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Falcons' game plan for Dixon and the Steelers...


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The Steeler’s game plan will be simple: their coaches will challenge the manhood of their defense and offensive line! They will expect their defense to shut down the Falcon’s offense; they will expect their offensive line to get physical with the Falcons' somewhat smallish defensive line by running, running and running some more. If successful, this will take away the pressure from Dixon and limit his passing necessity; if successful look for a much closer game than circumstances would suggest.

Were I the Falcon’s defensive coordinator, I would absolutely attack and blitz with 6-7 men on every single play with the intent to more pressure and tackle Dixon, not to pressure and sack–similar to how Tampa Bay used to easily defend a similar Michael Vick (corral him!). Play close to the line, man on man, with the defensive backs. Doing both will force Dixon into quick decisions to either pass or takeoff running and hopefully leading to some bad decisions (turnovers).

The Pittsburgh Home field Pride will come out with their players having a “we will prove we can win without Roethlisberger attitude." This will be a war that the Falcons had better be willing and prepared to fight mentally and physically!

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The one basic thing that I hope the coaches are stressing this week is discipline. Our guys need to stay disciplined on D and not give Dixon any help.

From Mora's first preseason that was my concern with him and something that I think this coaching staff has done a better job of instilling into the team.

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I think Dixon is getting too much credit here. He is not the threat that Vick was running the ball. As was posted earlier, zone defenses and pretty much any exotic or tricky looks should prevent him from really knowing what to do with the ball. Our defense is fast enough to stop him without having to devote anyone to shadowing.

All that said, the key to stopping them is making them throw it in the first place. Our D game plan will start and end with stopping the run.

On offense, I have always wanted us to truly be a "pick your poison" team. If they sell out to stop the run, then Roddy, Gonzo, & HD should have opportunities to outplay overmatched defenders. If they play us straight up, Turner and the OL get to be the focus.

If this game were in ATL I would be confident that we would shut them down. On the road no game is a gimme. I also think throwing Spoon out there is a small gamble, at least more so than Nicholas who is very solid if not spectacular.

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The one basic thing that I hope the coaches are stressing this week is discipline. Our guys need to stay disciplined on D and not give Dixon any help.

From Mora's first preseason that was my concern with him and something that I think this coaching staff has done a better job of instilling into the team.

Agree on the Mora comment...possibly the most undisciplined coach and players in Falcon history with Glanville coming in a close second!

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Any kind of zone blitz should work nicely. You can't just play basic zone defense on every play with Mendenhall in the backfield, I am somewhat surprised all the talk in this thread has been about how to stop Dixon when they have a very good back in Mendenhall... Bringing a zone blitz will get pressure on Dixon while making him have to read the zone coverage, it will also slow down the running game as we should be able to get pressure at the line. If Mendenhall manages to break through DeCoud and Coleman should be able to shut him down shortly after.

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Any kind of zone blitz should work nicely. You can't just play basic zone defense on every play with Mendenhall in the backfield, I am somewhat surprised all the talk in this thread has been about how to stop Dixon when they have a very good back in Mendenhall... Bringing a zone blitz will get pressure on Dixon while making him have to read the zone coverage, it will also slow down the running game as we should be able to get pressure at the line. If Mendenhall manages to break through DeCoud and Coleman should be able to shut him down shortly after.

Agreed about Mendenhall. He is a baller and shutting him down means they have to rely on Dixon's arm -- I likes our chances if that comes to pass.

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Any kind of zone blitz should work nicely. You can't just play basic zone defense on every play with Mendenhall in the backfield, I am somewhat surprised all the talk in this thread has been about how to stop Dixon when they have a very good back in Mendenhall... Bringing a zone blitz will get pressure on Dixon while making him have to read the zone coverage, it will also slow down the running game as we should be able to get pressure at the line. If Mendenhall manages to break through DeCoud and Coleman should be able to shut him down shortly after.

Good point about their running back. However, Dixon will become less important if we are not bullied by their offensive line. I have hope, but then I have in the past two seasons seen teams with powerful running games wear our team down by the 4th quarter. I'm sure this is what they are planning to do along with some designed roll outs to give Dixon extra time to react.

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1. Shut down the Steeler's running game. #1 priority.

2. Force Dixon to be a pocket passer. Dixon's strength is rolling out, exetending the play long enough so coverage breaks down, and improvising. Take that strength away from him. Force him to step up into the pocket and read defenses--something few rookie QBs do well (and zero rookie QBs that were running QBs in college do well).

This will put the entire Steeler's offense on Dixon's shoulders. They will either beat us via Dixon's ability as a conventional pocket QB, or Dixon will show the world he's not ready as a conventional pocket passer in the NFL--ending up with a low completion percentage and throwing several picks by the end of the day.

On offense we just need to establish the running game and eat up clock. The Steelers' offense will not be able to establish and long drives with Dixon at the helm, allowing us to wear down the Steelers' defense.

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Good point about their running back. However, Dixon will become less important if we are not bullied by their offensive line. I have hope, but then I have in the past two seasons seen teams with powerful running games wear our team down by the 4th quarter. I'm sure this is what they are planning to do along with some designed roll outs to give Dixon extra time to react.

This is what Smitty is trying to accomplish with the rotation stuff.

We have enough quality guys now to rotate them in and out and they

should still be fresh enough in the 4th quarter to still be bringing it.

We will need to bottle up screens, minimize the damage on broken plays

when Dixon takes off and keep Mendenhall and Dwyer under control. It

is not going to be an easy game.

Edited by LADBABY
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For our offense, I expect a lot of check-downs and short passes in the passing game to chip away at a stingy defense.

On our defense, I hope to see more of the 3-3-5 that we were running in the preseason. It will hide who is blitzing and who is dropping back into coverage, and keep Dixon from making his reads pre-snap.

For Pittsburgh, I expect them to rely on the running game, plus a few well placed play action passes that we bit on early in the pre-season.

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1. Shut down the Steeler's running game. #1 priority.

2. Force Dixon to be a pocket passer. Dixon's strength is rolling out, exetending the play long enough so coverage breaks down, and improvising. Take that strength away from him. Force him to step up into the pocket and read defenses--something few rookie QBs do well (and zero rookie QBs that were running QBs in college do well).

This will put the entire Steeler's offense on Dixon's shoulders. They will either beat us via Dixon's ability as a conventional pocket QB, or Dixon will show the world he's not ready as a conventional pocket passer in the NFL--ending up with a low completion percentage and throwing several picks by the end of the day.

On offense we just need to establish the running game and eat up clock. The Steelers' offense will not be able to establish and long drives with Dixon at the helm, allowing us to wear down the Steelers' defense.

We have a bingo!

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1. Shut down the Steeler's running game. #1 priority.

Of course. The Steelers are going to pound the football, plain and simple and we will challenge your toughness as a defensive unit. We have Mendenhall who has certainly showed glimpses of greatness and now have a short yardage back who get get North in a hurry in Redman. We will plug away at the run, even if it starts out stale. We will try to wear you down, something that's been the Steelers forte'. We will take some shots at you and Dixon has a strong enough arm to scorch you if you give him no respect. The Steelers will do the same to you. STOP THE RUN FIRST.

Pittsburgh's the best team in the league into making a team one dimensional. Our style of defense is stop the run first and foremost and disguise our blitz packages to confuse the QB into making bad decisions. The Steelers defense is as complex as it gets. The Steelers will give you the underneath all day but we certainly tighten up in the redzone and other short end of the field situations.

Force Dixon to be a pocket passer. Dixon's strength is rolling out, extending the play long enough so coverage breaks down, and improvising. Take that strength away from him. Force him to step up into the pocket and read defenses--something few rookie QBs do well (and zero rookie QBs that were running QBs in college do well).

I don't think you're going to have trouble with keeping Dixon in the pocket. That's playing into the Steelers scheme and is exactly where we want him to stay. Of course, he'll run when things break down but we are making it a goal to keep him in the pocket. Last year in his only start, we only called Dixon on ONE bootleg, which was a T.D. He managed the game well and made the tough throws necc. to give us the lead in that game against Balty. BTW: This is Dixon's 3rd season in our offense, he's not a rookie anymore. It's complete night and day how he stepped up and got to learn this offense judging from a year ago since he's been with the starting units off and on since mini-camps and off season workouts and what not. Dixon might just surprise you into thinking this will be a cakewalk. He has shown great composure.

On offense we just need to establish the running game and eat up clock. The Steelers' offense will not be able to establish and long drives with Dixon at the helm, allowing us to wear down the Steelers' defense.

Good luck. The Steelers rarely let any running back dictate the outcome of the game. The Steelers play stout run defense and forces an offense into situations that feed right into our disguised blitzes and what not. It's going to be tough for Atlanta to move the ball on the Steelers D, and vice versa. This could actually be a defensive struggle and splash plays could win the game. It'll be low scoring IMHO.

Edited by StainlessStill
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