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Falcon Coaches Are Real Key To A Win Vs 49Ers


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Yes, obviously the players will be the ones who will be out on the field, they will be the ones who will have to execute, but make no mistake, the Falcons coaches are the real key to beating the 49ers this weekend. In particular, Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan must come up with the best schemes of their collective careers in each side of the ball to enable the players to get past the best 49er team in many years and perhaps the best football team the Falcons will face this season, and that's including whoever they'll meet in the Super Bowl if they get that far.

The heat is on Koetter to not only put a lot of points on the board, but also to create an offensive game plan that also eats up large chunks of clock. Not only that, but the offense has to put TD's on the board when they get into the Red Zone, FG's aren't going to get the job done. The offensive game plan must be creative enough to keep the pass rush from overwhelming Ryan and to open up running lanes against one of the best front seven's in the NFL, but it also must be completely different from our regular season tendencies and the "new and different" offensive scheme the offense used with great effect and efficiency in the game vs the Seahawks last week. That scheme succeeded in establishing the running game with more consistency than we'd seen all year. It succeeded in putting up 20 points in the first half and eating up a huge chunk of clock and dominating the Seahawks in terms of time of possession. But the 49er coaches will break that film down and will have answers for all the wrinkles Koetter managed to insert into last week's scheme. This one not only has to be as creative and effective, it actually has to be better than last week's plan. And, oh yeah, he has to be ready and able to make radical changes and adjustments in the second half depending on the score.

I'm no offensive genius, but I think you have to go hurry-up no-huddle for most of this game. It's effective, Ryan is comfortable at running a no-huddle and it needs to be up-tempo to put as much stress on the 49er defense as possible and tire them out as quickly as possible. Other than that, you have to stretch the field with 4 wideout sets to pressure their secondary and create some running lanes for our backs. The Falcon screen game produced very little last week and I'm sure the 49ers will also be well prepared to stuff these, so we need to replace the screen game with some roll-outs and slants. Some of you will cringe at the thought of Ryan rolling out, but he's gotten much better with his mobility this season.

On defense, Nolan's going to have to come up with answers and solutions in several crucial areas. He has to convince his linebackers and secondary that they must wrap up on tackles and abandon their ineffective attempts to knock running backs and receivers down with a shoulder bump. Grab the player with both arms and put him on the turf. It's not rocket science. Second, Nolan has to find a way to get some heat on Kaepernick, yet still contain him if the pass rush fails to get him down. The DE's are going to have to control the edge, which means the blitz must come from Spoon, Moore and occasionally DeCoud. His third priority is to shut down the 49ers run game or it will be their team, not ours, who is marching down the field scoring points and eating up the clock. The Falcons struggle when they allow the other team to score first. I don't think the Falcons will have much of a chance against the 49ers if they get behind and force the Falcons to become one-dimensional and Ryan ends up throwing 50 times in that game. So with all the other things Nolan has to stop, he absolutely must prevent San Fran from getting their offense into a rhythm and putting up the first score, especially not a TD. Giving up a FG wouldn't be the end of the world, but ideally for both our offense and defense, if they get the ball first, Nolan has to get that first stop. We saw earlier in the year that Nolan is capable of completely baffling even HOF QB's like Peyton Manning, but as the season has worn on, there has not been as much creativity, the pass rush has been almost non-existent, teams have continued to gain a ton of yards on the ground and the secondary got lit up in the secondary last week. We can't have a repeat of any of the above-mentioned issues this week and win.

I think we have enough talent on the roster to get to the Super Bowl, but I don't believe we have nearly enough talent on the roster to just line up against the 49ers and physically just dominate them and grind out a win mano-a-mano. It's going to be on Nolan and Koetter to come up with schemes that will surprise and confuse the 49ers, keep them guessing, keep them on their heels and keep their defense out on the field until they're one down physically, mentally and emotionally.

What do you guys think will be the key to a Falcons victory? The players just physically out-playing the 49er players, or our coaches out-planning, out-preparing and out-scheming the 49ers coaching staff?

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