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Q&A: Brian VanGorder oversees $75 million renovation on defense


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Q&A: Brian VanGorder oversees $75 million renovation on defense

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

FLOWERY BRANCH -- When all the ink dries on all the new contracts this summer, the Falcons will have spent more than $75 million to upgrade their defense.

Last season, the defense finished ranked 21st in the league (348.9 yards per game), finishing 10th (106.8 yards) against the run and 28th (242.1 yards) against the pass.

Intent on improvement, the team spent $57.5 million on free agent cornerback Dunta Robinson. They selected defensive players with their first two picks in the draft. They took linebacker Sean Weatherspoon with the 19th pick overall and defensive tackle Corey Peters in the third round (83rd overall).

Weatherspoon is still unsigned, but Philadelphia wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, who was was selected in the 19th slot in the 2009 draft, received a five-year contract worth $15.5 million.

Peters signed a four-year deal worth $3.295 million last week.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder is in charge of blending the new players into the defense that is looking make major progress in 2010. He provided an update on offseason progress.

Q: How's the integration of Dunta Robinson into the defense coming along?

A: When you get new players, whether if it's through free agency or whether if it's through the draft, there is a process that you go through. The process begins with a totally different language and communication. We are fighting through that. Again, you are in the battle of the install at this time of year. We are installing a lot of defense so it's now like you get something and you live in that for three or four days. Every single day, there is something new that's added to his requirements and position. So it's a process.

Q: Have you all settled on how to us him? Is he a left corner? Or right corner? Or a roamer?

A: No. We'll keep looking at that. That's an objective of OTAs. We have to judge all of the guys and find out what they can do best and determine where they fit in our scheme.

Q: How is safety William Moore looking and what's it been like to get him out of the field for an extended period of time?

A: I like his energy. He's got really good energy. He's excited to be out there. But he's got a lot to learn.

Q: How's Sean Weatherspoon doing in picking up the defense?

A: We're trying to teach him a lot of different positions because he's a bright player. So he's taking in a lot of information right now. We are hoping that all of that training will pay off for him when we come back in training camp. But he's doing a good job.

Q: What's your philosophy on developing young players like Weatherspoon, Corey Peters and (fifth-round pick cornerback) Dominique Franks?

A: For a coach, that's the fun part of the game, the developmental part. I still consider myself a developmental coach. I enjoy that part of it. It's enjoyable to take a guy and help his game, help them speed up this process that they are all in.

Q: Are we going to see more blitzing from the defense in 2010?

A: You just don't decide that you're a blitzing team. There are down and distance factors. There are quarterback factors. There's your personnel with respect to playing man-to-man. There are so many variables that go into making that decision. I think philosophically, we'd like to be considered a very aggressive defense. We'll continue to work that way.

Q: Do you have people who can get to the quarterback?

A: We're better. I think we're better. I think that the process over the last three years has been to build a bigger, faster defense. We certainly have added to the depth of our defense. I like where we are right now with respect to our personnel. We have to keep developing and decide what they are going to do well and take advantage of all of their skills.

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This is the one thing I like about BVG.... He very rarely praise a player... I remember in a radio interview... The radio guys was looking for BVG to praise Curtis Lofton... BVG basically said its up to Lofton rather he will remain a good LB or an elite LB...

Dude very rarely praise a player so if you hear him praise someone... That means he really really like what he sees.

I also like what he said about blitzing... We cant go into the season thinking lets blitz all the time... you will get picked apart... You have to blitz at the right time.... I do hope that we blitz more tho.

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Good article. Kinda vague about Moore though. He has been on the field during OTA's correct?. Someone help me out with this. I have been trying to find interviews with him, Spoon, and Robinson to no avail. How did those guys look? I also think that we will blitz more this season but that wont be the Falcons focal point. The trench and secondary play will be much improved.

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Q: Are we going to see more blitzing from the defense in 2010?

A: You just don't decide that you're a blitzing team. There are down and distance factors. There are quarterback factors. There's your personnel with respect to playing man-to-man. There are so many variables that go into making that decision. I think philosophically, we'd like to be considered a very aggressive defense. We'll continue to work that way.

seriously, why cant anyone just give a straight answer and not beat around the bush???either u iz, or u aint...

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Q: Are we going to see more blitzing from the defense in 2010?

A: You just don't decide that you're a blitzing team. There are down and distance factors. There are quarterback factors. There's your personnel with respect to playing man-to-man. There are so many variables that go into making that decision. I think philosophically, we'd like to be considered a very aggressive defense. We'll continue to work that way.

seriously, why cant anyone just give a straight answer and not beat around the bush???either u iz, or u aint...

Truth be told - I think he is telling the truth it all depends on who we face and what kind of obstacles they bring! - You just can't say off back that we are blitzing more this year!

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Cheers JBO

Q: Do you have people who can get to the quarterback?

A: We're better. I think we're better. I think that the process over the last three years has been to build a bigger, faster defense. We certainly have added to the depth of our defense. I like where we are right now with respect to our personnel. We have to keep developing and decide what they are going to do well and take advantage of all of their skills.

To me this sounds like he isn't completely satisfied with our pass rushers?! I think we address this early in next years draft.

Great to hear that Moore is doing well - the kid has the potential to be a complete safety.

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Cheers JBO

To me this sounds like he isn't completely satisfied with our pass rushers?! I think we address this early in next years draft.

Great to hear that Moore is doing well - the kid has the potential to be a complete safety.

Thanks

I just think BVG doesnt know what we have on the opposite side of Abe.. I easy to ssy Kroy Biermann can step and do the job as a starter... I think he can but its not that easy to just say he will....

I remember Chuck Smith said he was training ...Mark Anderson had 12 acks in his rookie year as rotational guy... So the bears tried to give him more playing time the next year (starter) but that didnt equal bigger numbers... Chuck Smith said some guys are meant to just be good rotational guys... When they get more snaps it doenst equal better results... It creates wores results.

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I really enjoyed the interview. It isn't often that you get to hear from Coordinators, so I really find this illuminating. It's good to see that BVG is clearly following the plan laid out by Dimi and Smith. I like how he explains how they evaluate players in OTAs before coming up w/ their season assignments.

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Good article. Kinda vague about Moore though.

I thought it was all kind of vague. His answer regarding Dunta didnt actually say a word about Dunta. He gave a lot of politician answers, not really addressing the question. He was more straightforward regarding Spoon than Moore though, so I think Spoon is impressing.

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I thought it was all kind of vague. His answer regarding Dunta didnt actually say a word about Dunta. He gave a lot of politician answers, not really addressing the question. He was more straightforward regarding Spoon than Moore though, so I think Spoon is impressing.

BVG is always vague.. He never praises anyone unless its a player that has proven himself in his system... But yea... Dude is always vague.... If he say anything good about a player... Thats awesome.

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Just some things that stood out to me.

Q: Have you all settled on how to us him? Is he a left corner? Or right corner? Or a roamer?

A: No. We'll keep looking at that. That's an objective of OTAs. We have to judge all of the guys and find out what they can do best and determine where they fit in our scheme.

Grimes did his best in Houston's old spot so should we mess with that? I am not sure... If his role will be to shadow the other teams best receiver then so be it.

Q: How is safety William Moore looking and what's it been like to get him out of the field for an extended period of time?

A: I like his energy. He's got really good energy. He's excited to be out there. But he's got a lot to learn.

Great skills and energy but no actual game experience... He is a question mark that could become a an exclamation mark.

Q: How's Sean Weatherspoon doing in picking up the defense?

A: We're trying to teach him a lot of different positions because he's a bright player. So he's taking in a lot of information right now. We are hoping that all of that training will pay off for him when we come back in training camp. But he's doing a good job.

Hopefully his head doesn't explode but his game does!

Edited by Abe
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Excellent questions by Dled, the most hated beat writer ever.

I didn't like the answers. Not worth a dam.

Get ready for another year of BVG ball.

RISE UP OFFENSE. RISE UP. WE WILL NEED YOU.

BVG ball is what we ATTEMPTED to do in the 09 pre season. And that is blitz, be aggressive, and play more man to man. Obviously, it didn't work well at all. We had to accommodate with what we had and it wasn't much b/c of horrible CB play for most of the season. Our CBs and some of BVG's blitz scheme's held us back. Lack of pressure also played a part.

Smith and the coaches showed our players film of the Steelers and Jags. That tells me that we want what they have, and that is to be aggressive and make plays.

I believe we will see a lot more of that this year...

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BVG ball is what we ATTEMPTED to do in the 09 pre season. And that is blitz, be aggressive, and play more man to man. Obviously, it didn't work well at all. We had to accommodate with what we had and it wasn't much b/c of horrible CB play for most of the season. Our CBs and some of BVG's blitz scheme's held us back. Lack of pressure also played a part.Smith and the coaches showed our players film of the Steelers and Jags. That tells me that we want what they have, and that is to be aggressive and make plays. I believe we will see a lot more of that this year...

Let me guess. Georgia Dawg fan? If so, :rolleyes:

This is the NFL bro. No excuses.

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BVG ball is what we ATTEMPTED to do in the 09 pre season. And that is blitz, be aggressive, and play more man to man.

It seems like no one remember that... In the preseason we was real aggressive blitz wise and played man.... Once Philip Rivers ate us up.... I remember reading an article saying BVG and Coach smith had to back off the aggressiveness because we didnt have the CB's to play it.... So BVG and Coach Smith had to simplify the Defense last year... Chis Houston got killed that Chargers game.

I feel like we can finally start to really see what BVG can do with a talented bunch of guys.. He should be able to run his type of Defenses....

We can judge the guy with this talent.

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It seems like no one remember that... In the preseason we was real aggressive blitz wise and played man.... Once Philip Rivers ate us up.... I remember reading an article saying BVG and Coach smith had to back off the aggressiveness because we didnt have the CB's to play it.... So BVG and Coach Smith had to simplify the Defense last year... Chis Houston got killed that Chargers game.

I feel like we can finally start to really see what BVG can do with a talented bunch of guys.. He should be able to run his type of Defenses....

We can judge the guy with this talent.

There you go right there FFS1970.
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There you go right there FFS1970.

I'll say to you, Gazoo, Jbo and anybody else out there that defends their position with watered down coach speak media articles, watch the tapes or STFU! Seriously bro. I'm sick of it.

Let me ask you boys something. Does BVG finally have his corners with a $10M Dunta and all the Grimeses and Owenses you boys think we need to remove this excuse? Or will we get more excuses?

One more thing, should BVG go back and watch Rich Brooks' corners (Big Play Ray and Ronnie freakin Bradford) go to the only Falcon Bowl?

The only thing psn me off more is that freakin oil leak in the Gulf.

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I'll say to you, Gazoo, Jbo and anybody else out there that defends their position with watered down coach speak media articles, watch the tapes or STFU! Seriously bro. I'm sick of it.

Let me ask you boys something. Does BVG finally have his corners with a $10M Dunta and all the Grimeses and Owenses you boys think we need to remove this excuse? Or will we get more excuses?

One more thing, should BVG go back and watch Rich Brooks' corners (Big Play Ray and Ronnie freakin Bradford) go to the only Falcon Bowl?

The only thing psn me off more is that freakin oil leak in the Gulf.

Man this dude is a joke.. To **** old to be acting like that

Go look at the preseason...aka... THE TAPE... You will see it.

I'm not trying to defend anything i say to this dude..

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By the way the Falcons have had 10 defenses that finished in the Top 10 in the NFL in pass defense:

70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 77, 78, 84, 86 and 99.

Those defenses featured the following corners:

Reeves, Redmond, Hayes, Lawrence, Byas, Butler, Britt, Case, Bradford and Buchanan.

Is it time to bring back Marion Campbell, Glanville or Rich Brooks to teach these boys how to play pass defense? I'm jus askin. Glanville should be available and willing. BVG is a ghost. Trust me.

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