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Falcons Need To Pick Up The Pressure Versus Ben Roethlisberger


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Falcons need to pick up the pressure versus Ben Roethlisberger

By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Two games ago, the Atlanta Falcons looked like a totally different defense, bringing intense pressure from every direction toward Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton and creating turnovers in a surprising 29-18 victory.

Then Monday night at Green Bay, the defense of old showed up in a 43-37 defeat. Of course, it was a much different challenge facing one of the league's best in Aaron Rodgers. Regardless, the Falcons were pretty much passive and missed several opportunities to get Rodgers to the ground. Outside linebacker/defensive end Kroy Biermann had the team's lone sack early in the game as Rodgers threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns.

[+] Enlargenfl_u_been1_cr_300x200.jpg
Jason Bridge/USA TODAY SportsBen Roethlisberger is among the best when it comes to escaping pressure and extending plays.

Now the Falcons have another challenge from an elite quarterback with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers coming to the Georgia Dome on Sunday. Everyone knows the Falcons have problems generating pressure with a four-man rush because they simply don't have a consistent pass-rusher. So it will be interesting to see if defensive coordinator Mike Nolan reverts back to the same type of aggressive approach he had against the Cardinals.

Safety Dwight Lowery was a big part of that game plan as a blitzer.

"Every week, teams present different challenges," Lowery said. "Just because you're 'sitting back' doesn't mean you can't play aggressively. When you play like that, when you see it, you just have to go. That's how you can stay playing aggressive when you're playing softer coverage. You can't mess around.

"It's really the same thing when you blitz. You just can get more downhill better or faster. The mentality can't change. But every opponent is going to present something different, so you have to be able to adjust. It just should never slow you down, as far as your aggressiveness goes."

Nolan actually sent Lowery on a blitz on the game's first series versus the Packers, but Lowery immediately was picked up by Packers running back Eddie Lacy. After that, the aggression appeared to fizzle against one of the league's best quarterbacks versus the blitz.

The challenge will be different against Roethlisberger, who is second in the NFL with 4,055 passing yards. He's thrown 29 touchdowns with eight interceptions. Roethlisberger threw for a NFL season-high 522 yards against the Colts and now he'll face the league's worst pass defense, with the Falcons allowing 287.8 passing yards per game and 8.0 passing yards per play.

"He's similar to Rodgers as far as his ability to escape and extending plays," Lowery said of Roethlisberger. "He has more strength, where Rodgers is more elusive. But Roethlisberger presents the same type of problems that if the play breaks down. They just have different personnel with what they want to do on offense."

Roethlisberger has the league's second-leading receiver in Antonio Brown and the ideal target out of the backfield in running back Le'Veon Bell. Several teams have been able to pressure Roethlisberger, including the NFC's South Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who sacked him five times in surprising 27-24 win.

Cornerback Desmond Trufant talked about having an aggressive approach toward getting after Roethlisberger.

"When there's pressure, that makes it easier on everybody," Trufant said. "But we've got to cover well, even if it's not a blitz. If we cover well, we can get those coverage sacks. If everybody just does their job, does their part with a relentless effort, we're going to be all right."

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been said that about manning up lol. They should go after suh next year. If that doesn't help the line, there is no hope

Replace Cox with a line coach who has experience (ala Tice), pay Suh the moon + whatever else he wants, sign Justin Houston, draft Shane Ray and profit $$$$$$

oh and send Nolan to China to become a video game gold farmer

(just thinking about that defense gives me the shibby dibbys)

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Replace Cox with a line coach who has experience (ala Tice), pay Suh the moon + whatever else he wants, sign Justin Houston, draft Shane Ray and profit $$$$$$

oh and send Nolan to China to become a video game gold farmer

(just thinking about that defense gives me the shibby dibbys)

that would be sweet. And will make the team alot more watchable for at least the next 5 years
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growing up watching old school Falcons and UGA, all I had to look forward to was good defense and a power run game. I'd love to see the Falcons use that while also enjoying MR's eliteness.

I started watching football when I was about 13. I'm a hurricane and falcons fan so I know a little bit about that from my younger days as well lol. I also watched Denver and cheered for them until they played Atlanta in the Super Bowl
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I think we just need to man up on defense and send Worrilow/Lowery/Moore in on as many delay / norm blitzes as possible

Worrilow appears to be much better at blitzing than he is in coverage, and he's one of the few Falcons who can actually bring down the QB when he gets there. Therefore, play to his strength and blitz him more, and allow one of the Safeties to be responsible for the middle of the field in pass coverage when Worrilow blitzes. Lowery and Moore appear to be decent blitzers. However, Lowery and Moore should not blitz on the same play, as Nolan has done on occasion this season.

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Guest Negatorris

Replace Cox with a line coach who has experience (ala Tice), pay Suh the moon + whatever else he wants, sign Justin Houston, draft Shane Ray and profit $$$$$$

oh and send Nolan to China to become a video game gold farmer

(just thinking about that defense gives me the shibby dibbys)

Too bad it will never be that easy. Suh wants to go to a big name city, Houston will be given a big contract by KC (Hali will probably get cut), and we will not be in position to draft Ray.

Getting Brandon Graham, Jason Worilds, or Hughes is more realistic...and drafting Beasley or Gregory. Still that wouldnt be bad at all.

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Worrilow appears to be much better at blitzing than he is in coverage, and he's one of the few Falcons who can actually bring down the QB when he gets there. Therefore, play to his strength and blitz him more, and allow one of the Safeties to be responsible for the middle of the field in pass coverage when Worrilow blitzes. Lowery and Moore appear to be decent blitzers. However, Lowery and Moore should not blitz on the same play, as Nolan has done on occasion this season.

I didn't know why they didn't do this with Lofton they used to sit him down in the middle of the field on 3rd down and he used to get abused.I'm seeing much the same with Worrilow.Agreed I'd be sending Worrilow often and bringing 1 of the safeties down to plug the hole.

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Pressure on Big Ben HHHHhmmmmmm.

How bout we start by plugging holes against the run and go from there.

Honestly after watching the other night I think we're in big trouble.

Pitts defense will be alot better than GB so theres no way Labeau lets Julio run riot like the GB secondary did.

I take it you haven't watched any Steelers games this year? Pitts secondary is horrid. I expect Matt to throw for well over 400 yards.

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