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Falcons' Defense Braces For Vikings' Bridgewater


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Lock n Load time........

LOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - The Falcons' defense was handed a new challenge on Monday as players returned from their long weekend: How to contain Teddy Bridgewater.

Bridgewater, the rookie quarterback from Louisville, will make his first start for Minnesota on Sunday against Atlanta.

Atlanta recorded its first three sacks of the season and an interception return for a touchdown in its impressive 56-14 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

No one on the defense was talking about the Buccaneers on Monday. Instead, Bridgewater was the popular topic.

Linebacker Paul Worrilow said the defense will have to play with discipline to keep Bridgewater, a threat as a runner and passer, in the pocket.

''They're going to base their offense off of what he can do well, which is obviously run and move around,'' Worrilow said. ''That's going to be something we're going to have to prepare for.''

Bridgewater is untested as a starter in the NFL, but his college resume earned him respect from the Falcons.

''Teddy is a good player,'' said Falcons rookie linebacker Prince Shembo. ''We were in the same draft class and I have a lot of good friends that know him and played with him. He's real consistent, he's got a strong arm and he's smart, real smart.''

Bridgewater made his debut in Sunday's 20-9 loss to the Saints after starter Matt Cassel broke his left foot.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said his game plan for the Vikings changed with Cassel's injury.

''We've got a challenge in my mind with an athletic quarterback to be able to keep him in the pocket,'' Smith said after Monday's practice.

''He is very athletic. ... He was able to make some plays with his feet. That's another dynamic. ... I think you'll see they want to put the ball in his hands and give him some run-pass options. That's one of his strengths, the ability to extend plays, and he did a great job as a college quarterback extending plays. We'll have to do some different things in preparing for him, in regards to pass rush and pass-rush lanes.''

Atlanta's pass rush finally emerged against the Buccaneers. Jonathan Massaquoi, Stansly Maponga and Corey Peters recorded Atlanta's first sacks of the season in the win over Tampa Bay.

''Once one person starts off with a sack, it's like a virus,'' said Massaquoi. ''It's contagious. Everybody wants to get a sack. That's the beauty of this game of football. One person's aspirations can motivate another.''

Safety Kemal Ishmael gave the defense another big play when he returned his first career interception 23 yards for a touchdown.

''I think the defense performed well,'' Massaquoi said. ''We executed well in a lot of fields and we still have a lot of things we need to clean up on.

''Guys ran around. We played physical. We've just got to get ready for Minnesota. That was last week.''

Bridgewater is this week's test. He completed 12 of 20 passes for 150 yards and ran for 27 yards as he led two field-goal drives against the Saints.

''He has an arm; he can get it out there,'' Massaquoi said. ''He has his legs as weapons. As long as we contain the quarterback and get after him we should have no problems.''

NOTES: Smith said he will provide an injury report on Wednesday regarding WR Roddy White (hamstring), WR Harry Douglas (foot), RB Antone Smith and WR Devin Hester, who did not participate in the practice. White did not play against Tampa Bay.

http://www.rtsports.com/football-news/1200135226

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Falcons coach Mike Smith said his game plan for the Vikings changed with Cassel's injury.

''We've got a challenge in my mind with an athletic quarterback to be able to keep him in the pocket,'' Smith said after Monday's practice.

''He is very athletic. ... He was able to make some plays with his feet. That's another dynamic. ... I think you'll see they want to put the ball in his hands and give him some run-pass options. That's one of his strengths, the ability to extend plays, and he did a great job as a college quarterback extending plays. We'll have to do some different things in preparing for him, in regards to pass rush and pass-rush lanes.''

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They looked pretty good from what I've seen. I don't know from a statistical standpoint though.

Both Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr have been getting good pressure.

Griffen so far has 2 sacks while Barr has one sack which came against Brees.

I kinda figured he would have em playing good. Crazy to think Petrino had em around here and we didn't even give em a shot at the coaching job. Hue Jackson too

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I kinda figured he would have em playing good. Crazy to think Petrino had em around here and we didn't even give em a shot at the coaching job. Hue Jackson too

Yeah, how Petrino left really pissed Blank off.

I guess he just decided to wash his hands with the entire staff outside of McKay.

I remember Zimmer having some not so kind words about Petrino in an interview.

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I think Teddy is the type of quarterback that gives us problems. Smart, agile, big arm guys have been killers, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson types kill us.

He has the potential to be just like them if he can find that balance between passing and running when necessary. I say our defense has to apply pressure quickly but more importantly get home for a sack or pressure on the QB. He can't be allowed to move around and buy time outside the pocket. Pressure needs to come suddenly and affect the QB, not just get blocked and give him time.

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Good to see how we bounce back on the road playing outdoors after the debacle in Cincy.

I'd be rooting Teddy on if he wasn't playing us, lol

Teddy's pretty good, he could do very well without being pressured consistently, which I have no reason to believe he will be.

Ryan isn't the same QB on the road, could be a ST/TO game. Good game most likey, I predict two scores or less...either way

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Good to see how we bounce back on the road playing outdoors after the debacle in Cincy.

I'd be rooting Teddy on if he wasn't playing us, lol

Teddy's pretty good, he could do very well without being pressured consistently, which I have no reason to believe he will be.

Ryan isn't the same QB on the road, could be a ST/TO game. Good game most likey, I predict two scores or less...either way

I think most offense struggle on the road especially Dome teams going outdoors. I think the Vikes could be a good test to see if we are closer to the Saints/Bucs or the Bengals. A struggle vs them would have me worried

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I think most offense struggle on the road especially Dome teams going outdoors. I think the Vikes could be a good test to see if we are closer to the Saints/Bucs or the Bengals. A struggle vs them would have me worried

Exactly, we lose some speed, running the ball and getting off the field on 3rd downs is how to win on the road on grass? for a dome team...oh, and score more points, lol

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Till he goes Geno Smith mode. I'm curious to see how many bum QBs have had career days once they played us since 08. Seem like we always get torched by a bum

Any QB on an NFL roster can light it up if they get comfortable in the pocket, Falcons' D have a history of doing that.

I have a bad feeling Nolan is gonna try to confuse the rook with coverage...hope it works

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I've seen a few people talk about how we play on grass, yet Cincinnati has field turf and so does Minnesota. Neither being outside nor the playing surface have anything to do with our road struggles; it's just hard to win on the road for ANY team

You're mistaken friend

Dome teams have appeared in 95 playoff games over the years. And we're including all current dome teams, along with the old Houston Oilers, who played in the Astrodome, and the Seahawks when they played in the Kingdome.

Dome teams are 21-14 (.600) at home in the postseason. This record indicates that domes hold no advantage over any other home arena.

Dome teams are just 15-45 (.250) on the road in the postseason. This record indicates that dome teams have a disadvantage compared with other road teams.

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