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Can Atlanta Fix Its Defense?


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I thought the defense played well yesterday with the exception of the 4th quarter.

The fumble by HD was inexcusable and gave the Fins a very short field to tie the game.

I think HD should no longer be returning punts. That was a horribly stupid decision to even try and return it.

That was just another bad play that helped cause our loss. I wouldn't bench him just for 1 play. The ball to a bad bounce so he tried catching it to stop it. He then got blew up. We actually should have recovered it, but their long snapper took it from us under the pile.

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For the first time in a long time I feel Atlanta has the pieces to make a really good defense. Yesterday the pass rush finally showed up. Don't know if that was the result of the matchup or what, but the defense did a lot right yesterday. It was the defensive playcalling I had a problem with -- it was atrocious is some spots, especially the final drive.

Nolan stayed in Nickel even when Miami was in 4 receiver sets and didn't walk the safety up on the 4th receiver. Instead, I'm seeing Decoud more than 10 yards away from the LOS. Now maybe there was a check that was supposed to have been made there; I don't know, but it was bad... just bad. This is on 3rd and 2 by the way -- all the receiver did was turn around -- it was stealing. Then I saw a couple of zone pressures run where a couple of the new guys looked lost and the safety didn't spin down fast enough and the hot read was wide open.

I expected the defense to be simplified, and for the most part it was -- I didn't see any of those funky pre-snap looks, or exotic coverages, but maybe it needs to be simplified even further. Let these young bucks just go out there an fly around, because yesterday, I thought both playcallers got a little too cute in the wrong spots.

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For the first time in a long time I feel Atlanta has the pieces to make a really good defense. Yesterday the pass rush finally showed up. Don't know if that was the result of the matchup or what, but the defense did a lot right yesterday. It was the defensive playcalling I had a problem with -- it was atrocious is some spots, especially the final drive.

Nolan stayed in Nickel even when Miami was in 4 receiver sets and didn't walk the safety up on the 4th receiver. Instead, I'm seeing Decoud more than 10 yards away from the LOS. Now maybe there was a check that was supposed to have been made there; I don't know, but it was bad... just bad. This is on 3rd and 2 by the way -- all the receiver did was turn around -- it was stealing. Then I saw a couple of zone pressures run where a couple of the new guys looked lost and the safety didn't spin down fast enough and the hot read was wide open.

I expected the defense to be simplified, and for the most part it was -- I didn't see any of those funky pre-snap looks, or exotic coverages, but maybe it needs to be simplified even further. Let these young bucks just go out there an fly around, because yesterday, I thought both playcallers got a little too cute in the wrong spots.

I agree with this a lot.

Speaking of Decoud I'm starting to get tired of his miss tackles, bad angels, being in the wrong spot, etc. Not sure what's going on. I'm sure he can get it fixed, just not sure he will.

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Don't know what the article says, but it seems to me the problems on defense are more than a lack of top-tier talent. This D performs adequately until the chips are down and the game is on the line. When push comes to shove, this defense runs away and hides from the challenge of making a stand. This indicates a lack of on-field leadership. There's no player on this D who can rally the troops and inspire them to get that last, critical stop and get off the field. Spoon was apparently the closest thing this D had to such a leader and he's injured. Maybe Osi or somebody else will emerge as the alpha-male this team desperately needs to establish that bad attitude that is sorely missing from this bunch over the past few years.

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Don't know what the article says, but it seems to me the problems on defense are more than a lack of top-tier talent. This D performs adequately until the chips are down and the game is on the line. When push comes to shove, this defense runs away and hides from the challenge of making a stand. This indicates a lack of on-field leadership. There's no player on this D who can rally the troops and inspire them to get that last, critical stop and get off the field. Spoon was apparently the closest thing this D had to such a leader and he's injured. Maybe Osi or somebody else will emerge as the alpha-male this team desperately needs to establish that bad attitude that is sorely missing from this bunch over the past few years.

Agree. I made another thread about the d and all people can say is well we payed the offense so much they need to score more.

We were up by 3 and we couldn't stop them from marching down the field on us. The game was on the line and our defense could not do their job period. Couldn't even hold them to a FG smh

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The defense is fine. Lack of 3rd quarter consistency and general inability of the offense to do anything in the second half is what is killing us. All it took was us converting one of those FG's into TD's or sustaining any kind of drive in the 3rd and we won yesterday.

I know we have elite talent on our offense. Maybe the best in the league at several positions, but sometimes I wish we would just release Tony, bench Roddy (he's hurt), cut HD and start rookies and snelling. Give the young guys some motivation to play. I get sick of the dropped balls, and poor route running and everything else these supposed "elite" players are doing that are killing us. With the exception of JJ and Ryan I would pretty much like to start from scratch.

Edited by schwarzenegger321
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In my preseason predictions, I had the New Orleans Saints winning the NFC South and theAtlanta Falcons missing the postseason. After watching almost every snap of Atlanta's 27-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins, I feel stronger than ever about that prediction. The biggest area that concerns me for this 1-2 Atlanta team is its defense. I have some concerns on the offensive side of the ball, but right now, the Falcons' biggest problem is that they don't have a playoff-caliber defense.

Can Atlanta fix that side of the ball?

On a very warm and humid day in Miami on Sunday, the Falcons possessed the ball for more than 37 minutes. But that statistic is a bit misleading because the Dolphins ran very few plays in a first half that Atlanta dominated more than the end time of possession stats would indicate. However, the Falcons' offense stalled on several occasions and settled for field goals rather than putting Miami away early in the game. The Falcons led 13-10 at the half, but their defense was not challenged at all. That group should have come out in the second half and put Miami away -- that is what above-average defenses do.

Atlanta's defense is very well coached and usually very difficult for opposing quarterbacks to decipher. But on Sunday, they stayed in their base 4-3 look most of the game, utilizing little deception or pre-snap movement on most first and second downs. Part of the reason for this was that their jack-of-all-trades, Kroy Biermann, was unavailable and is out for the season. Ryan Tannehill and Miami's offense overall did struggle early in the game, and the Falcons were excellent with their blitz calls, including often bringing a defensive back as part of their blitz package. The blitzing often got home (5.5 sacks), and, several times, Tannehill didn't account for the free defensive back blitzer, which is usually on the quarterback. Miami's protection unit seemed to be quite confused in terms of its assignments when Atlanta chose to blitz. The Dolphins also attempted only 15 rushes in this game. WhileLamar Miller broke a 49-yard run, on the other 14 attempts, Miami mustered just 2.9 yards per attempt, so there were some promising signs for the Falcons' defense.

Miami's defense looked tired at the end of the first half and their tackling was very poor, but their pass rush stepped up as the game went along and it became more of a challenge for Matt Ryan to move this Falcons offense. That put more pressure on the Falcons' defense, and that group was not up to the challenge against a very poised Tannehill. When Tannehill is able to accurately read and diagnose the defense before the snap, he is generally very precise with his throws and timing. In the second half against the Falcons' static fronts, Tannehill was far more successful and looked much more comfortable against Atlanta's blitzes.

In a league in which creating mismatches on both sides of the ball is of paramount importance, the biggest issue for the Falcons is a lack of overall talent and depth on the defensive side. Not only did the Falcons lose Biermann last week, but they also lost possibly their best defensive player, Sean Weatherspoon, for the season. This is a unit that is lacking playmakers and is also starting two rookie CBs in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. While they played well the first two weeks, Trufant and Alford struggled as this game went on, and their inexperience showed on Miami's last drive. They played too far off of their receivers, consistently giving up underneath passes without enough resistance -- potentially because they were afraid of getting beat deep. They will get better with experience but could suffer more growing pains this season.

The Falcons are struggling to get pressure on opposing QBs without blitzing, and their linebackers really struggle in coverage against tight ends. Charles Clay had four catches for 40 yards, including a critical 21-yard gain into the red zone on Miami's game-winning drive. If they don't get Weatherspoon back, this will continue to be an area of weakness for Atlanta.

While the huge hit by Don Jones on punt coverage to jar the ball loose from Harry Douglascould have been the biggest play of the game, the Falcons' defense had many things going for it today but was unable once again to close out an opponent. The Saints are rolling, and the NFC is extremely competitive. Unless Atlanta finds a pass rush and improves vastly on the back end, this defense is the biggest reason the Falcons might be watching the playoffs from home this season.

By Matt Williamson | ESPN Insider

Edited by MilleniumFalcon
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In my preseason predictions, I had the New Orleans Saints winning the NFC South and theAtlanta Falcons missing the postseason. After watching almost every snap of Atlanta's 27-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins, I feel stronger than ever about that prediction. The biggest area that concerns me for this 1-2 Atlanta team is its defense. I have some concerns on the offensive side of the ball, but right now, the Falcons' biggest problem is that they don't have a playoff-caliber defense.

Can Atlanta fix that side of the ball?

On a very warm and humid day in Miami on Sunday, the Falcons possessed the ball for more than 37 minutes. But that statistic is a bit misleading because the Dolphins ran very few plays in a first half that Atlanta dominated more than the end time of possession stats would indicate. However, the Falcons' offense stalled on several occasions and settled for field goals rather than putting Miami away early in the game. The Falcons led 13-10 at the half, but their defense was not challenged at all. That group should have come out in the second half and put Miami away -- that is what above-average defenses do.

Atlanta's defense is very well coached and usually very difficult for opposing quarterbacks to decipher. But on Sunday, they stayed in their base 4-3 look most of the game, utilizing little deception or pre-snap movement on most first and second downs. Part of the reason for this was that their jack-of-all-trades, Kroy Biermann, was unavailable and is out for the season. Ryan Tannehill and Miami's offense overall did struggle early in the game, and the Falcons were excellent with their blitz calls, including often bringing a defensive back as part of their blitz package. The blitzing often got home (5.5 sacks), and, several times, Tannehill didn't account for the free defensive back blitzer, which is usually on the quarterback. Miami's protection unit seemed to be quite confused in terms of its assignments when Atlanta chose to blitz. The Dolphins also attempted only 15 rushes in this game. WhileLamar Miller broke a 49-yard run, on the other 14 attempts, Miami mustered just 2.9 yards per attempt, so there were some promising signs for the Falcons' defense.

Miami's defense looked tired at the end of the first half and their tackling was very poor, but their pass rush stepped up as the game went along and it became more of a challenge for Matt Ryan to move this Falcons offense. That put more pressure on the Falcons' defense, and that group was not up to the challenge against a very poised Tannehill. When Tannehill is able to accurately read and diagnose the defense before the snap, he is generally very precise with his throws and timing. In the second half against the Falcons' static fronts, Tannehill was far more successful and looked much more comfortable against Atlanta's blitzes.

In a league in which creating mismatches on both sides of the ball is of paramount importance, the biggest issue for the Falcons is a lack of overall talent and depth on the defensive side. Not only did the Falcons lose Biermann last week, but they also lost possibly their best defensive player, Sean Weatherspoon, for the season. This is a unit that is lacking playmakers and is also starting two rookie CBs in Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. While they played well the first two weeks, Trufant and Alford struggled as this game went on, and their inexperience showed on Miami's last drive. They played too far off of their receivers, consistently giving up underneath passes without enough resistance -- potentially because they were afraid of getting beat deep. They will get better with experience but could suffer more growing pains this season.

The Falcons are struggling to get pressure on opposing QBs without blitzing, and their linebackers really struggle in coverage against tight ends. Charles Clay had four catches for 40 yards, including a critical 21-yard gain into the red zone on Miami's game-winning drive. If they don't get Weatherspoon back, this will continue to be an area of weakness for Atlanta.

While the huge hit by Don Jones on punt coverage to jar the ball loose from Harry Douglascould have been the biggest play of the game, the Falcons' defense had many things going for it today but was unable once again to close out an opponent. The Saints are rolling, and the NFC is extremely competitive. Unless Atlanta finds a pass rush and improves vastly on the back end, this defense is the biggest reason the Falcons might be watching the playoffs from home this season.

By Matt Williamson | ESPN Insider

Thanks for posting.

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