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Falcons Defense Needs To Tackle The Issue (E S P N)


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http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/2446/falcons-defense-needs-to-tackle-the-issue

Falcons defense needs to tackle the issue

December, 4, 2013

Dec 4

9:30

AM ET

By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith brought up his defense’s poor tackling effort against the New Orleans Saints, referring to path to football as part the reason for 14 missed tackles.

The subject came up again with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan following Sunday’s overtime victory over Buffalo. Nolan counted 14 missed tackles against the Bills, too, along with nine mental errors on defense.

"You want about half of that (seven missed tackles) because a missed tackle at the line of scrimmage is not costly,’’ Nolan explained. "The difficult thing in missed tackles is when it comes to a secondary player, that’s a critical play.

"Up front, you’ll have a half a dozen missed tackles in a game. But when you miss a tackle on the second and third level -- which is what we did the other day on the two long ones -- they're costly. They go for points. And that’s where things become explosive.’’

Against the Bills, the Falcons surrendered a 77-yard run to speedy C.J. Spiller that would have gone for a touchdown had cornerback Desmond Trufant not chased Spiller down from behind. On the play, safety Thomas DeCoud and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon were unable to corral Spiller up the middle.

Then on Spiller’s 36-yard touchdown run, DeCoud couldn’t get off a block in time to impede Spiller’s progress while cornerback Robert Alford and safety William Moore both fell to the ground and collided while attempting to tackle Spiller.

"The most important thing to tackling is your path to the ball,’’ Nolan said. "And I stress that all the time. We stress that in practice. We try to get as many guys around the ball as you can.

"Go back and watch the film on both plays. A play doesn’t become explosive until it’s after 10 yards. If you look a prior to 10 yards, there are several opportunities to tackle the ball carrier. And it both opportunities … we always work to have a nice little triangle on the ball carrier. But at the moment of truth, we aren’t tackling very well.’’

Nolan feels he is getting enough players around the ball, however.

"Those two plays (against the Bills), in particular, paint a picture that you can't stop the run, and we can,'' Nolan said. "But we have to do it. And you can't let things go to the house. Good teams don't. And we have to be a better team in that regard.''

Finishing tackles will be imperative again this week against the Green Bay Packers and physical rookie running back Eddie Lacy, who is ninth in the NFL with 822 rushing yards, including a long run of 56 yards.

The Falcons have allowed five individuals to rush for more than 145 yards or more this season: Tampa Bay's Bobby Rainey (163 yards), Arizona's Andre Ellington (154), Spiller (149), and Seattle's Marshawn Lynch (145).

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Spoon is highly overrated and DeCoud has no business in the NFL.

WE need football players on D. Not Boy Scouts. Too many softies on our D.

Yeah, it's sad but a UDFA may be the best thing our defense has to offer. Sure everyone, even the top guys take bad angles from time to time but he has shown me more than spoon, Nic or dent ever has. He's only gonna get better. DeCoud, he has no business making more than the vet minimum. Only thing he's ever done that stood out was get interceptions. Some people think interceptions defines who you are in the secondary but that's certainly not the case.
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Spoon might be overrated...but he brings some heart and soul to the defense. Not all the fastest guys are leaders, but you are 1000% right about DeCoud...he is afraid to tackle and takes the absolute worst angles to the ball. Back on the Jimmy Graham scamper down the sidelines WMoore was like "outta my way biotch, I'll make this tackle if you won't"...and shoved him out of the way. Time for TDC to learn the all important phrase "You want frys with that..."

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"And I stress that all the time. We stress that in practice. We try to get as many guys around the ball as you can."

I just don't see it. This team is the polar opposite of physical. William Moore is the only player that doesn't shy away from contact. It's rare to see the Falcons gang tackle. One thing I can say for sure was Jerry Glanville's Falcons gang tackled all the time.

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We never practice tackling for fear of injury and then wonder why we can't tackle in games.... the best tacklers are always the guys out of college because they must still practice that there.

Also we hardly ever practice with full pads and then we wonder why our o-line can't block and gets pushed around.

You play like you practice. Practice soft then you play soft.

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Decoud and Asante are horrible...

Why is Asante even starting anymore????

Assante has bad shoulders, and should just hang it up. He was once a great corner, but too many injuries have taken there toll on him. DeCoud is just a straight up puss, who won't make a physical tackle for anything. DeCoud has been called out on this often, and yet we still see this guy costing the team points.

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I think a lot of it is the fact that there is less contact in practice, and some of it might be talent, but I really question the coaching. Spoon was a good tackler in college, and DeCoud has gotten worse. He wasn't this bad in 2009. I'm really starting to think it is far more of preparation/scheme issue than a lack of talent issue. Yes, we have a smallish secondary, and that doesn't help, but tackling has been an issue since Smitty has been here, and it hasn't improved.

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"And I stress that all the time. We stress that in practice. We try to get as many guys around the ball as you can."

I just don't see it. This team is the polar opposite of physical. William Moore is the only player that doesn't shy away from contact. It's rare to see the Falcons gang tackle. One thing I can say for sure was Jerry Glanville's Falcons gang tackled all the time.

When Glanville's Falcons looked bad tackling during a loss, Jerry would hold full contact scrimmages the next week.

Try doing that now and the Players Union will be all over, if the CBA agreement even allows such practices, that is. Teams probably shouldn't do it anyway because of the injury factor.

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We never practice tackling for fear of injury and then wonder why we can't tackle in games.... the best tacklers are always the guys out of college because they must still practice that there.

Also we hardly ever practice with full pads and then we wonder why our o-line can't block and gets pushed around.

You play like you practice. Practice soft then you play soft.

At this point DeCoud would be better as a nickel or dime back but he gets paid too much for that.

DeCoud is going to have to fight for his job this off season. Unfortunately with all our other needs, DeCoud probably will get a pass this season.

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We never practice tackling for fear of injury and then wonder why we can't tackle in games.... the best tacklers are always the guys out of college because they must still practice that there.

Also we hardly ever practice with full pads and then we wonder why our o-line can't block and gets pushed around.

You play like you practice. Practice soft then you play soft.

Our O line practices against our D line.

That explains a lot, right there.

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