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Atlanta Falcons Team Report


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The Falcons want to create a thriving defense line that attacks the quarterback.

The ring leader is still defensive end John Abraham, who was one of the few bright spots against the Bears Sunday.

Abraham had four tackles, two sacks, four tackles for losses, two quarterback hits and one pass defensed.

He also drew one holding call.

"They only called one so I can only say one," Abraham said, when asked how many times he was held. "One time (the referee) said I slipped. I said, 'No, no. I didn't slip.' He gave me the call the next time."

Abraham is taking his role as a leader on the defense seriously. He acknowledged the missed tackles.

"We understand that it's one game," Abraham said. "Last year, the Philly game, we got it handed to us and we came back. It's not something that we can't come back from."

He believes a simple attitude adjustment will correct the missed tackles.

"That's just more of wanting to make that play and not be scared of making the play," Abraham said. "It was probably just first-game jitters. There was a lot of adrenaline flowing with us playing against Chicago, a playoff team."

Defensive end Ray Edwards, who was signed to help create pressure with Abraham, had just one tackle.

Kroy Biermann and Lawrence Sidbury had a sack each and the team was credited with a sack.

"I think Ray did good," Abraham said. "He's still feeling his way in our system, learning all of the plays and how to be a Falcon. He's definitely going to help us."

Abraham couldn't understand the irrational reaction to the defeat by the fans.

"It was just the first game," Abraham said. "There's no need for people to panic and things like that. I was riding in listening to the radio and it was like the season was over. It's one game. We lost the first game last year."

NOTES, QUOTES

—The defense finished 22nd against the pass last season and gave up 312 yards to Jay Cutler. There were way too many breakdowns in coverage. Wide receiver Roy Williams was left wide open on one early third down. He led the Bears with eight catches for 61 yards. If the Falcons couldn't account for Williams in coverage, what are they going to do this week with Philadelphia's DeSean Jackson?

—The Falcons missed several tackles against the Bears. The unit's yards after contact numbers are normally very low, but the Bears rambled through the entire defense on two screen pass plays.

The team doesn't practice tackling much and is allowed only one padded practice a week.

—Running back Michael Turner caught a career-high 12 passes for 85 yards last season. Against the Bears, he caught three passes for 40 yards, including a 20-yarder.

It was the second-longest pass play of his career. He caught a 30-yarder back in 2006 when he was with the San Diego Chargers.

—Defensive end Lawrence Sidbury, who was inactive for 10 games last season, played a lot in the second half against the Bears and registered a sack.

He almost had a sack and safety, but Bears quarterback Jay Cutler barely got the pass off.

"I had a good shot at him," Sidbury said. "It was a good call. I wish he would have held it a little bit longer. That would have been a big play to help the team out. It didn't happen so I just had to move on."

Sidbury, who was slowed by an ankle injury during the exhibition season, is hoping to take the snaps in the defensive end rotation that used to go Chauncey Davis, who was released.

"Coach (Brian) VanGorder and coach (Ray) Hamilton like to keep guys fresh so all of us are going to play," Sidbury said. "When it's my time to go in, I have to make something happen."

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

—WR Roddy White led the team with eight receptions for 61 yards against Chicago. White has now caught a pass in 69 straight games.

—TE Tony Gonzalez had five catches for a team-high 72 yards. He has caught a pass in 164 straight games.

—WR Julio Jones, a rookie, had five catches for 71 yards, including a 32-yard reception in the third quarter in his NFL debut.

—QB Matt Ryan completed 31 of 47 passes for 319 yards, no touchdowns and one interception against the Bears. Last season, Ryan threw 22 touchdown passes and four interceptions on turf, but threw just six touchdown passes and five interceptions on natural grass.

—RB Michael Turner, a native of Waukegan, Ill., rushed for 100 yards on 10 carries against the Chicago Bears.

REPORT CARD VS. BEARS

PASSING OFFENSE: C — The offense move the ball through the air, but three drives were stoped by turnovers. The Falcons had four plays that went for 20 yards or more. Rookie wide receiver Julio Jones had receptions of 32 and 28 yards. Tight end Tony Gonzalez had a 30-yard catch and running back Michael Turner had a 20-yard reception. Roddy White led the team with eight catches.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C — RB Michael Turner had a 53-yard run and amassed 100 yards on 10 carries. But the running game was rendered moot as the Bears built a big lead.

PASS DEFENSE: F — Players were out of position and could not get off the field on third downs. Look for the team to speed up the integration of recently acquired cornerback Kelvin Hayden and safety James Sanders.

RUSH DEFENSE: C — Chicago' Mo Forte was held to 68 yards on 16 carries, but had a long run of 27 yards. Overall, the Bears were held to 88 yards on 27 carries. However, there were several missed tackles in the open field.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B — Rookie Matt Bosher averaged 38.4 yards on five punts. He kicked two of his four kickoffs into the end zone and had one touchback. The coverage units bottled up Devin Hester.

COACHING: F — The team was not prepared to play some good old-fashioned Black and Blue division football. The defense's tackling was simply abysmal. The offensive line got man-handled when the Bears went on the attack and the secondary blew too many coverages. The coaches have to share some of the blame for the team not being ready for the opener.

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couldn't have said it better! I understand what Abraham said that we just lost the first game of the season, similar to what happened last year. What fans are concerned with is the WAY we lost the last game - so uncharacteristic of the team i.e. turnovers, low possession time, not converting on third downs, and being blown out!

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COACHING: F — The team was not prepared to play some good old-fashioned Black and Blue division football. The defense's tackling was simply abysmal. The offensive line got man-handled when the Bears went on the attack and the secondary blew too many coverages. The coaches have to share some of the blame for the team not being ready for the opener.

I think this sums it up nicely.

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"It was just the first game," Abraham said. "There's no need for people to panic and things like that. I was riding in listening to the radio and it was like the season was over. It's one game. We lost the first game last year."

Abe needs to realize that our fanbase has been manic depressive for as long as I can remember.

Heavy emphasis on the depressive.

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