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Yasinskas: Nfc South Stock Watch Has Two Falcons Rising


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Stock Watch: NFC South

Oct 8 2:49 PM ET

RISING

Mike Nolan, defensive coordinator, Falcons. There was a lot of debate in the offseason about if the Falcons got the best new defensive coordinator or if the Saints did with Steve Spagnuolo. It hasn’t even been a contest. While Spagnuolo and the Saints have struggled from the start, Nolan has had his defense playing well all season and it’s probably only going to get better as guys get more comfortable with the scheme.

Marques Colston, wide receiver, Saints. There was some talk earlier in the season that Colston might be washed up. The reality was he wasn’t completely healthy. He is now and he’s put together two big games in a row. With a bye coming up, Colston should be rested and should stay productive.

Dunta Robinson, cornerback, Falcons. Since signing with the Falcons in 2010, a lot of people have written Robinson off as a bust. That might have been partly true the past two seasons, but I’m seeing a guy who's playing well this season. Robinson had a crucial interception at Washington and it was one of the first true big plays he’s made since joining the Falcons.

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Guest Negatorris

I've been really impressed. Nolan has the most scrutinized guys from previous years playing well. All except for Ray. All hope is lost for that bum.

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he was on the field more than that yesterday

i saw him on his back 10 times lol

From an sbnation.com article:

Moore and DeCoud are playing like Pro Bowlers, and Robert McClain has gone from surprise roster addition to more-than-capable nickelback, a much welcomed improvement over last year's Franks/Owens combo.

Mike Nolan is earning every dollar of his paycheck right now. Or at least fifty cents on the dollar. Why?

I knew a ground game, once...

I give credit where credit is due: Alfred Morris is a talented running back. How he slipped into the sixth round I'm not sure, but he looked much more like a Jamal Lewis as he ripped Atlanta's front seven for 115 yards on 18 carries.

The team impressively limited the always dangerous Griffin to just seven yards rushing, which is incredibly impressive, but Morris exposed Akeem Dent for the inexperienced linebacker that he is. A simple toss sweep play became the bane of Dent's existence.

The Falcons are currently allowing over 142 rushing yards per game. Most of this is attributable to the scheme change. Mike Nolan seems much more intent on employing complex coverages and preventing the pass.

I'm calling this now: at some point this season, an opposing team will get out to an early lead, and the Falcons will lose because they cannot stop the ground game. Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas have been impressive, especially in coverage, but right now Dent is not the answer at middle linebacker.

http://atlanta.sbnation.com/2012/10/8/3472996/atlanta-falcons-washington-redskins-recap-matt-ryan-robert-griffin-iii

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From an sbnation.com article:

Moore and DeCoud are playing like Pro Bowlers, and Robert McClain has gone from surprise roster addition to more-than-capable nickelback, a much welcomed improvement over last year's Franks/Owens combo.

Mike Nolan is earning every dollar of his paycheck right now. Or at least fifty cents on the dollar. Why?

I knew a ground game, once...

I give credit where credit is due: Alfred Morris is a talented running back. How he slipped into the sixth round I'm not sure, but he looked much more like a Jamal Lewis as he ripped Atlanta's front seven for 115 yards on 18 carries.

The team impressively limited the always dangerous Griffin to just seven yards rushing, which is incredibly impressive, but Morris exposed Akeem Dent for the inexperienced linebacker that he is. A simple toss sweep play became the bane of Dent's existence.

The Falcons are currently allowing over 142 rushing yards per game. Most of this is attributable to the scheme change. Mike Nolan seems much more intent on employing complex coverages and preventing the pass.

I'm calling this now: at some point this season, an opposing team will get out to an early lead, and the Falcons will lose because they cannot stop the ground game. Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas have been impressive, especially in coverage, but right now Dent is not the answer at middle linebacker.

http://atlanta.sbnation.com/2012/10/8/3472996/atlanta-falcons-washington-redskins-recap-matt-ryan-robert-griffin-iii

I just got off the phone with Asante Samuel and he said the return of Corey Peters should help stiffen the run D. Plus he said they played the read option 2 weeks in a row so responsibilities in the run game changed but you're right, Dent must play better.

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From an sbnation.com article:

Moore and DeCoud are playing like Pro Bowlers, and Robert McClain has gone from surprise roster addition to more-than-capable nickelback, a much welcomed improvement over last year's Franks/Owens combo.

Mike Nolan is earning every dollar of his paycheck right now. Or at least fifty cents on the dollar. Why?

I knew a ground game, once...

I give credit where credit is due: Alfred Morris is a talented running back. How he slipped into the sixth round I'm not sure, but he looked much more like a Jamal Lewis as he ripped Atlanta's front seven for 115 yards on 18 carries.

The team impressively limited the always dangerous Griffin to just seven yards rushing, which is incredibly impressive, but Morris exposed Akeem Dent for the inexperienced linebacker that he is. A simple toss sweep play became the bane of Dent's existence.

The Falcons are currently allowing over 142 rushing yards per game. Most of this is attributable to the scheme change. Mike Nolan seems much more intent on employing complex coverages and preventing the pass.

I'm calling this now: at some point this season, an opposing team will get out to an early lead, and the Falcons will lose because they cannot stop the ground game. Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas have been impressive, especially in coverage, but right now Dent is not the answer at middle linebacker.

http://atlanta.sbnat...ert-griffin-iii

This is my fear as well. We have to somehow find a way to stop the run, because in the games we haven't started with a lead (vs Carolina, @Wash), we've almost lost. We tightened up against the run in the second half of the Redskins game, but we gotta do a better job for the entire four quarters.

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One thing that will help vs the run is playing more "base" defense.

we have run ALOT of our D in the Nickle and dime looks which are ALWAYS tough to stop the run on a consistent basis because of the sheer nature of the personnel.

Our run d has bee an tail of 2 halves

the first half in 4 of 5 games we gave up a good chunk on the ground only to lock it down in the second half in all 4 of 5.

Save the charger game we locked that bish down all game until Battle had that one big run at the end

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Nolan needs to get Dent playing better too.

If he can't get Dent playing better next week, what do you think we could do? We have to shore up the run defense during the bye week.

Some folks are calling for Schillar or even Peterson to start instead.

Could we just mix it up a little? Maybe slide Spoon inside and play James in his spot when we run a base 4-3? He was balling in the preseason.

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If he can't get Dent playing better next week, what do you think we could do? We have to shore up the run defense during the bye week.

Some folks are calling for Schillar or even Peterson to start instead.

Could we just mix it up a little? Maybe slide Spoon inside and play James in his spot when we run a base 4-3? He was balling in the preseason.

All of the things you mentioned would be viable options. To add one more possibility, Atlanta could slide Nick or Spoon inside and use Kroy Biermann as an outside LB. Then Atlanta would also be able to play Ray Edwards at DE in the base defense, as he plays fairly well against the run, and still have Biermann and Abe on the field at the same time.

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