THE LEDBETTER HACIENDA/UPDATE FROM THE BRANCH — The Falcons made a trade for Tye Hill today.
He played well early in his career after being selected with the 15th pick of the 2006 draft. Folks in St. Louis told me that he lost his confidence and has been beset with injuries. Doesn’t sound like he can step right in and help, but we’ll see.
All last week, Falcons coach Mike Smith kept saying that the team “had a lot of work to do.”
Some of the cynical and sometimes skeptical media folks just thought it was some “coach speak.”
Turns out Smitty was just shooting the media straight.
In wake of the San Diego third-down air assault, it looks like the coaches have to regroup. They need a workable third down plan.
In the preseason, the Falcons have been trying to play a more aggressive and swashbuckling style of defense. We’ve seen blitzes, that funky 3-3-5 they flashed on
a few third downs and a cornerback blitz. When was the last time we’ve send a cornerback blitz around here?
The goal is to decrease explosive plays (20-yard gainers) and to create some turnovers. The problem is that the defense can yield some big plays, too. Like the screen to Michael Bennett, the pride of Milwaukee Tech High and former Wisconsin Badger. (Used to do the color commentary of the Milwaukee Public High League games on public access. Bennett was a nice kid!)
That’s what all the fuss was about when GM Thomas Dimitroff was talking getting faster and drafting speed. The coaches may need more time to get the concepts communicated and the players may need more time to properly execute the new style.
Time is one thing nobody has. Sept. 13 is approaching. But after all of the offseason work in mini-camp and OTAs, they’ll likely have to stay the course with this plan of attack.
Here are five ways to view the Falcons’ defense in wake of the San Diego game.
1. Heck, they won’t be playing against Philip Rivers every week. Chad Pennington can’t throw 25-yard square-outs on a laser and neither can Jake Delhomme.
2. Coach Smith was a defensive coordinator, he knows what the fixes are.
3. Does Chris Houston need Lawyer Milloy around to help him step it up. Our was he just coming back too soon from that groin injury. (Should they make a pitch for LawDog, he’s still out there?)
4. Heck, the defense can afford to give up some plays because the offense is cruising along like a Maybach 62 S.
5. John Abraham would have had some sacks on some of those third-and- longs if he was moving at “regular season” speed.
Maybe the cause for alarm over the cornerbacks is unwarranted? What do you think? Milloy had a tough time staying up with Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in that playoff game, but as it turns out, that was no crime against humanity. Nobody has been able to stay with them either. Do you forgive the LawDog and let him come back?