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Falcons Team Report

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Falcons Team Report Notes, Quotes

Strategy and Personnel

The Falcons, coming off their bye week, plan to keep their offense on track.

Atlanta turned in one of its best offensive efforts before the bye week with Roddy White catching 11 passes for 201 yards, Michael Turner running for more than 100 yards and Matt Ryan throwing three touchdown passes.

"We have to go out there and practice hard is what we need to do, especially off a bye week," White said. "This is always the hardest day, with everybody coming back, everybody is getting re-acclimated."

After the off time, the unit hopes to get back in synch.

"We have to go out there and have everybody go hard and get all of the snaps, listen to the play call in the huddle and not go the wrong way and things like that because we haven't practiced in a while," White said.

On defense, the Falcons will have to continue to play strong against the run.

Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount rushed for more than 100 yards Sunday in a victory over Arizona and is playing a key role in the Buccaneers' running game.

"He's a strong back," linebacker Mike Peterson said. "He runs the ball hard. That's pretty much what you expect from a big back. We expect it to be a challenge. We have to gang-tackle to get him down."

Blount, 6-0, 247 pounds, leads the Bucs in rushing with 222 yards on 43 carries and three rushing touchdowns.

"He's very talented," defensive tackle Corey Peters said. "It's somebody that we'll have to bring our pads for and be ready to play."

Also, the Falcons are set to face a crucial stretch in their schedule.

After facing Tampa Bay on Sunday, the Falcons will play the Ravens next Thursday night in a nationally televised game on the NFL Network. It will be their second game in five days.

The Falcons had to start scouting the Ravens earlier because of the time crunch. Most of the film work is completed, and the final film will be ready shortly after the Tampa Bay game.

Falcons coach Mike Smith decided to sit down the team's second-leading tackler from the past two seasons, Erik Coleman, in favor of William Moore, the team's second-round pick in 2009.

Coleman, who registered 266 tackles as a starter in 2008 and 2009, suffered a left knee injury in the opener and was declared a reserve when he was healthy. Only middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (268) had more tackles for the Falcons over the past two years.

"It was tough mentally," said Coleman, who started at free safety in 2008 and at strong safety last season. "You're used to going out there and being the guy who starts the game."

Coleman was disappointed but appeared to take the demotion in stride.

"I just wanted to stay focused and do whatever I could to help out my teammates," Coleman said. "I'm on some special teams, so I'm trying to go out there and contribute on special teams."

Against the Bengals, Coleman was pressed into duty when Thomas DeCoud left the game with a head injury.

"We knew at some point in time that Erik Coleman was going to have to come back in and play," Smith said. "That's just the way it's going to be. We're going to have to have everybody on our roster prepared and ready to go. I thought that (his) play, for not practicing, was OK."

Tight end Marquez Branson was signed to the practice squad, and tight end Robbie Agnone was placed on practice-squad injured with a foot injury.

Branson, 6-3, 247 pounds, was originally signed by the Broncos as a rookie free agent following the 2009 draft.

Agnone, 6-6, 260 pounds, was injured in practice. He was signed to the practice squad after being waived as part of the final roster cuts at the end of training camp.

Defensive tackle Vance Walker finished with five tackles against the Bengals. He had one tackle of Cedric Benson on which he stopped the bruising back in his tracks.

"Whenever I'm out there, I try to help the team as much as possible," said Walker, a former Georgia Tech standout. "I've been doing it every game; it's just that this time I was able to produce a lot more than in the past."

Player Notes

RB Michael Turner has three 100-yard rushing games this season. He has rushed 131 times for 587 yards and scored three touchdowns.

QB Matt Ryan is now 16-1 at the Georgia Dome. He has completed 156 of 252 passes for 1,714 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has a 89.6 passer rating.

DE John Abraham's two sacks against the Bengals gave him six on the season, surpassing his total of 5.5 for all of last season.

WR Roddy White has 54 catches for 747 yards (13.8 per catch) and has five touchdowns. He had 201 yards receiving against the Bengals. He has caught more than 10 passes in two games.

CB Christopher Owens led the Falcons in tackles with 11 against the Bengals.

CB Brian Williams played nickel back and had a sack and a fumble recovery against Cincinnati. He also had eight tackles.

Report Card After Seven Games

Passing Offense:

B-plus—Quarterback Matt Ryan is off to a good start. He is completing 61.9 percent of his passes. He has leaned heavily on wide receiver Roddy White, who has produced while being heavily targeted each week. White is turning in a mega season and appears headed for his third consecutive Pro Bowl. Tight end Tony Gonzalez is also playing extremely well.

Rushing Offense:

A—Running backs Michael Turner and Jason Snelling have come forward to lead the attack. Turner has had three 100-yard games, and Snelling has had one. The team is averaging 137.4 yards rushing per game, which ranks sixth in the league.

Pass Defense:

D—The pass defense was a targeted area for improvement. The secondary was performing well through the first five games. But when Dunta Robinson went out after his big hit on DeSean Jackson, the secondary seemed to take a few steps backwards. After Kevin Kolb and Carson Palmer turned in big games, the unit is now giving up 260.3 yards passing per game to rank 27th in the league. The defense does have 11 interceptions.

Rush Defense:

A—The unit had some issues early in the season with giving up the long gainer. The Falcons have eliminated that problem and have been strong against the run. After letting Pittsburgh's Rashard Mendenhall get loose for a 50-yard TD run in Week 1 and Arizona's Tim Hightower for an 80-yard touchdown run in Week 2, the defense has shut down the run. Atlanta is giving up 95.6 rushing yards per game, which ranks sixth in the league.

Special Teams:

C—Matt Bryant has been steady. He has made 14 of 17 field-goal attempts, including two game-winners. Punter Michael Koenen is averaging 40.2 yards per punt and has placed 12 punts inside the 20. The unit also has had a punt and a field-goal attempt blocked. The return game has been steady in the hands of Eric Weems.


C—The coaching staff has coaxed five wins out of the early part of the schedule despite not receiving peak performances from a rebuilt defense and an offense that has sputtered at times. The offensive staff has found some success while leaning on Turner and White. The defense has been opportunistic at times but still is working through coverage issues. The staff has done a masterful job blending in its defensive line rotation. The Falcons appear to have found a defensive end, Kroy Biermann, to play opposite of John Abraham.

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Agreed. That's kind of an odd grade. It seems they think highly of the staff based on their summary, but only gave them a C. That's just odd.

thats because we very well could be 7-0, but struggled a lil to get to 5-2, i mean we all had problems with MM so how could u give him a B??? plus BVG has his moments where he goes and plays soft so i think a C up to thispoint is about right....

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Agreed. That's kind of an odd grade. It seems they think highly of the staff based on their summary, but only gave them a C. That's just odd.

That's what I was gonna say. They noted "The defense has been opportunistic at times but still is working through coverage issues", and that was the only thing that wasnt positive. Sounds like a higher grade than C to me.

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Yah cuz I hear it's easy to play a position u don't practice at...

You're right. Don't worry that he's started 82 other games in his career while practicing. He's a veteran of the game. It's the same reason Dunta Robinson didn't have to go through training camp and the preseason games, yet the first game of the season rolled around and he was out there starting.

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