and another former Jaguar--cornerback Brian Williams, with the awareness of the eight-year veteran that he is, plucked the ball from the air and took off down field. 53 yards later Atlanta had the ball on Miami's 31 on their way to a field goal to take a 10-0 lead.

The Atlanta media has come to know Peterson as a guy that is always good for a passionate quote. Following the game, he let his persona take a backseat to the win and the overall performance of the team. All he would give is credit to the coaches and the players.

"I was just playing my responsibility," Peterson said of the forced fumble play. "Coaches draw it up and expect us to make the play and that was what I was able to do."

Regarding the play of the entire defense: "The D line played it great. From (Kroy) Biermann to Abe (John Abraham) and Babs (Jonathan Babineaux). When they play a great game, the linebackers will play a great game and on to the secondary. I give all the credit to the D line and the coaches."

Peterson's next play big play wasn't quite the drive stopper that the first was, but it was a play that appeared to signal the end for the Dolphins.

In the third quarter with Miami on Atlanta's 47, Peterson stepped in front of a pass intended for Fasano and returned it 39 yards to the Miami 20.

His former teammate Williams was one of the first to greet him following the interception. Williams, signed by Atlanta only a week ago, was inserted into a starting role on Sunday. Williams' time spent in the scheme and familiarity with Defensive Coordinator Brian Van Gorder and position coach Alvin Reynolds helped speed up the process.

"It was something that we worked on through this week, and came to a comfort level with Brian," Smith said of the decision following Sunday's win . "He understands our scheme, he is familiar with what we've done in the past and we felt it was the best opportunity for him to play. I thought Brian made significant plays in the ball game."

Williams ended the day with four total tackles and the fumble recovery. Many of his contributions don't show up in the final defensive statistics. His tight coverage on Miami's receivers led to the excellent pressure that Atlanta was able to get on Pennington. The Falcons' defense ended the day with four sacks and allowed only 163 yards through the air.

Two of Smith's former players in Jacksonville reunited on Sunday to help make Year 2 for their former defensive coordinator as successful as his first year as a head coach in the NFL.

As it turns out, Peterson is more than just a linebacker on the field. He's also a motivator.

Defensive end John Abraham, whose two sacks on Sunday appear to mean he's picking up where he left off last year, said the linebacker was in his ear all day.

"He's the kind of guy you need to talk to, and he talked to me the whole game," Abraham said. "We kept pumping each other up. He's coming to play, so I've got to talk to him every week now."

It's probably not just Abraham that will be looking for repeat performances. The entire team will take Sunday's version of Peterson in every week.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Fal...nta-Falcons-win

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I think our defense was doing all the shooting at their feet.

Those were not tunrovers. They were take aways.

I really like your quoted response. A fumble is a turnover, but a forced fumble is a take away. Atlanta's defense caused three forced fumbles and recovered each one. Also Peterson seemed to come out of nowhere and made an excellent catch to get the interception. That interception was not the result of a bad throw turnover, but an excellent defensive read and play, ie a take away. Miami wasn't shooting themselves, they were being shot by our defense.

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As it turns out, Peterson is more than just a linebacker on the field. He's also a motivator.

Defensive end John Abraham, whose two sacks on Sunday appear to mean he's picking up where he left off last year, said the linebacker was in his ear all day.

"He's the kind of guy you need to talk to, and he talked to me the whole game," Abraham said. "We kept pumping each other up. He's coming to play, so I've got to talk to him every week now."

It's probably not just Abraham that will be looking for repeat performances. The entire team will take Sunday's version of Peterson in every week.

http://www.examiner.com/x-1778-Atlanta-Fal...nta-Falcons-win

Falcons linebackers bond before they deliver the wallop

By D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mike Peterson had a plan for the Falcons’ revamped linebacker unit.

“I’m the older guy so a lot of that falls on my shoulders, pulling the guys together,” Peterson said. “It’s the simple things, like, ‘Hey, let’s go eat wings together’ or ‘Watch tape together.’ That’s how you start building that relationship.”

With Peterson at weakside linebacker, Curtis Lofton in the middle and Stephen Nicholas at strongside, the new unit delivered a strong first impression in the season-opening 19-7 win over Miami on Sunday.

But for Peterson, an 11-year veteran who came over as a free agent from Jacksonville, it’s a little more than just football.

“When we break it down, we break it down as family,” Peterson said. “It’s a little bigger than just being my teammate. I have to trust you as well as you have to be able to trust me. It’s deeper than that.”

So the unit’s outings for food and the time invested together over the offseason has led to the bond that Peterson was trying to create.

“Once you build that trust with a guy, that’s when you don’t really want to let a guy down,” Peterson said. “They don’t want to let Mike down. Just like I don’t want to let Steve down.”

They even look at each other’s as brothers.

“It’s like you are playing next to your brother,” Lofton said. “We got Grand Daddy Brother [Peterson] over there. I’ve got Big Brother Steve and I’m Little Bro.”

The players took to Peterson’s style right away.

“When ‘Mike Pete’ came in, he brought a lot of leadership,” Nicholas said. “We have just been building the relationships and trust since.”

In the Falcons’ bend-but-not-break defense last season, the safeties usually led the team in tackles. Lawyer Milloy and Erik Coleman were often left to clean up on unfinished tackles and wound up second and third on the team in overall tackles.

Sunday, Lofton, Peterson and Nicholas were the leading tacklers against the Dolphins and helped create three of Miami’s four turnovers.

“We’d like to keep those tackles in front of our safeties,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “That’s a definite. Unless you are putting the safeties in the box, you definitely don’t want your safeties to be your leading tacklers.”

The Falcons have stressed speed and aggressiveness in revamping their defense.

“We had a lot of production from the linebackers,” Lofton said. “That’s what you need. We started to step up.”

Lofton had a hand in one of the biggest plays of the game. He held up Miami tight end Anthony Fasano, who’d caught a pass and was fighting for extra yards. Peterson came in to finish off Fasano with a bone-rattling hit that knocked out the football. Cornerback Brian Williams recovered it and returned it 53 yards.

“I saw that he was still up. That’s when you can kind of explode on a guy,” Peterson said.

The wings and film sessions have taken the trio to a strong beginning of what they want to be a new style of play.

“As a defense you want to play with intensity and nastiness,” Lofton said. “Whenever somebody gets the ball, we want to run right through them and get the ball up off of them.”

http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falcons/...ore-138492.html

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Great read Prof, thanks for the post...

Welcome. I watched the game on TV and there are some things that one can't see, for example:

"Williams ended the day with four total tackles and the fumble recovery. Many of his contributions don't show up in the final defensive statistics. His tight coverage on Miami's receivers led to the excellent pressure that Atlanta was able to get on Pennington. The Falcons' defense ended the day with four sacks and allowed only 163 yards through the air."

That's one of the primary reasons why I like the insightful articles that Daniel Cox writes. He furnishes additional important information that know other writer seems able to provide.

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Welcome. I watched the game on TV and there are some things that one can't see, for example:

"His tight coverage on Miami's receivers led to the excellent pressure that Atlanta was able to get on Pennington. T

Thanks, prof.

That's a good point, but I think it goes both ways.

Pressure on the QB helps the secondary, too

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Miami Dolphins quarterback Chad Pennington said the Atlanta Falcons didn't do anything to surprise them on Sunday. In an attempt at oversimplifying what exactly the Falcons did to the Dolphins in the 19-7 win, he went the 'shot ourselves in the foot' route.

"Anytime we got a drive going we did something to shoot ourselves in the foot and end the drive," ...

<_< Yeah, sure. That's what happened Chad. You guys kept shooting yourselves in the foot. Like when you guys missed two fieldgoals to end those drives or when you missed that extra point allowing us to stay in it.

No, wait a minute. That was us that kept shooting ourselves in the foot, keeping your sorry butts around.

This game should have been a blowout, and "Penny" knows it. :rolleyes:

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<_< Yeah, sure. That's what happened Chad. You guys kept shooting yourselves in the foot. Like when you guys missed two fieldgoals to end those drives or when you missed that extra point allowing us to stay in it. No, wait a minute. That was us that kept shooting ourselves in the foot, keeping your sorry butts around.

This game should have been a blowout, and "Penny" knows it. :rolleyes:

Exactly!

Not to mention we kneeled when we could have scored again at the end.

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Our defense looked like what I was seeing in the training camps. The addition of Williams and Hill is just icing on the cake.

Agreed! That's what had me so dumbfounded about the preseason...I just didn't see the same attakcing style of defense and guys flying around the ball that I saw at camp. They picked a fine time to resurface! :D

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Plus Ryan barely missed TWICE on Roddy's deep routes where he got behind the defense and another time where Ryan missed by a foot on a fade to Norwood in the endzone. We were not far at all from embarrassing that team.

So close to just putting it all together...if we can dominate while we struggle, imagine the possibilities when we get it all clicking...we are not far from being an elite team.

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