Rai Posted February 10, 2012 Share Posted February 10, 2012 (edited) The New Orleans Saints broke all sorts of records. The Atlanta Falcons broke down under the weight of expectancy. The Carolina Panthers broke out, thanks in part to Cam Newton. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Well they were broke heading into the season, we just didn’t realize how badly until they tried such advanced football concepts as tackling.This was a year in the NFC South when the haves continued to dominate the have-nots, despite the Panthers suggesting they could challenge, while the Buccaneers showed everyone how beating teams with losing records can come back to haunt you a year later, if you fail to invest wisely. Take note Falcon fans.So as we continue our look at some of the most notable individual performances of the 2011 season, let’s see what the NFC South has to offer, starting with those disappointed Falcons.Atlanta FalconsMost ImprovedSean Weatherspoon: From -10.2 (2010) to +20.4 (2011)The Falcons were probably a little relieved when a non-serious injury meant they could afford to limit the amount of snaps they had to give Weatherspoon as a rookie. All too often out of place, he wasn’t able to put his physical talents to use in 2010. Fast forward a year and Weatherspoon looks like one of the best linebackers in the league. He could stand to improve in coverage, but his knack for making big stops and getting off blocks is impressive, and exactly what you’d expect out of a first round pick.Biggest drop offKroy Biermann: From +12.7 to -10.1You had to feel bad for Biermann. Here’s a player who constantly picked up pressure in 2010, yet the whole world seemed to be clamoring for his role to be reduced. It did with the arrival of Ray Edwards, and it led to the Falcons getting far less pressure on the other side of John Abraham then they anticipated for. Biermann didn’t seem to respond to the reduced role, and had something of a year to forget. On 92 fewer pass rushes, he picked-up 23 fewer QB disruptions. Would the Falcons have been better off keeping Biermann and not spending on Edwards? We’ll never know, but it’s a question their money men must be asking.More snaps neededStephen Nicholas: +5.9 from 286 snapsAtlanta didn’t get as much production from their pass rush as they had hoped, especially in their sub package defense on 3rd-and-long. Part of the problem came the lack of push up the middle from anyone not named Jonathan Babineaux. One way to counter this would be to get a bit more creative and use more 3-3-5 alignments, as had seemingly become the norm in 2010. Nicholas, who missed time through injury as well, would fit in very handily as one of these three linebackers, as he and Weatherspoon displayed an ability to generate pressure off the edge. However they do it, the Nicholas’ play seems to dictate he should be a bigger part of the defense.http://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/02/10/trending-in-the-nfc-south/ Edited February 10, 2012 by Rai Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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