Falcons: 10 things we learned from the Lions game

Falcons QB Matt Ryan had a good showing against Detroit. (Robin Buckson/ The Detroit News).

Falcons QB Matt Ryan had a good showing against Detroit. (Robin Buckson/ The Detroit News).

THE BRANCH – Here are 10 things we learned during the Falcons’ shocking 27-26 loss to the Detroit Lions.

1. The Falcons front-seven — with two new linebackers and a new nose tackle — has to improve against the run. Perhaps they are just working out the kinks and getting used to each other.

Matt Ryan on the cover of current issue of Atlanta Magazine.

Matt Ryan on the cover of current issue of Atlanta Magazine. (Ledbetter/AJC)

2. What was most impressive about rookie cornerback Chris Owens was how physical he was when he came up in run support.

3. Quarterback Matt Ryan and tight end Tony Gonzalez are going to be a force on third down.

4. Running back Michael “The Burner” Turner’s legs looked pretty fresh on that 40-yard touchdown run.

5. Defensive tackle Thomas Johnson, a free agent signee, might be a keeper. His sack on third down to force the Lions to attempt a field goal on their opening drive was a big-time play.

6. Right guard Harvey Dahl is still a beast. He worked out poor rookie Sammie Lee Hill in those first two series. Hill is trying to make the jump from SIAC school Stillman. (Morehouse and Clark Atlanta’s conference.)

7. Punter Michael “The Franchise” Koenen is not in mid-season form. His first punt went 24 yards.

8. Linebacker Tony Gilbert, who was inactive all 16 games last season, still knows what to do with an interception.

Ford Field in Detroit.

Ford Field in Detroit. (Ledbetter/AJC)

9. Thomas Brown was a little rusty on kickoff returns. He seemed to be running into tacklers.

10. Defensive end Jamaal Anderson needs to stay on his feet to stop getting so easily taken out of plays.

119 comments Add your comment

YUP!!

August 17th, 2009
11:15 am

Defense needs to get better push up the middle. 100% sure coach Smith will be working on correcting the problems this week.

GO FALCONS!!!!

H. Cape Canaveral Copperbest

August 17th, 2009
11:23 am

I’m confused, did we learn seven things, or ten things.

Besides, it’s just the first preseason game. Back when Indy was going 14-2 and 13-3 every year they usually lost all four preseason games. Until the league wises up and turns the last two preseason games into regular season games, none of this matters. An 18-game regular season would be som much better.

VICK SUPPORTER

August 17th, 2009
11:36 am

ARTHUR BLANKS WILL SUFFER FOR ABANDONING VICK!

chc4

August 17th, 2009
11:39 am

Had to shake my head when Anderson tried to finesse the Detroit FB with a spin move instead of running him over. The dude is soft. He has the wrong mentality. If it hasn’t changed by now you gotta wonder if it’s a lost cause.

Justafan

August 17th, 2009
11:39 am

You don’t play your best hand in practice. All kids got to play…thats good. Coach Smith and Falcons will show up when its time.

VICK SUPPORTER

August 17th, 2009
11:39 am

PHILLY IS MY TEAM NOW. BLANKS SHULD HAVE NEVER TURNED HIS BACK ON VICK. HE WILL REAP WHAT HE HAS SOWN THIS YEAR WIN THE EAGLES WIN IT ALL!!
HAHAHAHA

cajdawg

August 17th, 2009
11:41 am

Trey Lewis played well.

ATL in FLA

August 17th, 2009
11:45 am

Is it just me or did the whole left side of the defence look suspect. We kept getting gashed in the run on the left side. Peterson looked kinda slow chasing Ole’ Cullpepper. Jamal >.< no comment… Its like playing tennis and having no backhand, there gonna keep attacking the left…

gafan1

August 17th, 2009
11:50 am

Our defense did struggle their first time through, but so did the offence. I think both looked better on their second times on the feild. Owens did look like a playmaker, fast and physical. And what was up with Elam missing an extra point?

Gatorzone

August 17th, 2009
12:01 pm

Looking at the vent, you would think this was the 8th game of the season. It is just PRE-season. Vanilla defense, not showing anything. Offense looked great. Defense had energy, and when packages are installed, more pressure will come on the line. Owens will be a player. On the flip side, Stafford looked great.

Mac

August 17th, 2009
12:03 pm

Not worried.

H. Cape Canaveral Copperbest

August 17th, 2009
12:04 pm

Thanks for the correction, D-Led.

I gotta agree with Gatorzone on this one. Stafford looked very good, and should improve with time. The Falcons defense was nothing special, but again the game doesn’t count. Just look at Detroit from last year:
Preseason: 4-0
Regular Season: 0-16

INDIAN BIRD

August 17th, 2009
12:07 pm

trey lewis and thomos johnson played like they want a starting job, other seem to want it given to them (JA).

Coop

August 17th, 2009
12:10 pm

I hear a lot of folks saying it doesn’t count, and that’s correct. But don’t you think we should practice stopping a team that’s PRACTICING how to score on us? Losing a preseason game is one thing. Watching the D get pushed around the ENTIRE game is another, VERY disturbing thing.

lynn candy cain

August 17th, 2009
12:13 pm

jamal anderson is oh so close to being labeled a bust(if he isn’t already)…

i know it was a pre-season game, but still send a little pressure at the end of the game,,,,,pls..
found out i still hate the prevent(you from winning)defense…

hope we can score a lot of points this year…

jerry

August 17th, 2009
12:13 pm

11. Thomas Brown was not impressive.

Brad in Jasper

August 17th, 2009
12:15 pm

Yep. Nothing to get too worked up over. Remember last year – Lions 4-0 in preseason, baby! Yeah! I didn’t get to watch, but is Baker back in full form after a dinged up rookie year?

DK

August 17th, 2009
12:16 pm

I wouldn’t read too much into this loss. The D actually got good penetration and Culpepper is fairly good at avoiding the rush. I didn’t like our first defensive play where they ran so easy, but we seemed to look good against the run after that first play.

The “win” for the Lions (10 points in the last 2:02 of the game) came against a defense made up of a lot of guys that will flipping burgers on opening day. We do have some more rust to knock off, but I’m not discouraged by what I saw.

Stafford looked pretty good. His touchdown pass was right on the money and it needed to be as the coverage wasn’t bad on that play. He may end up being a better OB than I gave him credit for.

tj

August 17th, 2009
12:19 pm

Another thing we learned, is that D.J. Shockley is a better QB than Redman !!!

observor

August 17th, 2009
12:23 pm

Since when is the outcome of a preseason game ever a shocker? Give me a break. Stop trying to over sensationalize a completely meaningless game.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 17th, 2009
12:30 pm

OBSERVOR: The Lions were 0-16 last season.

uga_b

August 17th, 2009
12:38 pm

We learned Eric Brock may be the first safety cut. Thomas looked good running but I agree on the returns. DOL, you missed weems and chandler williams who were both very impressive.

Keary Colbert also looks like another USC WR bust.

Da truth

August 17th, 2009
12:41 pm

Slow down TJ ….Things are different when you are playing against #1’s and #3’s. Shockley looked OK…but he needs to worry about Wilson…who looked even better.

polskidawg

August 17th, 2009
12:44 pm

“shocking”? A pre-season loss is shocking? A loss in the FIRST pre-season game is shocking? Really? Come on DLed, you’re better than that.

Peterson looked OLD and sssslllloooowwww. LB, as most suspected, is going to be the weak link this season on D.

coachx

August 17th, 2009
12:49 pm

Thomas Brown ran into blockers and tackles a ton while at UGA. He is a physical specimen but lacks field vision. That is just who he is.

The offense will be fine. We just need coach Smitty and VanGorder to coach of that young defense.

JJB

August 17th, 2009
12:51 pm

Hey DLed, The Lions were 4-0 in their preseason last year. It didn’t help them much during their regular season. There is a finer line in a parity enforced league than most really think exist. Too many teams can go from 4-12 to 11-5 while keeping a lot of theri roster to view an 0-16 team from a year ago to being the barometer of badness. I would be surprised to see the Lions at 8-8 this year

ernisTbass

August 17th, 2009
12:56 pm

The Offense is fine and will score points, I just hope with Tony G they don’t have to kick field goals every time they hit the redzone. The Defense however is a concern, they haven’t changed much as far a stopping the run goes and if that performance continues look for the pass coverage to fall apart as they are forced to play 8 up front to slow down the run. That will doom the chance to break the back to back winning season curse. As for Anderson, he is a bust, nice guy but a wasted project. I doubt that TD would have even drafted him and certainly not in round one. Look for him to go the way of Aundray Bruce . Anderson isn’t a jerk like Bosworth or some other notable busts but he is in over his head and needs a change of scenery so Sidbury and Jefferson and the like can get more game time to prove themselves. The new management has shown the ability to move on, it’s time.

coachx stole my thoughts...

August 17th, 2009
12:59 pm

Thomas Brown did the same thing at UGA – Jamaal has been doing that since he has been here.

Joe

August 17th, 2009
1:01 pm

I cannot imagine Jamal Anderson playing many downs this season.

Sidbury did nothing Saturday, but I expect him to be a contributor by week 2-3.

Kroy Bierman is a freaking BEAST!!!! He splattered that dude on kickoff return and he is a monster against the run. He will be starting Week 1 as long as he gets recovered from his ding.

No way Jamal Anderson will be in the NFL this time next year. Dude is just a bum.

SPS

August 17th, 2009
1:03 pm

Thank you polskidawg. Anyone who considers the outcome of a preseason game to be shocking is probably dumb enough to place a wager on one.

And yes, Peterson made Brooking look speedy.

Aunt Esther

August 17th, 2009
1:10 pm

Mr. Ledbetter,

Don’t you let these fish-eyed fools try to bring you down to their devil level.The truth shall set you free! Ha glory !!

Fred G. Sanford

August 17th, 2009
1:15 pm

Beauty is skin deep…but ugly is to the bone! That’s what the Falcons’ defense was… UGLY! Just like you , Esther!

Aunt Esther

August 17th, 2009
1:15 pm

Watch it, sucka!

Xs&Os

August 17th, 2009
1:16 pm

Granted, this was a preseason game and normally those games don’t count…but you have to consider that the Falcons have earned themselves a much more difficult season than last year and they’re playing a lot of pass happy teams who have very good running backs. Watching the current secondary getting beat more often then they should during this game concerns me. What concerns me more is how easily Detroit(Of all teams) were able to run the ball against the Falcons easily. To sum it all up, the Falcons appeared to have upgraded their offense at the expense of the defense during the offseason. Please ask Brett Favre, you can score 35 points and still lose because your defense cant stop the run and Definitely can’t stop the pass…I’m sure Coach Smith will adjust..but it’s only so much he can do…these rookies that have replaced most of our veteran leadership have to produce…and I’m sorry…I just don’t see that happening this season…they got too much to learn..and I’m not betting on the falcons making the playoffs this season…

Fred G. Sanford

August 17th, 2009
1:17 pm

Rich McKay,

Why the h*ll did you pick Jamaal Anderson to replace Patrick Kerney?!?!
YOU BIG DUMMY!!!

DB

August 17th, 2009
1:18 pm

Anderson was on the ground on almost every play! it’s time to move on and put Davis in his spot so we can have someone who actually wants to play football!!!!

Grim Reaper

August 17th, 2009
1:20 pm

Sorry, JA98… I am here for your NFL career.

FALCON 101

August 17th, 2009
1:20 pm

I never have put any stock into a preseason game and never will. However, I liked what I saw out of Chris Owens. This guy was quick to help out in the run support. I think Owens has a bright future with the Falcons.The Falcons will be fine. Remember, preseason is nothing more than a glorified exhibition where guys get to shake off the rust.

IBleedRed&Black

August 17th, 2009
1:24 pm

D. Orlando Ledbetter… I agree, but don’t you think that the falcons offensive look dominating, but the defense has to step it up a knotch? We can score runs, but can we stop them? That’s going to be the question the season.

Reid Adair

August 17th, 2009
1:26 pm

Great list. Item #1 on the list is absolutely the most critical. The quarterback containment by all of the defensive units was lacking as well.

Preseason? Preseason?

August 17th, 2009
1:26 pm

The Lions are obviously a superior (preseason) team seeing as they have a 5 game preseason winning streak. A PRESEASON loss to the Lions is not a big deal. The Falcons will be ready come week 1.

"Mr. Falcon"

August 17th, 2009
1:27 pm

Jamal Anderson needs be selling vacuum cleaners. This guy does not want to be a football player. He is terrible!

The Grinch

August 17th, 2009
1:29 pm

Peterson appears to hit harder than Brooking, but he sure didn’t look faster. I think Moore will be a big boost when he returns. Thomas Brown surprised me a bit; he looked much better returning punts last year.

Trey Lewis looked good; Jerry looked confused. Anderson looked overmatched AND confused. I hate it for the guy, but he’s no better than a 4th DE at best. Nobody really called it a reach (at least not more than a few spots) at the time he was drafted; he apparently fooled more than just McKay.

DJ and JPW both looked better than Redman.

Ima Homo

August 17th, 2009
1:29 pm

@Matt Ryan on the cover of Atlanta magazine…any time you want to play on my team, Prrrrrrr……yummmmmmy

Nativebird

August 17th, 2009
1:32 pm

Chauncey Davis is twice the DE Jamaal Anderson will ever be. Face it Mr. McKay…it is time to call this former overall #8 first round pick an official bust. This (and decisions like this) is why Thomas Dimitrof is our General Manager.
Thomas, I’d say move him to a backup DT, or release.

"Mr. Falcon"

August 17th, 2009
1:36 pm

The biggest problems I saw Saturday……The defensive backs had no idea what they were doing…….The D-line was awful…….In all the defense looked inexperienced. The defensive play calling was also bad. The Falcons could not figure out what the Lions were going to do next. I hope they can straighten these things out before the season starts. LETS GO FALCONS……………. COACHING STAFF !!

Sarah Palin

August 17th, 2009
1:39 pm

No, no!! Mr. Reaper, you can not have my career yet! My 15 minutes are NOT up yet!! Where’s my stage prop….err, grandchi… precious gift…? Just wanted to let ya know that Elizabeth Hasselbeck and
I will be tea-bagging this evening….Sean Hannity and Charles Krauthammer are going to get a good tea-bagging from Elizabeth and me…
You betcha!
BTW,
Looks like Jamaal Anderson’s career will be going before the Obama death panel .

"Mr. Falcon"

August 17th, 2009
1:39 pm

The Grinch, how did Redman look bad; all he did was hand the ball off.

homer

August 17th, 2009
1:40 pm

11. Jamaal Anderson is a BUST!!!!!

"Mr. Falcon"

August 17th, 2009
1:44 pm

12. The Falcons corner backs are too small.