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Wide Receiver Screen Still In Falcons' Game Plan


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Wide receiver screen still in Falcons' game plan

By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The last time the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers met back in November, there was plenty of talk about how ineffective the Falcons were with their wide receiver screens.

The Panthers appeared to know exactly when those screens were coming and shut them down immediately. There was one screen when Julio Jones essentially got tackled by Panthers cornerback Josh Norman even before he caught the ball. Penalty or not, Norman had a read on the play.

The Falcons still won the game 19-17. But a few days after that game, Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter declined to comment on why those screens hadn't been effective. And the screens suddenly vanished from the playbook. But receiver Roddy White would be the first to say they weren't eliminated.

"We're still going to throw our screens; we just have to find ways to get to them," White said. "We've got to find different ways to get to them. We get so many explosive plays off of the screen game.

"We realize what (Carolina) was trying to do. They were trying to hug on and hold onto the receivers at the line of scrimmage. We've done some things to kind of fix that so we can push these guys a little bit more and get our guys on their guys a little bit quicker. I felt like the last game, we didn't get to the guys that we had to block on the screens quick enough, so we've been working on that this whole week. We're going to fix our situations."

Jones, of course, is the primary threat in the screen game and has 553 yards after the catch this season, which is eighth best in the NFL. Although he's battling an oblique injury, he said he feels better than he did last week, when when he played 48 snaps against the Saints. So it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Falcons turn to Jones for a screen play or two.

"You have to have them to slow the pass rush down," Jones said of the screen. "Early on, we were battling injuries on our offensive line. We had to get those guys' chemistry together. Those guys, their chemistry is together now, man. They're doing a great job for us. The last couple of games, they've been doing a **** of a job protecting Matt (Ryan).

"But, like I said, it just slows down the pass rush. When those guys keep flying off the ball and flying off the ball, we hit them with a screen and it will slow them down."

Harry Douglas talked about learning from what happened with the screens against the Panthers the first time around.

"We just have to get on the defenders faster and have our spacing a little better so we can at least get them started," Douglas said. "They a great job last time of not allowing us to get to them and block them the way we wanted to do.

"Of course screens are a big part of what we do. And we have to hit them, especially to slow pass rushers down."

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I just hope they don't overuse it. It might work once or twice a game but we become real one dimensional and the defense shuts it down quick when they see it coming. Also, Julio is a BEAST don't get me wrong but I hope we don't WR screen to him. Seems like Julio is way better blocking for the WR screen than actually being the target on the play. Whenever Julio blocks on the play and we toss it to Douglas or Hester we usually see more success that way.

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I don't like it, maybe once or twice a game to Hester, even the one he fumbled on actually worked, but it's overused & real predictable & it looks like a turnover waiting to happen almost every time it's ran. I'd like to see them fake it catch the defense slipping, but this is the week you must do the things that work. I hate it when they get cute, so many times they can line up & beat their man on any given play, but they run plays that just has too much going on, I feel like on offense our best guys can beat their best guys.

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No Huddle, No Huddle, No Huddle. Do the Hustle...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Rumchata... and we got shrimp, crab cakes and fluke... or for you folk of the southern persuasion ... flounder.

With some ravioli and a fresh batch of sauce.

Tailgating all weekend. Family and Friends and still got a chance at the playoffs....

GooooooooooooooooooooooooooooFalcons go....

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Had Harry Douglas threw a worthwhile block on the attempted screen to Julio that one would've made it 3/3 on success

I remember that particular play well; it would probably had been a big gainer to Julio had HD not whiffed on the block. It is ironic because a little earlier in the game, HD made a big gain on a WR screen when Julio threw a great block that sprung Harry.

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Guest Negatorris

I remember that particular play well; it would probably had been a big gainer to Julio had HD not whiffed on the block. It is ironic because a little earlier in the game, HD made a big gain on a WR screen when Julio threw a great block that sprung Harry.

Unlike Roddy and Julio, Harry is just too small. He is not as physical as those twords are...

Although I'd be willing to bet Quizz would make that block.

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Falcons boosted by Julio Jones' return to practice

By CHARLES ODUM (AP Sports Writer) December 26, 2014 2:51 PM AP - Sports

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- Julio Jones is a game-changing wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons - even when he's less than full speed.

That's why it was so important for the team's playoff hopes that Jones, recovering from a hip injury, returned to practice Friday. The Falcons will need their top offensive threat when the NFC South title is on the line Sunday against the Carolina Panthers.

Despite missing one game with the injury two weeks ago, Jones leads the NFC with 100 catches and 1,535 yards receiving. He had seven catches for 107 yards in last week's win at New Orleans, even though he continues to battle the injury.

''I'm not there yet, I can tell you that,'' Jones said Friday when asked if he was close to 100 percent.

Quarterback Matt Ryan said Jones impressed his teammates by playing through the injury last week.

''Everybody in this locker room knows how much this means to him and how competitive of a guy he is and how tough of a player he is,'' Ryan said. ''I think guys really respect him for that.''

The Falcons may be without starting running back Steven Jackson (quadriceps) against the Panthers. Jackson's injury makes Jones' status especially important.

''Julio is an integral part to our offense and our football team,'' coach Mike Smith said Friday. ''He's very explosive. He creates explosive plays and he creates mismatches for defenses. It's going to be very important for us to create some explosive plays in the game this week.''

Jones said he plans to play Sunday, though he was designated as questionable instead of probable on Friday's injury report.

''It's a mindset,'' Jones said. ''I know I've got to be out there for my teammates and if I tell those guys upstairs and Mike Smith that I'm ready to go, then I'm ready to go and I'm going to give it my all.''

Jones is enjoying a strong finish to the regular season. He has three straight games with at least 100 yards. He had 10 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown in a home win over Arizona on Nov. 30. Jones followed that with 11 catches for a franchise-record 259 yards and a touchdown at Green Bay on Dec. 8. He missed the loss to Pittsburgh on Dec. 14.

''Julio has had an unbelievable year,'' Ryan said. ''The production that he's showed has been impressive. Even for a teammate to step back and look at it, he's been incredibly impressive.''

Jones had 79 receptions for 1,198 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, his second season. He was leading the NFL in catches when his 2013 season ended with a broken bone in his right foot in a Week 5 loss to the Jets. He broke the same bone during his college career at Alabama.

Jones earned his second Pro Bowl berth this year. His play has been a rare positive in a mostly disappointing season for the Falcons (6-9).

A win Sunday would give Atlanta a home playoff game the following week.

''The thing I like about this game is the opportunity,'' Jones said.

Receivers Roddy White (ankle) and Harry Douglas (foot) are listed as probable.

The bigger injury question appears to be Jackson, whose status is questionable. He left last week's win at New Orleans with the quadriceps injury.

Jackson was on the practice field but did not have a helmet in the portion of Friday's practice that was open to reporters. Smith said all the players on the injury report were ''participating in practice at some level.''

NOTES: There was a light-hearted end to the practice. Players cheered and Smith served as the referee as the Falcons' training staff beat the equipment staff in an annual flag football game. Smith cautioned the flag football teams against tackling because ''We're going to need you on Sunday.'' ... PK Matt Bryant (sick) missed practice and is listed as probable. CB Josh Wilson (hamstring) is questionable.


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