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VanGorder ready to send revamped unit out against Steelers


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Atlanta Falcons

VanGorder ready to send revamped unit out against Steelers

8:51 am September 11, 2010, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons defense has been overhauled.

From the unit that started last season’s finale in Tampa Bay, there are only six returning starters – safety Thomas DeCoud, safety Erik Coleman, cornerback Brent Grimes, linebackers Curtis Lofton and Mike Peterson and defensive end John Abraham.

There will be five new starters — three along the defensive line — when they take the field at 1 p.m. Sunday against Pittsburgh.

The new starters are cornerback Dunta Robinson, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive end Kroy Biermann and defensive tackles Peria Jerry and Trey Lewis.

On Friday, we chatted with defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder about the revamped unit.

Q: Where do you think your unit is at going into the season?

A: I think we are getting better right now. We had some guys through the preseason that missed some time. We wish they would have gotten those reps, but practice has been good. We got a lot of good situational work for them. I trust that they are very much tied into our scheme, the game plan and what we need to do.

Q: Do you have any advice for rookie Sean Weatherspoon, who’s starting his first game in the National Football League?

A: No. No specific plan relative to him. But he’s a rookie. He’s a smart player that has worked hard. We trust that he’s going to go out and function well in our system.

Q: How is cornerback Brian Williams functioning in your system?

A: He’s doing better and better. Part of the deal is that he has to gain confidence coming off of knee surgery. It’s a steady process. He’s made progress every week. We anticipate that he’s getting closer to full speed.

Q: Will he play much this week?

A: Yeah. He’s got to be ready to play.

Q: Could you talk about Trey Lewis, who’s starting for Jonathan Babineaux?

A: He’s really an improved player. Through the preseason games he just got better each week. We are counting on him to continue to progress and become a consistent player inside for us.

Q: What problems does the Steelers offense present with a young, scrambling quarterback in Dennis Dixon?

A: A lot. Anytime that you’ve got a quarterback who can create offense, it’s going to be difficult for the defense. He’s problematic for us in that way.

Q: How does Kroy Biermann fit into your operation?

A: He’s had a very outstanding training camp and preseason. Our expectations are that he’s going to be a productive player for us.

Q: Is he big enough to play the run?

A: I don’t know about people’s perceptions, but he plays the run well because he’s a good explosive and sudden kind of player. He might be a little bit on the smaller side for a defensive end, but he’s a player that wins verses blocks because he’s quick and sudden. He’s an explosive player. He holds up well there.

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Q: Do you have any advice for rookie Sean Weatherspoon, who’s starting his first game in the National Football League?

A: No. No specific plan relative to him. But he’s a rookie. He’s a smart player that has worked hard. We trust that he’s going to go out and function well in our system.

wow I wish he would have given some advice instead of just talking about him. Good post!

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Q: How does Kroy Biermann fit into your operation?

A: He’s had a very outstanding training camp and preseason. Our expectations are that he’s going to be a productive player for us.

Q: Is he big enough to play the run?

A: I don’t know about people’s perceptions, but he plays the run well because he’s a good explosive and sudden kind of player. He might be a little bit on the smaller side for a defensive end, but he’s a player that wins verses blocks because he’s quick and sudden. He’s an explosive player. He holds up well there.

I agree with BVG on this one. I watched pretty much all of his snaps last year and he was decent against the run. I never believed the myth that he was deficient against the run.

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