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Falcons Team Report


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Haven't seen one of these in a while. I always enjoyed reading them.


Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn appears to be taking a measured, even keel approach to things after he suffered his first defeat in the NFL.

The former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator has the Falcons off to a surprising 5-1 start. The team was just 10-22 over the previous two seasons, which led to the dismissal of Mike Smith, the winningest coach in franchise history.

Quinn has done it with a rejuvenated offense and some timely turnovers on the defensive side of the ball. But after a 31-21 loss to the New Orleans Saints in Week 6, he has the team's full attention again.

"There are a number of things for us all to go through," Quinn said. "Also, as coaches, we found some of the things that we do well, and some of the things that we want to improve on."

Quinn believes that the mini-bye, after playing a Thursday night game, has helped out receiver Julio Jones, who has been playing with nagging toe and hamstring injuries.

"I think just from the end of last week, he was doing really good," Quinn said. "He had no setbacks at all in the game. From here and moving forward, he's doing great."

Quinn and staff focused on the pass rush, eliminating turnovers on offense and creating turnovers on defense over the brief break.

"One, for the pass rush, it really comes right down to our technique," Quinn said. "It's definitely an area that I feel like we can improve upon. We're going to work really hard to do that.

The team lost three of five fumbles against the Saints and had three turnovers against the Washington Redskins.

"From the turnovers, we totally live by the ball," Quinn said. "For us to have a game where we're minus-three makes it really difficult to win. We know the importance of it. We didn't create any defensively, so I believe that was the first game where we didn't have a takeaway in. On both sides, there are lots of areas to improve."

Quinn, who came up through the coaching ranks as a defensive line coach, is particularly troubled by the team's lack of pass rush. The Falcons have just seven sacks and are on pace for 19. Quinn and defensive line coach Bryan Cox looked at all of the rushes over the break.

"In terms of the finish, that's usually what it comes down to as pass rushers," Quinn said. "We'll have some four-man rush, or some five-man rush, but we went back through all of them and looked at pressures, rushes, which fronts are better for us, which ways we can convert better. The good news is there's a lot for us to improve on, and I can't wait to see that happen."

Quinn may have to consider sending some blitzes in order to get some pressure on the opposition's quarterback.

"I think it's always an option, but as we're getting together, in terms of how we want to play our style it's certainly a part of it, but we'll always do what's best in terms of how we want to play," Quinn said.

Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux shared his thoughts on the pass rush.

"We just have to get back in the rhythm," Babineaux said. "Continue to work on the small things, the detailed things. All of the things that we do in practice and transition them to the game. If we just continue to work on them, I think we'll be all right."

After six games, the Falcons' pass rushing efficiency is down from last season.

In 2014, the Falcons harassed the quarterback - either with a sack, hit or hurry - on 249 of 635 passing downs for a pass rushing efficiency of 39.2 percent. This season, the Falcons have harassed the quarterback on 72 of 234 passing downs for a pass rush efficiency of 30.7 percent.

Last season, the Falcons finished with just 22 sacks, which tied for 30th in the league with Oakland. In 2015, the Falcons have seven sacks, which is tied for 30th with Miami and New York Giants. They are on pace for 18.6 sacks. Denver leads the league with 26 sacks.

Quinn knows those numbers must improve.

The Falcons drafted defensive end Vic Beasley with the eighth overall pick in the draft. They signed linebacker O'Brien Schofield and defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn as free agents. Along, with defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, they have been the Falcons' main rushers.

Beasley and Clayborn have affected the quarterback on 15 plays and Schofield on 12 plays. Babineaux has two hits and six hurries for eight plays on the quarterback.

"We have to take it up a notch in the trenches because we have so much talent on the front line," Beasley said. "We just have to go harder."

SERIES HISTORY: 14th regular-season meeting. Titans lead series, 7-6. The Falcons won the last meeting 23-17 on Nov. 20, 2011.


Rookie defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who has been steadily improving, has earned some more playing time in the defensive line rotation.

"I think it's the quickness that you really see from Grady," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said this week. "We certainly need to get him some more turns. He's improving week after week."

Jarrett played 13 of 72 snaps (18 percent) against the New Orleans Saints in Week 6. He was disruptive and had a tackle.

"I just want to contribute," Jarrett said. "Whenever they call my number, I'm going to try to be ready. I definitely plan to show them that I can play so they can have more trust in me and put me out on the field. That's just kind of where I'm at in this process. I'm going to go with the flow and keep working."

Jarrett, who was taken in the fifth round of the draft out of Clemson, has played 95 snaps and has one quarterback hit and one hurry. Quinn has been impressed with his development.

"No. 1, he came in in great shape and he had a really good knowledge of the defense and he just won't back down as a competitor," Quinn said. "He's got great ... All of the things that you want in terms of trying to improve and trying to get better. He does all of that. I think every time that he plays, he's just going to keep getting better."

Jarrett has been soaking up the teachings of defensive line coach Bryan Cox.

"Just playing my game and adapting to what my coaches are teaching me," Jarrett said. "I'm adjusting to the speed of the game on this level. I feel like the more I play, the better results I get. I'm just getting more comfortable."

The Titans have given up 20 sacks and are set to start two rookies against the Falcons.

Andy Gallik, a sixth-round pick, replaced center Brian Schwenke (dislocated ankle) against Miami and right tackle Jeremiah Poutasi, who gave up three sacks over 21 snaps against the Dolphins, are set to start.

Falcons linebacker/defensive end O'Brien Schofield will face Poutasi. Gallik will contend with quick defensive tackles Adrian Clayborn and Jonathan Babineaux when the Falcons are in their nickel package. Gallik then faces a very different challenge against base defense tackles Ra'Shede Hageman and Paul Soliai.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn isn't getting concerned about the Carolina Panthers being 5-0 and in first place in the NFC South.

"We're not going to concern ourselves too much about the opponents," Quinn said. "Our division really comes down to us, and the attitude and style that we play. That'll kind of be a constant theme with me. We're not going to allow other teams to dictate how we play, and what we think. I love that message about how we play and our own style. We'll leave it right there."

Left tackle Jake Matthews is off to a solid start in his second season.

"You know, when we went through the game, it was one of the best games that Jake's played this year, in terms of the quickness and movement," Quinn said of the Saints game in Week 6. "The steps that he's taken each week, you really see the improvement happening. For him, I thought it was a really good outing."

BY THE NUMBERS: 78.8 - The Falcons are giving up 78.8 rushing yards per game, which leads the NFL for the lowest yield.

"Well the only negative part is all players at this time of year are dealing with some type of injury, so for us to get back, and be as healthy as we are, I'm pleased about that." Falcons coach Dan Quinn on the health of the team.


The Titans have made good use of their tight ends as Delanie Walker leads the team in receptions with 22 for 244 yards and one touchdowns. Tight end Anthony Fasano also has nine catches for 129 yards and a touchdown.

In their last outing, the Falcons struggled to cover New Orleans tight end Ben Watson, who had 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.

The Falcons started rookie free safety Robenson Therezie in his first game. He appeared lost at times.

They are set to return to Ricardo Allen as the free safety against the Titans.


LB Justin Durant (elbow) worked with the trainers on Monday. He returned to practice on Wednesday and was limited. He has a brace on his left elbow.

C Mike Person (sprain ankle) worked with the trainers on Monday. He returned to practice on Wednesday and was limited.

WR Roddy White (foot) was limited in practice on Wednesday.

WR/PR/KR Eric Weems (knee) was limited in practice on Wednesday.

SS William Moore (hand) fully practiced.

WR Leonard Hankerson (ribs/hamstring) was limited in practice.

WR Philip Wheeler, who has played with the Colts, Raiders and Dolphins, was signed on Tuesday. He was in camp with the 49ers.


The Falcons have been consistently winning the time of possession battle, but need to clean up the turnovers that plagued their loss to New Orleans in Week 6. The Titans enter with the league's 28th-ranked run defense and will see a heavy dose of Devonta Freeman as Atlanta looks to establish the ground game on the road and open up play-action for QB Matt Ryan. Tennessee owns the league's top-ranked pass defense, but that's primarily from playing behind consistently and Ryan won't hesitate to test the secondary with WR Julio Jones close to full strength for the first time in weeks.

The Titans won't know until late in the week weather rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota's sprained knee will be strong enough to allow him to play. If not, backup Zach Mettenberger will make his first start of the season. Either quarterback will need support from the ground game, which lacks consistency and a home-run threat. With Tennessee set to start a pair of rookies along the offensive line, the Falcons should be able to control the line of scrimmage and work on executing on the pass rushing tweaks made over the extended break since their Thursday night loss in Week 6.


Titans OLB Derrick Morgan, who the Falcons tried to sign as a free agent, vs. Falcons OT Jake Matthews, who has adapted well to the new scheme.

Morgan leads the Titans with 4.5 sacks and has been an anchor for the front seven of the defense. He has 7.5 sacks over his past eight games. Matthews has given up one sack, one quarterback hit and eight hurries over 438 snaps, according to profootballfocus.com.

Titans TE Delanie Walker, who leads the team with 22 receptions, vs. Falcons FS Ricardo Allen, who was benched for one game.

Walker has been Mariota's security blanket. He runs great routes and has solid hands. He's the third rated tight end behind New England's Rob Gronkowksi and Cincinnati's Tyler Eifert, by profootballfocus.com. Robenson Therezie struggled in coverage against the Saints and the Falcons are going back to Ricardo Allen, who opened the season as the starter. Allen has been slowed by a knee injury and has had a rash of missed tackles.

Titans WR Kendall Wright, who is averaging 13.8 yards per catch, vs. Falcons CB Desmond Trufant, who stays on the left side of the field.

Wright had four catches for 34 yards in the loss to Miami, and has a 52-yard touchdown grab. Trufant has been locking down his side of the field for the Falcons. He has been targeted 20 times and allowed nine receptions and opposing QBs have a 69.2 rating when throwing his way, according to profootballfocus.com.

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Thanks for posting. Wonder about Byran Cox and his job security sometimes. D line is not getting the job done in terms of pass rush.

I don't think so, look at the improvement against the run.

We didn't bring in a proven pass rusher during the offseason and Vic Beasley is still learning how to play in the NFL.

Not sure how you can pin that on Cox he is working with the hand he was dealt.

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