FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey met with the media after Friday’s practice.
He discussed how he plans to get the offense on track, the vertical passing game, the rushing attack and the Arizona Cardinals.
Q: What are some of things you all can do to get the offense going, and scoring some points? (D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
A: We all have to be a little bit more consistent. As players and coaches we all have to do our jobs and pay attention to the little things. We’re not going to panic after this. We are just going to continue to try to get better and hopefully when we have drives, when we get one going it flows on from there.
Q: How does their defense look? (Roger Hendler, radio veteran)
A: They look solid. Again, it’s a 3-4 front. . . they are solid up front. Just like last week.
Q: Will you try to spread the ball around more? I know Roddy (White) got a high number of targets last week. (Jason Butt, CBSSports.com)
A: There is nothing that says throw it to Roddy this many times or Tony (Gonzalez) this many times. Really, who’s open and we are going to throw it to that spot. Really the defense dictates where the ball goes. It’s going to continue to be that way. If Roddy is the guy, Roddy is the guy. It may be somebody else this year.
Q: How do you rip the top off of defenses with the safeties dropping back. How do you get that play, that vertical play . . . (Ray Glier, freelance, New York Times and AOL)
A: It’s hard when defenses try to keep everything in front of them. What they try to do is make you sustain long drives where you can’t have an explosive play on them. They are waiting for you to make a mistake within those long drives. The one thing we’ve got to do is we have to get to the redzone and have a chance to have some plays down there where we don’t have to throw a long ball or a deep ball or a long run to score. We understand that kind of philosophy and we understand that we can’t afford to mistakes that we are capable of preventing ourselves, self-inflicted wounds is what we say.
Q: Do you have to try it anyway? Do you just throw it up there and see if you can make a play on the ball? (Glier)
A: Yeah, they are in every week. You have to take a shot. You have to hopefully throw it away from where that guy is that’s trying to prevent you from getting over the top. Those are in every week, we just have to hit them. We’ve got them in and we missed them. I’m taking about in the preseason as well.
Q: Will the Dome have an impact on your running game as well? (Hendler)
A: It’s at home. The crowd (and) everything kind of gets you energized. I’m hoping that the run game gets going a little better than it did last week. I think we all are. Again, we have to do things a little better to make that happen. Playing at home and playing in there will make
for some good energy.
Q: Some of the guys mentioned this week that Pittsburgh’s 3-4 is different than Arizona’s 3-4. What do you see as some of the differences? (Jay Adams, AtlantaFalcons.com)
A: . . .There are different adjustments based on what you do with your formations, motions and things like that. Pittsburgh’s front has been doing it forever. They are a little different from the way they two-gap compared to what Arizona does. There are some differences and some techniques that we have to be sharp on.
Q: How do you account for (Darnell) Dockett? He moves around for them. (Ledbetter)
A: Really, on first and second down he’s going to be to our right, at least based on film. He’s to our right as their left defensive end. You have to be aware of where he is at all times. He’s that disruptive of player. We feel like he can be a game wrecker if we allow it to happen. We’ve hopefully done some things to prevent that from happening with the run game and protections.
Q: Do they jump around a little bit more in the 3-4. Do they get up field a little more? (Glier)
A: A little more. Pittsburgh is a little more of a skater. . .they really do a good job with their D-ends. These guys are little more penetrating, a little more, based on down and distance and what the situation is. If it’s second-and-long, you see more penetrating pass
rush mode from these guys compared to a Pittsburgh type front.
Q: If you all can run the ball better does that fix that safety problem? (John Manasso, FoxSportSouth.com)
A: That fixes a lot of things. It certainly helps in the flow of things. It certainly helps the play calling flow, if you can get some good chunks on first and second down. If you are hitting a wall, it’s hard to get into a flow for them, for me, for everybody. I think it opens up a lot things if we can get it going.
Q: Adrian Wilson had a big week last week. How do you all account for him? (Ledbetter)
A: He’s a really good player. That he had a big week last week really doesn’t surprise me. He’s another guy like Dockett that you have to be aware of. Where is he? What do we have to do to make sure he’s not a factor and have an influence in the outcome of this game. Because he can, like he did last week. He’s a good player.
Q: They talk about defense and you take what the defense gives you. Can you come and dictate to the defense, we’re going to make you play this? (Glier)
A: You can do that. Is that our intent? Yeah, that’s our intent almost every week, to see if we can get them into specific fronts and specific coverages. Get them out flanked here or there with a shift or a motion. (You might use) a new cadence trying to take advantage of guys that are jumping the snap. We are always somehow trying to get an advantage on them. That is kind of the M.O. every time that we go into the game is to get them out of their comfort zone.
Q: Dockett is the guy? (Glier)
A: He’s the guy. He does (like to jump the snap) and he does a good job of it.