FALCONS: No “LawDog”, it’s Tye Hill to the rescue?

Time for Coach Mike Smith and Lawyer "The LawDog" Milloy to have a reunion?Is it time for Coach Mike Smith and Lawyer “The LawDog” Milloy to hold a reunion tour?

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?

Milloy was close to signing with Detroit and being reunited with Grady Jackson. (ERIC MILLER/REUTERS)

Milloy was close to signing with Detroit and being reunited with Grady Jackson. (ERIC MILLER/REUTERS)

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.

Cornerback Brent Grimes had a rough day with Vincent Jackson. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Cornerback Brent Grimes had a rough day with Vincent Jackson. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

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?

 

94 comments Add your comment

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 1st, 2009
8:16 am

Andrew: Are you Daniel’s agent? He’s a nice guy.

FalcTech

September 1st, 2009
8:26 am

Bring back Milloy and hire Mccallister to get us over the first half of the season. Give these young guys one more full season to get better

Matt

September 1st, 2009
8:26 am

It is still preseason!!!! If it was Phillip Rivers every week,we definitly should panic but I feel that our offence will far make up for any cough up’s on defence!!! GO FALCONS!!!!!

FalconFaninMI

September 1st, 2009
8:27 am

Andrew – No need to be so harsh to DOL; the whole point to a blog entry is to spur discussion so writers will frequently throw out a question that they know will get a strong reaction – even if it appears “stupid.”

Of course you’re 100% correct about Brooking and Milloy. Milloy certainly isn’t going to make the defense faster. If the DBs need him riding them in order to step up their game then they can always bring him onboard as an assistant, consultant, etc.

Willie Coyote

September 1st, 2009
8:31 am

A pass rush would cover up a lot of deficiencies in the secondary.

I need to be stimulated

September 1st, 2009
8:48 am

Give the defense some time to gel. It looked horrible for sure and I was dying along with everyone else while watching on TV, but I think with the defensive minds we have, they’ll pick up a guy or two and figure out something.

An Observation

September 1st, 2009
9:06 am

I don’t think that Milloy is the answer to problem. We need a few cornerbacks that have some height and size that can handle the taller and/or physical receivers. That way, if the pass rush doesn’t happen the CBs will be able to cover the receivers and not give up the big plays.

ddawgdavis

September 1st, 2009
9:09 am

It wasn’t just Phillip Rivers it was also Billy Volek. Yeah, the same Billy Volek who spurned us to be a back-up to the biggest cry baby jerk in the league. Rivers, did anyone watch the game and the two intentional groundings? 20-yd line behind the Falcons bench and I could see plain as day the intentional groundings.

But I digress, we all knew the secondary was going to be a question mark. Milloy is not the answer, but the former Ed Reed running mate Chris McAllister is a solid answer. Plus, there will be more cuts in the next few weeks and remember the economy is still in the tank, so there will be some guys out there.

Trust in Smitty and TD.

Paul

September 1st, 2009
9:16 am

I am not a coach or a talent evaluator, but I know that every time I play Madden (which I’m bad at) and send an all out blitz, I get burned…Is this what was happening Saturday? Perhaps the calls on third down were a bit too aggressive. I do also believe that Houston is lacking a step due to the groin. Of course, I think he played more man coverage saturday than he did all last season; perhaps he’s always been that bad…

Absolute

September 1st, 2009
9:17 am

A pass rush would do wonders for our secondary. Hopefully we get one when the season starts (someone else to help out The Predator).

Trainwreck

September 1st, 2009
9:27 am

Go get SOMEBODY! please! Someone who can rush the passer or actually cover someone…. that would be nice. I like our guys and have faith that the coaches will put our players in the right position more times than not but man, I’d like to be able to stop someone sometime. I’ really glad we don’t play anyone like Phillip Rivers this year… like Tom Brady, or Drew Brees twice, or Jay Cutler, or Donovan McNabb or anyone like that….. O wait…

regijoli

September 1st, 2009
9:27 am

DOL, where are the Falcons financially, if feasible why not try to bring in Derrick Brooks, Chris McAlister & Mike McKenzie on one or two yr deals…cut Von hutchens, Brent Grimes and a couple of scrub LBs. That would add some true leadership to our speedy athletic Defense; that would also allow time for our youth to mature without sacrificing the season. Is this possble or am I wishful thinking?

GT GRAD

September 1st, 2009
9:33 am

DOL is doing a fine job.

I sincerely hope DT knows we need better players at both starting CB spots. I think he knows something most of us do not know about players which will probably be cut by other teams. I expect he will try to sign two CB prior to the Miami game.

Looks like we are stuck with (slow) Peterson at LB; I think we will have more success with Gilbert or Wire. Anyone who claims Peterson is faster than Brooking is simply biased against Brooking.

Perry needs a lot of work before he will be ready to contribute. Abraham, Lewis, Babs & Davis will be the week #1 starters……….this is a solid group, but teams will double team Abraham with no retribution from the other 3 DL. We will be forced to blitz to put pressure on the QB with this DL (not a good option with the two CB we currently have listed as the starters).

We will score a lot of points this year; however, the question is will we score enough to win?

Go Falcons!!

Pabst

September 1st, 2009
9:37 am

Law Dog was terrible in coverage last year. While I miss the hard hits and most of all being able to say we had “Law Dog” on our team, I believe it would be a mistake in bringing him back. We have four games against Delhomme and Leftwich combined. I would not be worried about either of those two QBs. Brees on the other hand…

Real Falcons Fan

September 1st, 2009
9:50 am

I know, it’s just a smoke screen, to full opposing offenses into thinking we have no secondary? When the regular seasons starts, Houston will look like “prime time” and Grimes will wear his platform shoes.. Peterson will down a couple of Monster energy drinks before each game, and JA will show he was just kidding the last two seasons!

Bird Watcher

September 1st, 2009
9:59 am

I wouldn’t mind seeing Lawyer Milloy come back. Think about the domino effect. He would play strong safety – coming in strong in the box (which he does best), Erik Coleman would move to free safety where he excelled last year. This gets Decoud back to special teams, where he excelled last year. Yeah, bring Milloy back and get a good cover corner.

long time falcon

September 1st, 2009
10:06 am

DOL, I don’t get the continued call for lawyer milloy by you and some of these bloggers. Can milloy play DE or cornerback? Eric coleman is the new starting strong safety and he led the team in tackles last season, not to mention he has more range than milloy. Could you please expand on how milloy is going to help on the field? Are you suggesting that coleman be moved back to free safety and milloy then can play strong safety? I think the safety positions are the least of our worries. We need to be able to rush the passer and get better play from our midget corners. If were going to bring in somebady lets get a corner or a pass rush specialist. How is an old and slowing strong safety going to help? Please explain.

I think our biggest problem on defense is we simply had to much turnover in one offseason. No question the guys we have now have more talent and speed than the ones we let go in the offseaon. It’s just a matter of building team chemistry but they better hurry or were going to be in trouble. But I believe in TD and Smitty so I’m not going to panic just yet. With rosters having to be paired down to 53 by saturday there will be 600 plus free agents available so maybe we can find some help from roster cuts. If not maybe TD can pull off another trade like he did for foxworth last season.

Falcon57

September 1st, 2009
10:07 am

I agree Milloy isn’t the answer but I sure wish he could show some of these DB’s we have now how to absolutely BLOW UP some of these screens and make receivers fear catching the ball over the middle. I see our current DB’s trying to finesse their way through blockers to get to the ball carrier. That just isn’t going to work.

Falcon Devil

September 1st, 2009
10:33 am

Milloy is not coming back period. Hopefully Moore will clean the sand out of his … you know what and quit getting a new injury before his last injury heals. I would love to see us go for McAlister or McKenzie our corners officially suck… bad. I’d like to see McAlister and Houston start the season then if Houston keeps getting burned throw in Owens or Jackson. The silver lining is our run D looked good by creating those 3rd and longs but then we know what happened next.

Jerry

September 1st, 2009
10:43 am

Please dont waste this season T.D. Our 3rd down specialist tightend is on a clock like Turner is. We have a window to get this done NOW.

Brian Hunt

September 1st, 2009
11:00 am

I say “No” to Malloy. It didn’t seem that DeCoud or Coleman where the problem. It was the corners and last I checked, Malloy can’t play corner.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 1st, 2009
11:29 am

Made it out to the Branch (thanks to Steve Hummer). He gets a “Typewriter” today. (Media version of a Game Ball!. The Batmobile died today after a good run: 179,618 miles. Falcons are walking through right now. Practice at 1:10 p.m. No word on anybody — DBs or any players in general — coming in to workout on the low, low.

ATL

September 1st, 2009
11:35 am

DOL,

Do you know whether or not Chauncey will be starting for us this season? I have to assume that he will considering that Jamaal was a none factor the entire game Saturday. I was pulling for him the first two seasons, but I am a realist. There comes a time when you need to cut your losses, Jamaal Anderson absolutely STINKS, thank you Rich!

GO FALCONS!

Braves73

September 1st, 2009
11:42 am

The Falcons will definitely suffer growing pains with the offseason decision to go with “youth”. The biggest challenge will be their position/selection of choice…cornerback. I believe every position is important on each side of the ball, but cornerback/safety position can expose a team real quick (see the 3rd and long debacles against San Diego). The defense of line was good enough against the run to force those 3rd and long situations, but had nothing in terms of pressure on the QB.

They simple MUST go out and bring in AT LEAST one quality corner or else we will have repeat performances like the Chargers.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 1st, 2009
11:48 am

JUST GOT THIS TWEET FROM MY MAN JIM TROTTER:

SI_JimTrotterNFL office says Pacman is in good standing and is free to sign/play with one of its teams.

He’s a cornerback. . . .

Follow me on Twitter.com — DOrlandoAJC

Real Falcons Fan

September 1st, 2009
11:59 am

Yeah! Let’s bring the Pacman in, plenty of strip clubs just down I85. Has he matured yet? Born again? What options do we have this late in the preseason? Is there a Foxworth caliber player out there? Someone that can be a good fit for this team, now and in the future? Not just a one year player, a desperate last minute, quick fix addition?

PMC

September 1st, 2009
12:01 pm

Is Atlanta a really good healthy environment for Adam Jones though… I mean. We have really good strip clubs….. It’s like having an AA meeting in a bar.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 1st, 2009
12:13 pm

Going on “The Two Live Stews” syndicated Sporting News Radio show at 2:25 EST. http://radio.sportingnews.com/shows/2_live_stews/index.html

FalcD

September 1st, 2009
12:20 pm

We definitely need to bring someone in at the CB position. I don’t think we need Milloy but someone else. I’m sure TD is thinking of something or he better because although its preseason it was surely an eye opener to see your first string D give up so many yards and crucial third downs. Its actually not surprising since we have so many unexperienced players trying to full in at the defensive positions. I’m alittle shocked they didn’t see this coming. They should have signed someone way before this.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 1st, 2009
12:22 pm

ATL: Coach Smith keeps talking about a rotation set up between Chauncey, Jamaal and Kroy Biermann at that spot. Sidbury can develop under that scenario.

long time falcon

September 1st, 2009
12:28 pm

long time falcon

September 1st, 2009
12:25 pm
The Falcons announced the acquisition of Rams cornerback Tye Hill Tuesday for an undisclosed pick in the 2010 NFL Draft.

Hill, 5-10, 185 pounds, is in his fourth professional season. The first-round selection (15th overall) by the Rams in 2006, Hill started 21 of 28 career games in St. Louis.

Hill has totaled 94 tackles (79 solo), four interceptions, 15 passes defensed, one fumble recovery and one forced fumble.

As a rookie, Hill started 10 of 16 games and finished the season with 42 tackles (33 solo), a team-high three interceptions, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

He was named to the All-Rookie team by Pro Football Weekly and the Professional Football Writers of America.

Hill entered 2008 as the Rams starting left cornerback, but was sidelined for the season after suffering a knee injury in Week 4.

Dimitroff pulls of another trade for a corner.

nhe

September 1st, 2009
12:34 pm

No thank you to L Milloy – rumor was that he was a bit of a cancer last year. I’m fairly confident we’ll bring in a veteran CB – but it hopefully won’t be any of the names mentioned, unless McAllister’s knee is 100%, which is doubtful.

Every game I’ve seen McKenzie play for the Saints the last few years, I’ve watched the back of his jersey while receivers run by – he’s not the answer. Hopefully a no-name like Foxworth will help to fortify us a little.

I’m also hoping that Tony Gilbert has enough in the tank to spell Nicholas some – we need it.

The DL will be fine if we figure out a way to have JA98 off the field in passing downs. Abraham will get pressure on 3rd down, and Biermann or Sidbury will get push being single-covered on the other side. I think we’ll ultimately be ok there. A big key is T Lewis staying healthy – he’s a stud we need to keep on the field.

Joe Schmoe

September 1st, 2009
12:38 pm

Lord no, please no Milloy!

wow

September 1st, 2009
12:42 pm

Hopefully Tye Hill is the answer, because Brent grimes is not the answer.

Ed-Covington

September 1st, 2009
12:43 pm

TD just traded a #7 draft pick to the Rams for a CB. Who?
Milloy? Never again. McKenzie? Anyone remember him in NO? Awful!!
I have been asking for days about McAlister’s situation. Again, I’m not even suggesting that we sign him, just want to know why the Ravens released him and why no one else has signed him. I trust TD and MS to solve this situation, much as they did last year by trading for Foxworth.

SWAT Native

September 1st, 2009
12:46 pm

Actually, Pacman’s a local guy, so he’d be here one way or the other. If you could keep his head on straight, he might be a good solution; he was playing well before he got his first suspension. Never happen though, I don’t think the Falcons want those kind of guys on their team anymore.

Pedro

September 1st, 2009
12:49 pm

I will go get the Speedy Gonzales. He likes my seester.

Ed-Covington

September 1st, 2009
12:51 pm

Also, to all of you who claim our CBs are too small, look at other teams rosters. ALL CBs are small. Hey, let’s just go out and sign all of those 6′4″. 225 lb., sub-4.5 CBs available! OH, THERE AREN’T ANY!! If your CBs were 6′1″ and 210 lb. they would still be shorter and lighter than most of the receivers they face. Agility, speed, reflexes, leaping ability and reaction time are the major attributes of successful CBs.

Manuel

September 1st, 2009
12:53 pm

I LIKE HIS SISTER TOO!

Ed-Covington

September 1st, 2009
12:53 pm

BTW, all you PacMan fans, he signed with the CFL this morning, Vancouver, I think. No strip clubs in Canada?

Ed-Covington

September 1st, 2009
12:55 pm

Se amo su hermana, tambien!! Y sdu madre, mas!

Ed-Covington

September 1st, 2009
12:55 pm

Uh, “SU MADRE”, perdoneme mucho!

welikebaseball

September 1st, 2009
1:06 pm

DOrlando: What’s your take on the Hill trade? Do you think Smith will plug him as our #1 CB & bump Houston down a notch? If so, do you think a #2 CB from another team, who was in a fight to keep that spot, can be a true #1 on ours? Really interested to know your take on this.

I don’t think the addition of one CB, with our pass rush being as non-existent as it is, will solve our problem against above average passing attacks. It will indeed help, but not resolve the issue. Add one more solid CB (which would put Houston in the nickelback mix) or find a way to get more pressure on the QB from the D-line (assuming that’ll be an internal move).

Falcon Devil

September 1st, 2009
1:16 pm

Anyone who wants Pacman is on crack!!!!! I’d rather they put JA 98 at cornerback before we had that pathetic piece of human waste on our football team. Never ever ever ever ever. Tye Hill showed tons of promise his rookie year but injuries killed his momentum. I hope TD just picked up a diamond in the rough cus Grimes and Houston are our biggest liability! I’m excited about this!

Falcon Devil

September 1st, 2009
1:20 pm

I was defending Houston this time last week but Saturday was all I needed to see that he can’t handle the number one recievers consistently. I’d love to see Chevis Jackson as the number 2 going against the bigger stronger guys, Hill on the number one then let Houston and Owens compete for nickel or number 2 depending on particular matchups.

Falconsforlife

September 1st, 2009
1:20 pm

Tye Hill pick up is a great move. Hopefully there will be a few more moves after the cuts. TD really is an amazing GM. We’ll see if the Hill move pays off, but it’s still nice having such confidence in a Falcons GM. Feels weird.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 1st, 2009
1:23 pm

midnite

September 1st, 2009
1:33 pm

Is Tye Hill healthy now?

Paddy

September 1st, 2009
1:39 pm

I try to stay a positive Falcon fan. But I have a weakness. I don’t think J Anderson can play a lick. Been keeping my mouth shut for 2 years now. 3rd team emergency type player. Hope we don’t have any emergencies. Good job TD on the Tye Hill acquasition. Now find someone for the other side of the field.

Dennis

September 1st, 2009
1:49 pm

Hey Ed, I can’t find the right 2 on my keyboard to speaka-de-spanish. Cut it out. :-) (It’s too much trouble to do the google translator thing, so just speak English for us, please). btw, are you here legally? :-)