Coordinator Corner with Mularkey and VanGorder

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey chats with the local media. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)     Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey chats with the local media. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey chats with the local media. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

THE BRANCH — One of the new rules of the National Football League’s media policy, calls for each team to make their coordinators available to the media.

Well it was “Coordinator Friday” at the Branch. Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and Brian VanGorder spoke with the media after Friday’s practice and gave some insights to the season opening game against Miami.  I asked them to give us an overview of their units and provide us with some keys to the game.

Enjoy. Thank Roger Goodell and the Pro Football Writers of America.


“”Well, I ‘ll tell you what, we had a good week of work. We really did. I think these guys are anxious. As we all are to get this thing going. We’ve had a productive offseason. It’s obviously better when you know the system. It’s been productive. I think we are head of where were last year. Whether if they produces on Sundays or not , but  I feel like we are ahead. Our whole staff feels like we are ahead of where we at this time last year.


1. Ball security will be very important.

2. We have to have production . I think they are going to try t hang onto the football. We’d like to do the same and keep it out of their hands. Again, a lot of that will have to do with our ball security.

3. Being able to recognize what they are doing especially in sub (nickel and dime) situations, communicate it and get it across. I’m confident that we are going to do that, but again that’s always important every week.

4. Then jusAdd Mediat being patient. Our guys have been good about that. Just being patient and focusing on the play at hand. Nothing that’s happened before or whether if it was a bad play, a good play. We are always trying to concentrate on the play.

Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder speaks with the media on Friday. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)     Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder speaks with the media on Friday. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)

Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder speaks with the media on Friday. (D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER/AJC)


“I’m probably like everybody. Kind of waiting to see how this group comes together and forms their identity. We’ve had some transition that we are all familiar with. In the preseason, we’ve had some good moments and we’ve had some bad moments. So we’ll keep pushing for consistency. That’s where we have to get. So consistency and getting a real identity is going to be critical for us. The sooner, the better in terms of understanding of what that is and what we want it to be.”

ON CB BRIAN WILLIAMS:  ”He’ll have involvement in the game,” VanGorder said.


  1. First of all, they are a very physical offense. You’ve got to match and defeat their physicality going into the game.
  2. They do use a lot of personnel and a lot of plays. I think that communication becomes a big part of what we have to do.
  3. Then through the different personnel groupings and the series that they have, they’ve been able to create big plays. You’ve got to hold up with respect to that. . . it’s going to be critical that we are discipline and that we hold up.
  4. On Miami QB Chad Pennington: “Chad is a real solid football player. He understands the game. He’s a very good decision maker. I think that based on what I see in their offense, he manages the game just the way the coaches want it managed. He’s a very intelligent football player.

41 comments Add your comment


September 11th, 2009
2:39 pm

im 1st hahahahaha

Huge Falcon Fan

September 11th, 2009
3:30 pm

As any other true Falcon fan, I’m anxious to get the season started. We have such a variety of playmakers on offense, it could be fun to watch the games. I only hope the defense does come together and get an identity. If you play hard and get beat, that you could live with. It’s all in the effort and intensity. Hopefully our defense will come together and play as a unit with everybody doing their part. Don’t try to make up for someone elses mistakes and just be in your place doing your job. Trust your teammates to do their jobs. Lets all be in our seats before the kick-off and make some noise. Lets make other teams not want to play in “our house”.

Calvin G. Sims, rs.netSr.

September 11th, 2009
3:44 pm

This “FIRST” stuff is childish and silly.

I would rarely buy lottery tickets – only when the jackpot rose to several gazillion dollars. But the GA Lottery Commision has finally got me. How am I supposed to resist buying scratch-off tickets emblazzoned with the logo of my favorite team. I may end up in rehab.



September 11th, 2009
4:21 pm

It’s great to keep putting teams in 3rd and long situations, but we have to get off of the field. I think our D-Line and Linebacker play hasn’t been that bad, and I think we should keep Bierman and Sidbury on the field a lot opposite Abe. The big problem are the corners. That’s my old position. I hope Williams and Hill either start or push those other guys to cover! Fundamentals, watch the midsection, practice your foot movement, close to the ball, it’s just as much yours as it is theirs! That’s the way that I look at it.


D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 11th, 2009
4:22 pm

Scratch Off Mania!!!

True Fan

September 11th, 2009
4:23 pm

Butts in the seats at 12:45! No slacker fans this year!


September 11th, 2009
5:06 pm

Okay, These are the keys to the game.

1. Put in the fastest player we have at QB the first play. When he gets the ball, start running around the field in circles getting the defense to chase him. Yeah, we may lose a lot of yards on the first series, but their defense will be so tired we can spend the rest of the game just walking all over them.
2. With this game plan, you don’t need anything else.
3. Oh, run the ball well, stop the run, don’t turn the ball over and score more points than the other team. Just like every other football game ever played.


September 11th, 2009
5:19 pm

Mularkey says ball security and keep it away from Miami, yet the first 3rd and 3, he’ll have Ryan drop 12 steps and chunk a 40 yard overthrown incomplete pass against and well cover Micheal Jenkins.

Key no. 5: Have Mularkey employ better and game-strategic play calling than he did last year. MOVE THE CHAINS Mike and stop the foolishness.


September 11th, 2009
5:48 pm

I come all the way from savannah and i’m a season ticket holder so you know im a true fan i’ve been doiing this since 2003. Go falcons and true fan is right no slacking i’ll be tailgating from 9am until the game and after go falcons 27-10 over phins.

Real Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
5:59 pm

But what if you have to pee at 12:55? You know, all that tailgating beer builds up. After the first, it’s like every 10min..haha

Real Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
6:01 pm

Grime, if you start at 9am, and are drinking from that time, you might not be able to find your way into the stadium??

Charleston Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
6:47 pm

Play hard, play tough, belive in your teammates, cover your man… Falcons-27 dolls-14


September 11th, 2009
6:49 pm

OK I know I’m old school but reading this stuff drives me crazy because of the typos, missing words and the like. No editor reads this? You just upchuck online and you’re done? Pitiful.


September 11th, 2009
6:54 pm

Congradulatios to the 2009′ Falcons and the work , effort and dedication that they have put forth from the coaching staff to the practice squad-Good luck and keep the faith as the real Falcons fans will. GO FALCONS !!!!!!!

A REAL REAL Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
6:54 pm

A REAL REAL Falcons fan can hold his liquor. No need for quarterback to run around and around and around, miss his open receivers, throw the ball too high, get tackled, get hurt, and tell the coaches his dog ate his play book….hee hee

A REAL REAL Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
6:55 pm

John…what’s your boyfriends name?

A REAL REAL Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
7:00 pm

hey Charleston Falcon fan is that the buzz man?

A Realist

September 11th, 2009
7:02 pm

I like the coordinator corner stuff….a nice touch….keep it coming and GO FALCONS!!!!!


September 11th, 2009
7:17 pm

Charleston Falcons Fan

September 11th, 2009
7:21 pm

I just can’t type…I don’t sit at a computer all day, John, we are all falcons fans!!! don’t be so anal. Enjoy this season and all that happens. This is going to be the first back to back winning seasons for our beloved BIRDS!


September 11th, 2009
7:26 pm

Offense will be fine, take care of ball control and use the clock. D should be well rested and able to handle business.


September 11th, 2009
7:55 pm

Am I the only one who can’t wait to see Brian Williams and Tye Hill in action??? This going to be INTERESTING, if nothing else. My hunch is that both these guys are better than Houston and Grimes. Just a guess.


September 11th, 2009
8:19 pm

It will be a “surprise” game.
Y’all will know what this means by 4:15 PM Sunday.
Go Falcons !!!!!!!

Big Ray

September 11th, 2009
8:36 pm

I’m looking forward to this game.


Hate to pick, but the quotes from Mularkey were fairly mucked up. Words missing from sentences, or the wrong ones inserted. It happens…

I’m looking forward to seeing Brian Williams out there on the field. I don’t think Tye Hill will see much time (if any) for the first game or two, as he has to be indoctrinated to the Falcons style of play. But Williams? He’ll be in there.

Our young, inexperienced defense won’t have it easy, but everything starts with the pass rush and solid play against the run. I would like to see a mixture of blitzes involving Biermann and Sidbury, along with the usual from Abraham (hopefully he stays healthy, but I’m not holding my breath).

The corners need to hang tough out there and watch the routes carefully. Concerted, focused effort can help overcome deficiencies.

Take Good With Bad

September 11th, 2009
8:52 pm

Hey Im throwing this around see if it catces on our running backs field names SEARCH AND DESTROY/NORWOOD AND TURNER. YOU HEARD IT FROM TAKE GOOD WITH BAD FIRST.

"Charles", The Original

September 11th, 2009
10:00 pm

In the first game of the year, look for QB Matt Ryan to take advantage of the Miami Dolphins secondary, and rookie cornerback Sean Smith. And the Falcons’ running game will have the heart and soul of the Dolphins’ defense, Joey Porter, Jason Taylor, and Channing Crowder searching for water to swim in throughout the game. But the only water those dolphins will find is the sweat dripping from the body of Michael Turner fifteen yards after contact, and the sweat of the Falcons’ aggressive offensive linemen.

But the star of the game will be the Falcons’ defensive line by committee, John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, Peria Jerry, Jamaal Anderson, Trey Lewis, Thomas Johnson, Kroy Biermann, and Lawrence Sidbury. I can see them confusing the Dolphins offensive line much like the Dolphins wild cat offense confused opponent’s defenses last season.

Hip hip- Peria! Hip hip- Peria! Hip hip- Peria! Hip hip- Peria! Hip hip- Peria! Hip hip- Peria! Go Falcons!

The final score: The Atlanta Falcons 30, and The Miami Dolphins, 17.


September 12th, 2009
12:49 am


The Truth Hurtsq

September 12th, 2009
1:16 am

Plug the above coordinator quotes into any week. Nothing noteworthy here. Seriously, what do you expect them to say? Geez, people are so hungry for this stuff that they think these interviews are telling?

Ball security. Aggression. Patience. Recognition. Um, what week are these not important? Oh wait, maybe week 15 when we can turn the ball over, relax, hurry up, and play dumb.

“We don’t know what we’ve got.” Welcome to the ‘09 Falcons defense! Be physical? Really? That’s news. Communicate? Great! That’s it…we’re Super Bowl bound.

This defense is simply not good. Unless one of the new corners turns into something, our secondary will be assaulted like Tia Tequila on a Saturday night.

Let’s hope Miami plays dumb, doesn’t communicate, is soft, and trips running backwards.

The Truth Hurts

September 12th, 2009
1:18 am

How about a little proof-reading from the “professionals” at the AJC?

It’s not “to,” it’s “too,” on the front page article about the Falcons running backs.

It’s really not that hard.

The AJC!


September 12th, 2009
5:03 am

Have a great time in cheering our FALCONS(Dirty Birds ) onto a home opener victory…I am all the way in Iraq…GO DIRTY BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!


September 12th, 2009
11:16 am

I agree about the spelling and gramatical mistakes. I don’t care if you guys think it’s insignificant, but a professional writer should at least hit spellcheck before he submits something that will appear on a major metropolitan news site.

Ledbetter, I enjoy reading your blogs and the subsequent comments by the faithful, but seriously, sometimes it’s like you gave your notes to a fifth grader and had him type the blog. Come on man.

Sorry, I had to vent on that. Anyway, I couldn’t be more excited for Sunday 1pm to get here. Another 11-5 season and a deep playoff run await!


September 12th, 2009
12:14 pm

Hey real real falcons fan, don’t worry who my boyfriend is, you can be my bee-otch anytime.


September 12th, 2009
1:30 pm

Hey “The Truth Hurts”, it’s “two” not “too”. I guess it really is that hard.


Falcon 8211

September 12th, 2009
2:43 pm

vangorder needs to stop doing interviews and learn how to stop other teams .


September 12th, 2009
3:44 pm

So who had the difficult job of setting the countdown to the Falcon game? Looks like the AJC has a real keeper. Nice work.


September 12th, 2009
8:54 pm

I’m in California & the last several years, I’ve been going to watch Falcons at sports bars being the minority & listening to rude drunk a**es. I’m so excited because I got the NFL package this year!!! I think I’ll still have to venture out some to represent the red & black birds. Blow the whistle and lets get it on!!! GO FALCONS!!!!!

Big Ray

September 13th, 2009
3:56 am

Gosh, those guys at ESPN must be a bunch of dummies! Every last one of them has picked us for the win today.

Go Falcons!

Big Ray

September 13th, 2009
1:27 pm

Ryan looks stronger. A little wild to start the game though, as he overthrew Roddy White for a sure touchdown.

Ron Mexico

September 13th, 2009
8:14 pm

damn my crotch itches


September 13th, 2009
8:27 pm

JebusH, were did all the miscreants go?

NFL owner are the GOP slave owner

September 19th, 2009
9:18 pm

Matt Ryan all fool gold ! If you put pressure on this punk QB he is weak as pond water. But the sport media love’s him. carolina will tag matt azz this week they know he is a punk when he get hit!!! how long will he last? when the hit keep coming!!!