TRYING TO GET TO THE BRANCH – Hoping I can make it out to practice today.
The plan is to leave extra early and drive really slow. Wednesdays are always big days for the media and the team.
They’ll start installing the game plan for New England. After giving up 308 yards passing to Jake Delhomme, the defense will likely be extra sharp about their coverage responsibilities. The Falcons certainly need to crank back up the pass rush after the defensive line didn’t record a sack last week. They registered four sacks in the opener against Miami with John Abraham and Kroy Biermann getting two each.
I don’t believe the plan calls for letting Tom Brady sit comfortably in the pocket, while looking for Randy Moss, Wes Welker, et al.
Offensively, the Falcons have to fine tune some things. They get another crack at trying to run the ball at a 3-4 defense. Miami held Michael Turner to 65 yards by walking the outside linebackers up to the line of scrimmage and creating an old-school 5-2 look.
However, none of the outside linebackers on New England’s roster resemble Joey Porter or Jason Taylor. Adalius Thomas has been slowed by a foot injury. But this Pierre Woods kid is huge at 6-5, 295. The bigger concern might be nose tackle Vince Wilfork. He’s listed at 325, but one NFL scribe said he appears to have swallowed Grady Jackson and is much heftier. Former Georgia Tech standout Gary Guyton is starting at inside linebacker for the Patriots
BRADY DISTRACTED: Brady and super model Gisele Bundchen are being sued by a couple of photographers. Maybe this will be a distraction as he prepares for the Falcons. The Patriots elected not to provide Brady to the Atlanta media today. Instead, we’re getting former Georgia tight end and star of the Buffalo game, Ben Watson. The Falcons could have been spoil sports and let the New England media talk to backup tight end Keith Zinger. But they are classy and gave the New England Matt Ryan. So not only has Brady blown of Suzy Kolber on national television. He’s also too “Big” to talk to the Atlanta media.
To stay on top of the Patroits as they prepare for the Falcons you can check out the Boston Herald’s Ian Rappaport’s The Rap Sheet or hit him up on twitter at “@rapsheet.” You can catch me at “DorlandoAjc.” You Alabama fans might remember him from his days covering the Tide for the Birmingham paper.
AROUND THE NFC SOUTH: Let’s take a quick look around the Division. There’s turmoil in Tampa. Borderline disaster in Carolina. New Orleans is off and flying on the arm of Drew Brees.
SAINTS ARE MARCHING IN: No one is surprised by the 45 and 48 points the Saints have put up. Or Drew Brees’ 75 percent completion rate. The Saints, with new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, have seven takeaways. Former Packer/Viking Darren Sharper leads the way with 3 interceptions. With a defense, the Saints could be scary.
PANTHERS MUST AVOID 0-3 START: They play Dallas on Monday night. After going 12-4 last season, folks are
starting to wonder if they should have brought Jake Delhomme and Julius Peppers back. Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler caught up with Jon Beason on his off day and the stud linebacker was blaming himself for the defeats to Philadelphia and Atlanta.
PHILLIPS OUT FOR THE YEAR: Tampa Bay’s safety/linebacker Jermaine Phillips was placed on IR with a broken thumb. The former Roswell High and University of Georgia star was hoping that the Falcons attempted to sign him this offseason when he was a free agent. His phone didn’t ring and he re-signed with the Bucs in March.
Can you really go to jail for shooting yourself in the leg?