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John Lynch: Moore, Decoud Have Raised Their Level Of Play


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Lynch: Moore, DeCoud have raised their level of play

5:00 am September 27, 2012, by D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH From his spectacular playing days, Fox television analyst John Lynch knows good safety play when he sees it.

After reviewing tape of the Falcons wins over Denver and San Diego, the nine-time Pro Bowl player came away impressed with the play of William Moore and Thomas DeCoud.

[They] were just kind of guys the last couple of years, said Lynch, who will work the game against Carolina on Sunday at the Georgia Dome, in a phone interview Wednesday. You saw flashes, but you didnt see consistency. But these guys have taken it to the next level.

With Moore and DeCoud leading the way, the Falcons defense has morphed, under the direction of coordinator Mike Nolan, into an opportunistic ballhawking unit.

They are playing at a high level, Lynch said. They seem to be at the center of most of these turnovers.

The takeaways have been coming in bunches for the Falcons, and Moore and DeCoud have accounted for seven of the teams 11.

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud made it look easy against the Chargers on Sunday. (Associated Press)

Against Kansas City, they came on three consecutive drives in the second half. Against Denver, the Falcons secondary pounced on Peyton Manning passes on the Broncos first three possessions. They added a fourth turnover on a fumble recovery by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Against the Chargers, the four turnovers came throughout the game.

You had Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, and both of them seem to be confused at times by what Mike Nolan and this Falcons D was throwing at them, Lynch said. There are a lot of people moving all over the screen. I think it looks like Mike has told them to show whatever you want to show, so long as at the snap you are where you are supposed to be. When you can confuse two guys like that, you are doing something.

The Falcons have been an opportunistic bunch and lead the NFL with a plus-10 in turnover ratio. Carolina, which is 0-11 when quarterback Cam Newton throws an interception, is minus-6 in the key indicator.

Over the offseason and in training camp, Falcons defensive players would pounce on any loose ball and return the interception or fumble. Sometimes, they lateraled a couple of times in order to score.

John Lynch was a bone-rattling hitter in the NFL from 1993 to 2007. (Craig Jones/Getty Images)

Its a real point of emphasis when the ball is available, to get to it, Nolan said.

While the practices have paid off, Nolan, a defensive-coordinating veteran of 14 years in the NFL, knows that something else is at play.

Ive worked on awareness for a lot of years, the exact way that we are doing it, Nolan said. There have been years where we couldnt get [many turnovers]. In some years, obviously, we set the record one year in Baltimore.

There are players that have the knack for getting the ball, and there are some that dont.

Nolan said coaches emphasized getting turnovers in Baltimore, but noted that they didnt teach safety Ed Reed how to get the ball.

He just has a knack for it, Nolan said. Right now, youve got a couple of guys who have a knack for it as well.

DeCoud had two interceptions and a fumble recovery against San Diego. He also had one of the interceptions against Manning. Moore had an interception against Kansas City and Denver and a fumble recovery against San Diego.

The two have grown together as pros.

As a young safety, they tried to trick you a lot, DeCoud said. They expect you not to have seen a lot of stuff. Thats paid dividends for William and I. Hes in his fourth year, and Im in my fifth year. Weve seen a lot of stuff. Since weve seen a lot of stuff, we are less susceptible to being tricked, and we can make a lot more plays.

Nolan doesnt know if this is only a hot streak or if the Falcons can sustain such a high turnover margin.

We definitely hope that it continues, Nolan said. If it happens for the right reasons, meaning that your players have that awareness and are able to do that, then thats great, and it will just keep going.

It lasts a lot longer when you have a knack for it than when you have just some gimmick scheme that youve got going.

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It's obvious they are comfortable with each other, the scheme, and the way Nolan is teaching them the scheme. Now teams are gonna be on notice that the deep ball aint there...hopefully that means pick 6's for the corners now when teams try to dink and dunk.

Pansies Coach Rivera does think his team may be able to throw deep against Atlanta's safeties. From an article:

"When speaking on what he saw, Coach noted that a lot of Atlanta's success on defense has come from their playmaking safeties: Thomas DeCoud and William Moore. However, Rivera also registered that there is a weakness to be found in the Atlanta Secondary.

Oftentimes, the Atlanta Safeties can be drawn in on run plays, and play action, opening up vertical passing and single coverage on the outside. If you can draw one or both of the safeties in just 1-2 steps, it could give a significant advantage to a wide receiver running a go route."

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Pansies Coach Rivera does think his team may be able to throw deep against Atlanta's safeties. From an article:

"When speaking on what he saw, Coach noted that a lot of Atlanta's success on defense has come from their playmaking safeties: Thomas DeCoud and William Moore. However, Rivera also registered that there is a weakness to be found in the Atlanta Secondary.

Oftentimes, the Atlanta Safeties can be drawn in on run plays, and play action, opening up vertical passing and single coverage on the outside. If you can draw one or both of the safeties in just 1-2 steps, it could give a significant advantage to a wide receiver running a go route."

Teams have run the ball effectively against the Falcons, but I doubt that is the reason the safeties get beat...front 4 has to take the next step for

this "D"...not named Abe.

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Lynch: Moore, DeCoud have raised their level of play

...w/o a doubt, they have benefited the most from Nolan IMHO.

Nolan's letting his players play and not worrying about all the little things. Players dont have to think as much and are using their natural ability to make plays. Football is not rocket scientist and Nolan knows that. If you give the players more than they can chew off, they will struggle and think too much. This happened the past few years with a DC that shall be unnamed.

Nolan is the best thing that has happened to this defense in a LONG time. A simple mindset with players just playing FOOTBALL is what this team needed.

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Lynch: Moore, DeCoud have raised their level of play

...w/o a doubt, they have benefited the most from Nolan IMHO.

Nolan's Scheme calls for a "hybrid" safety, one who can play both the traditional free and strong safety roles. From a Daniel Cox article on August 15:

"In Mike Nolan’s scheme, starting safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore are viewed as hybrid safeties, players that can interchange between both free and strong safety and not miss a beat.

It’s a great luxury to have on defense because it helps disguise what the defense is trying to do. But if you’ve got hybrid starters, you need backups that are capable of stepping in and accomplishing the same thing.

Enter Charles Mitchell.

Since Mitchell arrived in rookie minicamp in May, he says he’s been switching between the two safety positions, learning both. He believes he’s capable of filling that role behind DeCoud and Moore.

“I got here and they put me at free safety and I was able to be around the ball a lot and have made some plays on the ball,” Mitchell said. “I feel like I’m a hybrid player. I can play both. When the ball comes my way, I’m confident in myself that I can make the play.”

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Nolan's Scheme calls for a "hybrid" safety, one who can play both the traditional free and strong safety roles. From a Daniel Cox article on August 15:

"In Mike Nolan’s scheme, starting safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore are viewed as hybrid safeties, players that can interchange between both free and strong safety and not miss a beat.

It’s a great luxury to have on defense because it helps disguise what the defense is trying to do. But if you’ve got hybrid starters, you need backups that are capable of stepping in and accomplishing the same thing.

Enter Charles Mitchell.

Since Mitchell arrived in rookie minicamp in May, he says he’s been switching between the two safety positions, learning both. He believes he’s capable of filling that role behind DeCoud and Moore.

“I got here and they put me at free safety and I was able to be around the ball a lot and have made some plays on the ball,” Mitchell said. “I feel like I’m a hybrid player. I can play both. When the ball comes my way, I’m confident in myself that I can make the play.”

Yea, its incredible ....and I feel pretty good about Mitchell as depth as well, glad he is training on the swing, because Hope just dont seem like he's got it ....

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It's a subtle compliment but, on Yahoo, an article discussing RGIII's trade value pointed out that he has some formidable defenses on the horizon:

1) Griffin has faced three of the league's most generous defenses in his first three games, opening with New Orleans (34.0 PPG, 477.3 YPG), St. Louis (26.0, 358.7) and Cincinnati (34.0, 416.7). Not every match-up in the NFL is quite so friendly. The degree of difficulty will increase dramatically, and soon. Washington still has its complete division schedule ahead, plus match-ups with Atlanta, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Lumped in with Baltimore and Pittsburgh? I'll take it.

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