theProf Posted September 8, 2011 Share Posted September 8, 2011 VanGorder shares plan for improving Falcons' pass defenseFLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder has a plan to improve the team’s pass defense, which was ranked 22nd in the league last season.Falcons blog with D. Orlando Ledbetter »Since training camp started July 29, the team has acquired help in three key players: in defensive end Ray Edwards, cornerback Kelvin Hayden and safety James Sanders. Also, he has shuffled the linebacker group.In a Q&A with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, VanGorder discussed his plans for the season and how he plans to utilize his new players to improve the defense.Q: What have been some of the dynamics of pulling this unit together?A: Well, I think we’re fortunate, especially with the offseason we had with the lookout and all, we’ve got a lot of our players back who are familiar with our standards and expectations, our scheme — all those things. We’ve added a defensive end that we hope will give us a better presence in the pass-rush area. Linebacker-wise, we’ve got four linebackers that we used last year that we brought back. Stephen Nicholas is more active and starting right now in our base personnel replacing Mike Peterson, but he played a lot last year, so no big change there. So we’ve got a group there that basically stayed intact from a year ago and have added a couple of guys here lately [Hayden and Sanders were signed last Thursday] who we think will come on as the year goes on and give us even more stability as a defense.Q: [The defense] caused five interceptions and five sacks last season when you blitzed a defensive back, is that a good plan of attack?A: I think that every game is different. People can talk about last year and the playoff game against Green Bay where we basically had four free runners at the quarterback and we didn’t tackle him. So those things look good on paper, but every game brings a different personality.Q: What is Sanders’ role going to be?A: We have to see more of him this week. Again, he’s a guy that is very familiar with our scheme. Just some communications things that we have to make sure that he’s solid with. We have to feel confident that this is a package that he can handle. But he’s a very good football player. He’s going to play a lot of football for us. I don’t know if it will be this Sunday. The play of the other guys will dictate that.Q: You haven’t changed safeties much at all in games. Is that something we could see this year, playing three safeties?A: I think you could see that. We haven’t changed safeties. We really haven’t had the opportunity to do so. ... A few years back, we were developing Thomas DeCoud as a rookie, and then we had to spend a year with William Moore, trying to develop him. Then when Lawyer [Milloy] left, then [Moore] got hurt, so I think this is a little bit different situation for us in that we’ve got a little more confidence now in a guy who can give us an added strength in a particular area.Q: Who will get a chance to step up with [defensive tackle] Corey Peters slowed with a knee injury?A: It’s going to be interesting to watch Vance Walker because he came in here and looked like a different player and then he had the injury. He’s improved and had a good week of practice. ... I’m anxious to see how he handles the game pressure. ... We feel confident in him. Peria Jerry has been improving. He’s gained confidence coming off the injury from a couple of years ago. So, he looks like a better player now.Q: What do you hope the personality of this unit will be?A: We expect that our guys are going to play hard. We want them to be smart with a do-your-job mentality.Q: Can Hayden be coached up and ready for Week 1?A: I’m confident in that. He’s played football in this league for years. We already know what he’s done, so we can effectively use that knowledge and background in our system and have an effective player.http://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falcons/vangorder-shares-plan-for-1162013.html Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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