Smiler11 Posted May 2, 2010 Share Posted May 2, 2010 http://www.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/10525021/21420490?source=rss_teams_Atlanta_FalconsFirst look at the pass rushSmitty and Dimitroff both commented at the Combine that they liked the personnel they had on the ends and attributed part of the problem with the pass rush to Peria Jerry getting hurt.We know that Peria Jerry alone can't be the plan for improving our dismal (one of the bottom five in the league) pass rush. So what else do we have to look forward to this season?I don't believe that the cornerback play buys more time for the pass rush. (D-Led and I are on opposite sides of the fence on that one.) The problem is that if the primary receivers aren't open, the QB turns to the TE or the dump-off to the RB. We got torched more in the gaps between the LB and safety zones last year than we did by wideouts against our cornerbacks. But there's another way Dunta Robinson can have a big impact on our run defense as well as the pass rush. Watch carefully in the preseason exhibition games. If it turns out that the Falcons can reliably leave Robinson alone against top receivers, without safety help, that will free up the defense to play more cover one rather than cover two.That will make a world of difference. We played a lot of cover one in 2008 and again last season. It wasn't intentional. The Falcons wanted to keep both safeties deep in cover two mode to protect the infant cornerbacks, but the deficiencies in the middle of the line forced the team to bring up a safety on a regular basis to help with run defense.It hurt the secondary, because Chris Houston was a liability when left alone in single coverage. He had to give up jamming his man at the line and instead leave a large cushion, because if his receiver got past him, it would have been an instant touchdown. The hope is that Robinson can play more aggressively, with confidence that his man won't get away from him.If he can pull it off, the team can use the cover one to its advantage. The safety on his side will be the one to line up short. (It might be dictated by where the receivers line up, so both safeties would have to be able to take on either the SS or FS role.) That will make the safety available for run support, and it will also allow him to blitz or to take over the zone coverage for a blitzing linebacker.Presto - instant improved pass rush. Five rushers is better than four.And it's actually nothing new for the Falcons, since we've been doing the same thing for the last two years anyway. The difference is that without Chris Houston being our top CB left alone to cover a top receiver, we might be more successful with it.The team's other approach is to improve the pass rush from the inside out. In 2003-2006, the Falcons had strong pass rushing DTs in Ellis Johnson and then Rod Coleman. We haven't had a strong attack from the middle since the last time Coleman managed to stay healthy for a season.The hope is that a rotation of Jonathan Babineaux, Peria Jerry and Corey Peters can turn up the heat in two ways - getting more sacks themselves and drawing extra attention from the offense away from the ends.We'll have to keep our fingers crossed on that one. Jerry and Peters are unproven players, Jerry has significant injury concerns, and Babs is facing suspension.And finally, the DE positions... Dimitroff says he believes John Abraham still has plenty left in his tank and should be in for a good year. He also really likes the development of Kroy Biermann and wants to see what Lawrence Sidbury can do this season.The word is that Jamaal Anderson has been working to bulk up for this season. He'll likely play the end spot in running situations and slide in to the middle as part of the nickel or other sub packages. No mention yet of how often we might use those 3-3-5 or 3-4 packages.No word at all about Chauncey Davis. When asked, Dimitroff says he's "another versatile player that can make contributions". But it seems pretty clear that El Sid and Beer Man are the real hopes for the team at DE this year.Interesting situation to watch this summer will be whether Jamaal still appears to have a starting spot or whether Biermann moves into the starting lineup in his place. Biermann was listed at 246 when drafted but dropped to around 241 by the start of his rookie season. He bulked up to 260 last season. And the top question for the early part of the regular season will be how the DT rotation will work with Babs out. That could be the prime opportunity to slide Jamaal inside. We might see an early season nickel front four of Biermann, Anderson, Jerry and Abraham, with Robinson, Chris Owens and Brent Grimes as the three corners, Spoon and Nicholas as the LBs, Thomas DeCoud as the lone deep safety and William Moore playing up in a SS role.So how would this be better than 2009? (a) Robinson instead of Houston. ( Spoon instead of Mike Peterson. © Jerry instead of Thomas Johnson. (d) more experience for Brent Grimes and Chris Owens. (e) more blitzes from Curtis Lofton, Stephen Nicholas or William Moore.If we can blitz more frequently (Smitty practically forgot the meaning of the word in the second Panthers game), get the slower Mike Peterson off the field for passing downs, and keep a safety up without losing much in coverage on one side, we should indeed have a more effective pass rush in 2010.I think the signing of Dunta Robinson and selecting Spoon at #19 will allow this defense to be a lot more creative in 2010. 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