Tom Brady presents problems for Falcons

Falcons offensive coordiantor Mike Mularkey and quarterback Matt Ryan are ready to probe New England's defense. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and quarterback Matt Ryan are ready to probe New England's defense. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC).

THE BRANCH – It was the “Coordinators Countdown to Kickoff Show” after the Falcons went through their final practice on Friday before leaving for New England.

Offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey (MM) and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder (BVG) took a few questions while the paint was still drying on a week of preparation for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

MM ON CALLING PLAYS FOR RB JASON SNELLING VS. JERIOUS NORWOOD: “Every game has specifics to it. The whole plan is not that way. We just try to use our guys’ talents. That’s not just the quarterback, the back, but that’s everybody that’s on the field. Again, if guys can’t execute or don’t think they can and have that negative thought, they probably are going to fail. We are trying to make sure that we’ve got 11 guys out there who are confident in what they are doing. That’s really just kind of the foundation of this offense.”

Tom Brady (AP photo)

Tom Brady (AP photo)

MM ON FACING NEW ENGLAND’S MULTIPLE FRONTS: “You’ve got to recognize it first and the communication is important. I think our guys have done a great job since we’ve been here. Every week we are going to get something new. We’ve got guys that can call it out and identify it correctly. It’s just that when you get in an environment that is loud, you’ve got to make sure that everybody is hearing those calls.”

MM ON FALCONS’ SHIFTS AND FORMATIONS: “Defenses are always disguising their coverages. If you’re are watching, they are always moving. You are sitting there going what are they going to do? We are no different. We are trying to make them do their homework as well.  . . We are going to give you unique things that you are going to have prepare for or adjust to during the game.”

Defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder has to slow down Tom Brady and Wes Welker. (BRANT SANDERLIN/AJC).

Defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder has to slow down Tom Brady and Wes Welker. (BRANT SANDERLIN/AJC).

BVG ON KEYS FOR THE DEFENSE: “We have to make sure that all this preparation pays off for us because they give you a lot of offense. Obviously, they are very efficient in what they do in both the run game and the passing game.

Wes Welker didn't play last week. (Boston Herald).

Wes Welker didn't play last week. (Boston Herald).

All of the work that we put in, we have to go up there, concentrate and make sure that we do the things that we practiced all week.”

BVG ON TOM BRADY: “He’s obviously a very intelligent quarterback. He knows where to go with the ball. He looks the same to me (post knee injury).”

BVG ON SAFETY THOMAS DeCOUD: “He’s a guy that’s really improved from a year ago. The process has been speeded up with him, that’s because he’s worked hard. In the first two games he’s done a pretty good job. We look for him to continue to grow and get better at the position.”

(New England plan is to put up a new post about 2 hours before kickoff on Sunday morning, so plan to stop on by. Get get Twitter updates at DorlandoAJC).

72 comments Add your comment

DP in NC

September 25th, 2009
1:57 pm

Glad we will be back in our regular uniforms, those red helmets were tough to look at last sunday.


September 25th, 2009
1:57 pm

Hope Van Gorder has some new and better QB pressures on tap.


September 25th, 2009
2:07 pm

I think the Falcons go and get the win and make a real statement this week. Everyones talking the Patriots offense and forgetting they have to play defense too. Both games NE gave up over 100 yards rushing. Look for a big day for Turner!!!!


September 25th, 2009
2:16 pm

Yeah the key to a victory is to put pressure on Brady. I agree with mountain jim better have some better plays to put pressure on Brady..


September 25th, 2009
2:22 pm

Thanks DOL…BLITZ, BLITZ, BLITZ. Run at Brady all throughout the day. Sure, he’ll beat it sometimes early, but the pounding will eventually wear him down.

This game, I think we should start with the pass to set up the run. Take shots deep on first three possesions. Get the safeties to think about Tony G. and Roddy running past them on play action. Then transition to the Burner for time possession control. With NE, plays should be long and short…that is, vertical passing DOWN the field, straight ahead running between the tackles. Belicheck tries to take everything else (e.g. slants, screens, hitches) away with junk defensive formations. Good offensive football against NE is point of attack (straight ahead running) control and/or “speed on speed” (vertical routes)

Blitz pick up will be key. I hope we practiced our zone blocking this week.




September 25th, 2009
2:24 pm

This won’t be a game that Matty Ice wins for the Falcons. It’s time to lean on the running backs and the offensive line.

CHAIN GANG! Move those Chains!


September 25th, 2009
2:30 pm

Brady “looks the same”?! Yeah, you’re right, nothing’s changed. He played great on Sunday.

This blind faith in New England is driving me insane. How, tell me HOW is it a foregone conclusion that this team will return to form? These interviews with players and coaches are all just empty chatter. They always say the same thing and must avoid anything that might remotely resemble an honest assessment about someone. What a world we live in.


September 25th, 2009
2:32 pm

Good luck Falcons! Pulling for you up here in DC.


September 25th, 2009
2:44 pm

If we can keep Brady off the field with some really long, clock using, drives, then we win. I dont think our secondary will be up to the challenge.


September 25th, 2009
2:47 pm

Ho Hum. Control the tempo of the game on offense; be disruptive on defense and in position when they do make a play. It’s the same thing every week and if the Falcons do both they will win with pedestrian numbers again.

Do I sound bored? No, I could watch this brand of football forever.


September 25th, 2009
2:52 pm

We MUST be schematically sound in every phase of the game, offense, defense, and special teams in order to have a chance against NE….I’m sure BB has some interesting ‘twists’ already dialed up for ‘Matty-Ice’ & the guys to deal with on Sunday, however, I Love the Underdog role….Noone gives us a chance, so its time to ‘take care of business’ and make-em-pay!….Falcons 38-Patriots 24

Bobby's U-haul

September 25th, 2009
2:52 pm

Thanks DOL for the Scoop at the Branch from MM and BVG. I think I read one sentence that wasn’t a direct quote.

I think Patriots offense is a pretty cool guy

September 25th, 2009
2:54 pm

eh doesn’t score a touchdown last week and doesn’t afraid of anything.


September 25th, 2009
3:32 pm

If the D put the pressure on Tom Brady, we can we this game. We have a high power offense and can score. Now it’s time for the D to step up ! Go Falcons!!!!!!!


September 25th, 2009
3:40 pm

YES, this is a test for the Falcons, Being that said I feel strongly about our chances up in Gillette Stadium. I don’t see the Patriots shutting down Abe the entire game. And our offense is very capable of putting up points. Look for Roddy White to have a big game, also the defense is Improving week to week. If we don’t turn the ball over the sky is the limit…..


September 25th, 2009
4:01 pm

Kednny and Samuel: I agree with both of you on your points. If and only if we get pressure on Brady to make him hear “footsteps” we stand a chance to win this game. Carolina’s o-line is much better, Abraham battled many of these same folks while at NE (he had a 4 sack game against, I think.), Biermann will need to step up, etc.

The LBs will have their hands full if Welker plays, due to those short passes in the flat. Loftona and Pete will have to step up and put him on the ground immediately.

As for our offense? We can out shoot their offense. I can’t suck-up enough about the T-Gonzo move.

Those are obvious angles for this game, but one angle no one is talking about is Special Teams. Let’s keep them in the long field, that way they have to work for yardage. You want to beat us? Your going to have to work for it and those RBs and WRs are OLD! (ie Galloway, Fred Taylor, Moss)

Keepin it 100

September 25th, 2009
4:20 pm


Dr. Warren

September 25th, 2009
4:35 pm

DP in NC:

You are the about the only one who feels that way. The throwbacks were popular with everyone, including even the national media. For a true lifelong ATLANTAN, who started going to the games as a six year old in ‘73, the red helmets brought back memories of a lot of losing, but also a lot of great times.


September 25th, 2009
4:54 pm

what is going on with tye hill? why isn’t he starting or even playing? he is real fast and i am sure he can play better than grimes.

Steve C

September 25th, 2009
4:55 pm

I also liked the throwback uniforms…the current ones are a bit too busy and complicated, sort of like New England’s. We should stick with the throwbacks as long as we are winning.


September 25th, 2009
4:59 pm

Tye Hill is being brought up to speed slowly like they did with Foxworth. It may be after the bye week before he’s installed.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

September 25th, 2009
5:20 pm

Bobby’s U-Haul: It’s the Coordinator’s Countdown to Kickoff Show!!! We don’t get to hear from them often.

: Tye Hill is getting up to speed with how the Falcons do things in the secondary. Coach Smith and BVG said the upcoming bye week would be big for him. So stay tuned.


September 25th, 2009
5:21 pm

Coach Smitty said he was using the bye week as training camp. No game plan to prepare for. I look for Tye Hill to be ready for San Fran.


September 25th, 2009
5:25 pm

I thought the throwback uni’s were cool as crap. Is Fred Kalil going to be live in New England on Sunday? Gawd, I hope not! I predict Brian Finneran makes a clutch 3rd down catch late in the game that keeps momentum going and the Falcons winning.


September 25th, 2009
5:33 pm

I hope Abraham tears Brady’s other ACL… I”m just sayin…

Shaneneeee Faneneeeeeee

September 25th, 2009
5:36 pm

Falcons will lose this game, the Patriots are an elite team and organization.

Richmond Falcon Fan

September 25th, 2009
5:46 pm

I agree on the throwback unis and the red helmets! Add the updated Falcon and let’s use them all the time next year… Falcons shock most this weekend and come back with a win


September 25th, 2009
5:54 pm

Look for Michael Jenkins to have an impact. NE will be busting it to take away Tony and Roddy. And Tony is STILL a mismatch for all but a few linebackers and safeties in the league. I see them doubling Tony, and Jenkins running lots of delayed routes in the middle.

I like our chances, but the “mystique” thing worries me. CMS has to get that out of their heads. I think he will.


September 25th, 2009
5:59 pm

No pressure on Brady, means no win for Falcons…period. Those front 4 need to be able to get there and if not, you have to send more. Welker being hurt is a big break for us.


September 25th, 2009
6:13 pm

A championship qb would pull it out. Let’s see what Matty is made of!


September 25th, 2009
6:15 pm

If Steve Smith got 130 yards – how much will Welker, Moss and Watson will get?

The defensive line is thin up front and now no Jerry to stuff the run, Taylor is going to run wild and open up the deep ball.


September 25th, 2009
6:20 pm

If anybody knows anything about Bill Bellichick is that he is going to make the Falcons attack 1-dimensional.

He is going to stuff the run, put his quickest linebacker to spy Gonzalez.

Then he is going to dare Matt to beat him.


September 25th, 2009
6:48 pm

Wow, Bill Simmons, the biggest Pat fan of all, has picked the Falcons to win outright and cover that -4 spread.

I’m surprised, but pleased.

I guess HE thinks ole’ noodle arm will come through.

Brian Hunt

September 25th, 2009
7:52 pm

The Patriots tend to try to take advantage of a defense’s weakness, so I expect that the Falcon defense is going to see a lot of the Patriot Running Backs early and often. The Falcons are better on defense this season, but they still give up 5.1 yards per rush. Everyone is thinking that Brady will be the difference in this game if the Falcons loose, but I think it will be Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney. The Patriots would like nothing better than a huge time of possession advantage to keep Matt Ryan and Crew on the side line.


September 25th, 2009
8:03 pm

Look for the Falcons to establish the run with Turner and Snelling. They will keep Brady and Moss off the field. This is a statement game which could spring board our whole season.


September 25th, 2009
8:26 pm

I hope our coaches realize that it will be raining on Sunday in Foxboro. Forcast is 90% chance of rain.
I hope we bring the proper shoes.
Go Michael Turner !!!Enter your comments here


September 25th, 2009
8:32 pm

i remember that game up in foxboro back in 98. oj santiago broke out the “dirty bird”… that win catapulted the falcons to a 13-3 magical year. this year’s team is a much younger more talented bunch.

look out for the new improved version of the “dirty bird”.. heh

Burger Brian

September 25th, 2009
8:44 pm

OMG ~ if that Friday injury report is to be believed, Bellichick may need to suit up! How lucky would we be if both Moss and Welker are out or at the very least ~ less than 100% ~ which sounds likely!!! I’m feelin really good about this!


September 25th, 2009
8:47 pm

Doin’ the Falcons Stomp – This is what we have for Tom Brady and the rest of the league:


September 25th, 2009
8:50 pm

Enter your comments here


September 25th, 2009
8:53 pm

Burger Brian

That’s what Belichick wants the Falcons to believe.

There is no way Moss or Welker will miss this game.

You guys need to take this butt whipping like a man!

Burger Brian

September 25th, 2009
9:09 pm

MWWHPWT ~ Make sure you are on this blog Monday. Butt whippin or not ~ I will be here giving you ~ your due or take yours “like a man”. Fair enuff?


September 25th, 2009
9:19 pm

That’s a deal buddy.

Is This For Real?

September 25th, 2009
9:31 pm

Posted by Mike Florio on September 25, 2009 4:29 PM ET, NBC Sports

“The good news for the Patriots is that receiver Wes Welker, who missed last week’s loss to the Jets with a knee injury, is expected to play on Sunday against the Falcons.
The bad news is that, out of the blue (perhaps it’s a blue moon), receiver Randy Moss appears on the injury report as questionable, due to a back problem that kept him from practicing on Friday.
A total of eleven Patriots, including Welker and Moss, are questionable. The others are tight end Chris Baker (ankle) cornerback Darius Butler, who popped up on the report today with a thigh injury, center Dan Connolly (back), receiver Julian Edelman (ankle), safety Brandon Meriweather (ankle), defensive lineman Myron Pryor (calf), receiver Matthew Slater (elbow), defensive back Shawn Springs, who popped up today with a knee injury, and cornerback Terrence Wheatley (knee).
Also, and to no surprise, quarterback Tom Brady is probable with a right shoulder injury.”

WTF, are we supposed to believe that nearly half of the Pats are injured? Maybe Belicheat is trying a new tactic, deception. It will be interesting to see who plays and how effectively. No mercy Falcons, hit them hard while they are down. 3-0 would be so sweet and it is likely if half of this injury report is accurate.

GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!


September 25th, 2009
9:41 pm

Thanks Orlando for the update on Tye Hill. Mr. WET HIS PANTS I hope the Pats do indeed put their quickest linebacker to try and cover Tony Gonzalez cause then Ryan can give the ball to Turner and hit the area vacated by that backer. By the way Mr. WET HIS PANTS, I cannot recall a linebacker this year that has prevented Tony G. from catching a pass. Sautee I agree with your comment. willie, you are exactly right, we must find a way to put pressure on Tom Terrific. Tony Gonzalez live your dream. Atlanta 34 New England 30

"Charles", The Original

September 25th, 2009
10:06 pm

In the first game of the year, the Miami Dolphins couldn’t muster the strength to overcome four turnovers as the Atlanta Falcons beat the Dolphins 19-7. Falcons’ DE Kroy Biermann forced QB Chad Pennington to fumble. The football was recovered by DT Jonathan Babineau. QB Chad Pennington completed a pass to TE Anthony Fasano at the Falcons’ 10 yard line. He was hit by LB Mike Peterson and fumbled the football. CB Brian Williams recovered the fumble and returned the football to the Dolphins’ 31 yard line. LB Mike Peterson intercepted a Chad Pennington pass at the Falcons’ 41 yard line and returned the football to the Dolphins’ 20. QB Chad Pennington completed a pass to TE Anthony Fasano at the Dolphins’ 34 yard line. He was hit by LB Mike Peterson and LB Curtis Lofton fumbling the ball at the Dolphins’ 37. It was recovered by DT Jonathan Babineau.

Atlanta Falcons showed they could win last year under almost impossible odds, four turnovers. This year, other teams must show what they are made of. The Miami Dolphins failed the test: The Atlanta Falcons 19 and the Miami Dolphins 7.

In the second game of the year, the Carolina Panthers turned the ball over three times. CB Brian Williams blocked a punt that was recovered by Mike Peterson and returned to mid-field. And LB Mike Peterson forced RB DeAngelo Williams to fumble the football at the Carolina 44 yard line. The football was recovered by the Falcons’ FS Thomas DeCoud at the Panthers’ 48 yard line. And CB Chris Houston intercepted QB Jake Delhomme’s pass at the Falcons’ 3 yard line. It was intended for WR Steve Smith.

In the end, the Panthers were left praying, Hail Mary. But their prayers weren’t answered. The Atlanta Falcons won 28-20.

On Sunday, look for Matt Ryan, Michael Turner, Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Marty Booker, Brian Finneran, Jerious Norwood, and Jason Snelling to cause the New England Patriots to die of a thousand cuts. And look for the Falcons’ impressive offensive line to take charge and dominate the line of scrimmage. Let the fat lady begin to sing, “Hang down your head Tom Brady”…

The Atlanta Falcons will win, 33-24.

I didn’t forget about perennial Pro Bowl TE Tony Gonzalez. He has something to prove to his teammates in each of the 16 games and beyond. So far, he’s proved something to his teammates in games one and two. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.


September 25th, 2009
11:34 pm

matt wet his pants must be bad news hahaha wuta loser bug called u out otha day in been changin name ever since too funny


September 25th, 2009
11:49 pm

Let’s go Team!


September 26th, 2009
12:05 am

Belichick playing with Smitty’s head, that’s funny :)


September 26th, 2009
12:09 am

I’m getting sick and tired of all these Vick interviews!
First it’s 60 Minutes, now ESPN, The NFL Network.

OMG aren’t there anymore quarterbacks that the public want to hear about?