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Falcons Hope To Sustain Defensive Intensity


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http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/8407/falcons-hope-to-sustain-defensive-intensity

Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan sent a subtle but stern message to this defense last week when he said no defender was playing at a high level.

"That was true," defensive tackle Corey Peters said. "The Saints game, we didn’t play very well on defense. We had a complete system failure in Cincinnati. ... But Tampa Bay may have been the best game that we’ve played as a team since I’ve been a Falcon."

The defense responded with four turnovers, three sacks, six tackles for losses and seven quarterback hits in a 56-14 win against Tampa Bay.

We all know what the offense is capable of when Matt Ryan gets proper protection and has a healthy set of receivers. Devin Hester obviously makes the Falcons elite on special teams by his lonesome.

The defense doesn’t have to be spectacular, but it needs to be more consistent moving forward. The last game was a good start -- literally and figuratively.

A big part of the reason why the Falcons were able to apply much-needed pressure against the Buccaneers was because they set the tone early by stopping the run. On Tampa Bay’s very first offensive play, Nolan loaded up the box with William Moore flying down from his strong safety spot. At the snap, linebacker Joplo Bartu shot the gap and caused Bucs running back Bobby Rainey to alter his path. Defensive end Tyson Jackson absorbed a double team while nose tackle Paul Soliai won his one-on-one matchup and forced Rainey to make another sudden cut. The result was linebacker Paul Worrilow getting a free run up the middle to smash Rainey for just a 1-yard gain.

From there, everything just all seemed to click for a defense that was a sieve through the first two games.

So can the Falcons sustain their defensive intensity?

"It’s about energy, man, and we fed off the offense: The offense was moving the ball, and we were creating turnovers," cornerback Desmond Trufant said. "If we do that every week, we can blow teams out every week."

Nolan was rather vanilla with his defensive looks through the first two games. He was able to use different line combinations and overload the line of scrimmage in the last game, knowing the Buccaneers would have to pass the ball plenty after falling so far behind. Utilizing Peters and Malliciah Goodman more often as pass-rushers was a part of the revamped effort.

It would make sense for Nolan to continue to bring the pressure Sunday in Minnesota against rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, especially with running back Adrian Peterson out of the Vikings' lineup.

No matter how Nolan approaches the game, his players have to proceed with the same defensive intensity.

"The sky’s the limit with this defense," said safety Kemal Ishmael, who had a 23-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Buccaneers. "We have so much talent on this defense. ... It’s crazy how much talent we have. We just have to go out there and make the plays."

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If the Falcons can just be average on defense they can win the division and win a few playoff games so long as Matt Ryan gets protected

I think we have the capacity to be better than average in some areas. Until we become solid on both sides, I think the D will always be a question mark.

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I'm not sold yet. We played a helluva game Thursday but you absolutely cannot ignore the home field advantage and terrible O-line and QB play from Tampa making us look better. I'm not being a debbie downer and we did play very well but I will need another 3 games or so to really get a good idea of how good/bad the defensive unit really is.

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I'm not sold yet. We played a helluva game Thursday but you absolutely cannot ignore the home field advantage and terrible O-line and QB play from Tampa making us look better. I'm not being a debbie downer and we did play very well but I will need another 3 games or so to really get a good idea of how good/bad the defensive unit really is.

Exactly.. We all Know Tampa is Bad.. If we can dominate an average to good team...Then I'll be sold

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I'm not sold yet. We played a helluva game Thursday but you absolutely cannot ignore the home field advantage and terrible O-line and QB play from Tampa making us look better. I'm not being a debbie downer and we did play very well but I will need another 3 games or so to really get a good idea of how good/bad the defensive unit really is.

I agree. Time will tell...

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I'm thinking that Peters and Hageman will require consistent double-teaming very soon. Soliai may also. Nolan needs to figure out who can benefit from that (my hopes are Osi or Mass outside or Shembo inside). If those guys can do only that, their contribution won't be recognized in stats but by the increased performance of others.

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Hageman becoming something, and sending some A gap blitzes will mean a lot to this defense. If Soliai and any DE require double teams, then the A gap blitz should be destructive.

It all comes down to pressure. If we get it rushing 6 or less, I like our chances. If we don't, it's a long season.

A big reason we held Tampa to so few rushing yards, is we got them off the field on 3rd down. If they only get the chance to run 3 plays, they're not going to get much against you. If you keep letting them convert 3rd and 6, then they're going to eventually break runs and figure out your D.

3rd down D (and pressure) are the keys to keeping them from seeing all your tricks on D.

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Spoon picked the wrong year to get hurt **dang**

with Corey Peters back, Soliai and Jackson holding up on double teams, Babs still being Babs, a healthy Spoon with an improving Worrilow & Shembo would have this defense all kinds of right

I try not to think about how good Spoon woulda been with those big boys up front

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Nolan was rather vanilla with his defensive looks through the first two games. He was able to use different line combinations and overload the line of scrimmage in the last game, knowing the Buccaneers would have to pass the ball plenty after falling so far behind. Utilizing Peters and Malliciah Goodman more often as pass-rushers was a part of the revamped effort.

So we did change the scheme in that game! Interesting! Most fan didn't think that we did.
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Everybody keeps saying "we knew Tampa was bad" but no one knew they were 56-0 after 3 quarters bad.

Yea I mean those are Madden/NCAA type numbers. UGA put 66 up on Troy and I thought the TB game looked about like that. That shouldn't happen in the NFL. When it does the winning team usually is better than "mediocre"
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