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Falcons' Vangorder Says Team Suffered From Jitters


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http://www.foxsports...996&feedID=3703

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder described his unit as "jittery" and a "a little bit anxious" on Tuesday and offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey said his unit will not take unnecessary chances to try and stretch the field, as each made their weekly meeting with the media following Sunday's disappointing 30-12 loss at Chicago.

VanGorder said those jitters somewhat surprised him. The Falcons defense has no rookie starters and the youngest players are second-year linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and third-year safety William Moore.

"We still have a lot of young players," VanGorder said. "You know, first game… Yeah, I'd be lying to you if I weren't a little bit surprised. You know, sometimes that first game and the events before the game and we were just a little bit – maybe jittery is the wrong word -- just a little bit anxious, I think.

"I mean, we basically got what we prepared for and there were no surprises basically in the game. We've just got to calm it down and focus and concentrate on our jobs – all of us, players and coaches -- and do a better job."

At the heart of the loss on the defensive side were missed tackles and blown coverages, issues that VanGorder said were about concentration and playing anxiety-free.

"We talk about it all the time – that's about your intensity that you carry into the game, so we didn't have the right intensity," VanGorder said. "It showed in the tackling area."

VanGorder said poor tackling is a league-wide issue, as teams have not had much time to practice it, owing to the lockout and rules limiting the amount of contact.

"You prepare all week long and your expectation level is such that those kinds of things don't happen," he said, "and we were playing an active quarterback (Chicago's Jay Cutler) who could move and run and a couple of times when he moved out of the pocket a little bit we became a little bit jittery with him and did some of the things we had emphasized during the week not to do.

"It happened and it's something that we'll learn from and won't let it happen again. But that was a big part of their game because we felt it was very important to get stops early in that game and see how their offense would handle it. We just didn't get the job done."

Now on Sunday the Falcons are faced with the prospect of an even more jitter-inducing mobile quarterback in the ex-Falcon Michael Vick.

"He's pretty mobile," VanGorder deadpanned.

The Falcons also struggled last year against Philadelphia – they played the Eagles with Kevin Kolb as the starter in a 31-17 loss in Philadelphia – in defending the Eagles' misdirection plays.

"Yeah, they came out and ran the reverse early and, of course, we worked the reverse all week long," VanGorder said. "Again, that's a big part of their system and what they do. It creates problems for you and we'll do the same thing and we'll emphasize it all week long. We've just got to do a better job of going out and concentrating on the strategies of the game and using all our preparation to our advantage and we were a little bit jittery last Sunday and we've got to calm it down and concentrate on the things we work on all week long."

VanGorder said the Falcons will take a "hard look" at using cornerback Kelvin Hayden and safety James Sanders. Those players – both of whom have won Super Bowls – are not so likely to suffer the jitters.

Offensively, Mularkey said the Falcons "didn't give ourselves a chance to show what we're capable of" – mostly as a result of three turnovers. Mularkey was criticized for an offense that did not try to stretch the field with new weapon Julio Jones at wide receiver, as the Bears stayed in a zone with two safeties playing deep most of the time.

Mularkey was asked if he would be more aggressive in facing a similar scheme in the future. (He said Philadelphia's new defensive coordinator Juan Castillo employs a scheme much like what the Falcons saw in the Bears'.)

"I don't know what that means," Mularkey said. "When you got guys down there and they're taking away the deep ball and you throw it underneath, which we did successfully, you can force it down there and turn the ball over more, possibly, which we obviously don't want to do. But there were a number of times where we tried to get the ball deep and they – that's ‘Tampa 2,' that's the scheme of things and that's probably the most checkdowns I can remember I've ever been involved with…

"And our guys did a great job. Michael Turner did a great job of making yards after the catch. But, yeah, we're trying to get them down there but we're not going to force the issue."

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"I mean, we basically got what we prepared for and there were no surprises basically in the game. We've just got to calm it down and focus and concentrate on our jobs – all of us, players and coaches -- and do a better job."

At least he takes some responsibility there.

But after reading that it sure sounds like the problem wasn't his scheme or his play calls... the problem was the players. They were jittery...They were too anxious....

Wow.... this reminds me of Petrino. It was never his fault either.... it was always the players fault.

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I figured this and I believe this is a part to do with it, Their were a lot of rumors that a football game could have been a target for an anniversary attack, along with all the pre game distractions and a lockout shortened season I can safely call jitters a legit excuse

Edited by Zodiac
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Was that a bad comparison

No, my comment was directed at what VanGorder said about the players being "jittery". That sure doesn't bode well for Sunday night. And these guys are supposed to be professionals. How do you put all those years of time and effort into realizing your dream of playing in the NFL, only to get jittery? I mean, most of these guys have been doing this for a while now. This team needs to grow up, and this upcoming Eagles game is the perfect opportunity.

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No, my comment was directed at what VanGorder said about the players being "jittery". That sure doesn't bode well for Sunday night. And these guys are supposed to be professionals. How do you put all those years of time and effort into realizing your dream of playing in the NFL, only to get jittery? I mean, most of these guys have been doing this for a while now. This team needs to grow up, and this upcoming Eagles game is the perfect opportunity.

With the injury report out I think it will be a poor performance from ATL

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I don't want to hear that. Your supposed be professionals so act like it.

No Excuses!!!

"Jitters" are what happens when you're unprepared. Repetition makes things routine and removes hesitation.

Bad preparation falls on the coaches - plain and simple.

Edited by Carl927
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"Jitters" are what happens when you're unprepared. Repetition makes things routine and removes hesitation.

Bad preparation falls on the coaches - plain and simple.

Like I said no excuses. Whether it's the coaches or players do your job and you won't have to come up with reasons why you lost.

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I don't blame BVG. Look at the defense in the first half and second half. 16 pts in the 1st, only 7 in the second with a TD of their own. They settled down and shut down the Bears outside of Hester's screen that should have been stopped had DRob not slipped. Even in the first half, those FGs were from bad field position, not getting driven on. Yes they opened up a little shaky in pass coverage but they were solid in the second half (i.e. adjustments, calmed down).

The same can't be said for MM. He scored 3 points both halves.

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"Jitters" are what happens when you're unprepared. Repetition makes things routine and removes hesitation.

Bad preparation falls on the coaches - plain and simple.

Exactly!

Do you think the Ravens defense was Jittery? What about the Jets? This isn't a team of rookies or it's like they're playing in a brand new defensive scheme. They should know this 'defense' inside and out by now.

Personally, I'm starting to think the players have almost no confidence in the scheme and that's why they're 'Jittery' because they know one or two mistakes and the game's going to be out of hand. This applies to both offense and defense.

If this defense is so complicated like Hayden or Sanders said and it's been this ineffective maybe it's time to simplify it and get back to the basics because clearly what we've been doing hasn't worked that great so far.

Edited by Sun Tzu 7
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