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Chicago's Game plan: Penetrate Atlanta's O-Line


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Chicago's Game plan: Penetrate Atlanta's O-Line

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Chris Harris wasn’t in the mood for a scary movie when he put in the video of the Atlanta Falcons offense. But that’s what he got.

It wasn’t Matt Ryan passing to Tony Gonzalez or Roddy White, all three of them Pro Bowl selections and the kinds of individuals that cost secondaries, even a veteran safety, good nights’ sleep. It wasn’t just Michael Turner running his way into the Pro Bowl.

It was the big guys bearing down on and picking on little people. Like veteran safeties.

“We put on the tape and the first thing we notice is their offensive linemen 10, 12 15 yards downfield,” Harris said, shaking his head. “Last season and even in preseason, their line plays hard, very aggressive, and they finish blocks.”

Curiously perhaps, the Falcons have not run the ball all that well against the Bears, who have never beaten them since Ryan arrived. But the Falcons may in fact be a case study supporting the kind of offensive game planning that worked for the Bears over the final nine regular-season games of 2010.

And that smash-mouth approach to running the football that was the first thing Harris thought of when talking about the Atlanta offense that ranked No. 5 in scoring.

The Bears have never sacked Ryan in the two games against the former No. 3 pick of the 2008 draft. Part of the reason: The Falcons have turned those offensive linemen loose, 30 times (vs. 30 pass plays) in the 22-20 win in 2008, 23 times (vs. 33 passes) in 2009. If you want to protect the passer, make pass rushers think about the run, and the Bears have.

“They run the ball and obviously Matt Ryan is becoming an elite quarterback in this league,” Harris said. “He’s got the arm, he’s a smart guy, and he’s smart enough to get it out of his hands and to his playmakers. They’ve been a good running team and now have good skill position players just about everywhere.”

The Bears virtually owned the Falcons when Michael Vick ran, literally, the Atlanta offense. In the three Bears-Falcons games of the Vick years, the Falcons scored 3 points twice and 13 once. They have scored 22 and 21 in the two Ryan games.

If it starts up front for the Falcons, it does as well for the Bears on defense, where unprovens Mario Addison and Nick Reed, at 248 and 252 pounds, were kept on the defensive-end depth chart because of their pass rushing. Whether either, if active, can stand up to offensive linemen who consistently get downfield to second and third levels, remains to be seen.

“I see a lot of guys that can play, that fill our system,” said defensive end Julius Peppers. “We have explosive and quick guys, that's what we try and have up front. We're not necessarily big guys, heavy guys, so I see all the guys that we have fit into the system.

Edited by Northern_Falcon
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I have always noticed this. Especially Reynolds. He is always at the end of Turner's runs picking him up. This makes the defense hesitate a little bit to wonder if a big 300 lber is barreling down on them. I like it because it does in fact make the DEs play the run as well, instead of just pinning their ears back. Idonije is not as good as his stats suggest. He got 4 of his 8 sacks against the Panthers, Redskins, and Bills (?). He had 2.5 vs CAR, so he had 5.5 sacks the rest of the way. Make Peppers think and he disappears. Clabo should be fine 1v1 with Peppers but Baker will need help. Good thing we have Kelly and Turner as blocking options.

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Good job Northern Falcon on finding and posting this article. The anticipation is killing me. You can tell it's the beginning of the season and football has started when these articles get posted. I want to see the Packers and Saints beat each other bloody and snotty, only for the Packers to come out on top; then, I will have to painstakingly await our game on Sunday. I cannot wait. For now, all I can do is read these articles over and over again. LOL.

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I don't know what you have been watching but as of the last Saints game, BVG has been pretty aggressive.

yeah, but it does not seem like we are aggressive because we rush 6-7 guys and still don't get the QB on the ground - that is probably why the perception could be from some that Falcons are not aggressive - results have been mixed at best.

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yeah, but it does not seem like we are aggressive because we rush 6-7 guys and still don't get the QB on the ground - that is probably why the perception could be from some that Falcons are not aggressive - results have been mixed at best.

Pressure is just as good as a sack if it results in an incompletion on third down. We got good pressure and a couple of sacks on Big Ben and looked good vs BAL. I think the Bears OLine is no better than what they saw last week. As long as the coverage holds up and we keep attacking from different spots, they will get good at blitzing. Just think about how we looked in 08 when we blitzed. They just ran into the OLine and it was dead. No timing the snap or shooting gaps. Now we are seeing them time snaps, shoot gaps, and getting there.

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Clabo should be fine 1v1 with Peppers but Baker will need help. Good thing we have Kelly and Turner as blocking options.

Baker has played Peppers great in the past and I have faith that he will continue his good play. I am more worried about the middle of our line with Hawley and Reynolds. If their communication is not good Chicago could collapse the middle of our line and eliminate Ryan's pocket. If these two guys play well we should have a great offensive day.

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I don't know what you have been watching but as of the last Saints game, BVG has been pretty aggressive.

We were very aggressive against GB as well. The problem was we didnt wrap up the QB. Even JA55 let Brees and Rodgers slip out of sacks. I remember B. Williams slamming into Rodgers to only come up empty.

If we can apply the same amount of pressure this year AND complete the tackle, Brees or Rodgers or any QB for that means will not be able to extend drives on 3rd down which was our Achilles heel last year in big games.

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Baker has played Peppers great in the past and I have faith that he will continue his good play. I am more worried about the middle of our line with Hawley and Reynolds. If their communication is not good Chicago could collapse the middle of our line and eliminate Ryan's pocket. If these two guys play well we should have a great offensive day.

Normally I would be overly concerned but with no Tommie Harris I am not so much worried.

Henry Melton is a quick young guy and A. Adams is a solid NT but they dont scare anybody.

Hawley and Reynolds played in power conferences against major DTs so though the NFL is another level I think they translate well. McClure is a big lost because he helps set the protections and is a great communicator.

Ryan will be able to see the pressure if it comes inside and get rid of the ball quick. I think we might even run a lot more than we want this game to instill confidence in those guys.

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Normally I would be overly concerned but with no Tommie Harris I am not so much worried.

Henry Melton is a quick young guy and A. Adams is a solid NT but they dont scare anybody.

Hawley and Reynolds played in power conferences against major DTs so though the NFL is another level I think they translate well. McClure is a big lost because he helps set the protections and is a great communicator.

Ryan will be able to see the pressure if it comes inside and get rid of the ball quick. I think we might even run a lot more than we want this game to instill confidence in those guys.

I hope you're right. To be honest I have never even heard of their interior DL before today which tells me that they probably are not that special. Hopefully Hawley can make all the calls and Matty Ice can do the rest!

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Turner maybe a problem this Sunday against the Chicago D because in his last two games in 08, and 09 has been held under 60 yards.... so hopefully the passing game opens up the run game for big yards and watch for quizz out there on third down he may have a good game against the bears defense.

Turner's too much of a hit or miss runner, which doesn't go to well when your playing a defense like Chicago. They tackle well, get a good initial hit and don't let backs drag them while being wrapped up.

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I thought of good ol high school football. I was right D end on the second team D playing first team O. It was a run (possibly a sweep) around the right side. I got around the offense and ran it down from behind. After making the tackle the RB got up and seemed surprised. He asked where I came from.

If we can get O line 10-15yds down field on any play, it starts to mess with D's head's. If you see players where they're not supposed to be it throws you for a loop.

If we can mess with people's heads (and bodies) through tough physical never quit football, I'm all for it.

Doesn't seem much like a game plan, rather how you should play football.

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Baker has played Peppers great in the past and I have faith that he will continue his good play. I am more worried about the middle of our line with Hawley and Reynolds. If their communication is not good Chicago could collapse the middle of our line and eliminate Ryan's pocket. If these two guys play well we should have a great offensive day.

I think a lot of us have grave concerns regarding Hawley and Reynolds. You just have to believe the Falcons will come up with an offensive game plan that will lessen the pressure on what is obviously the weak link in our offense.

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