Exclusive: VanGorder, Lewis discuss improved defense

Falcons safety William Moore, right, picks up a fumble by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Associated Press

Falcons safety William Moore, right, picks up a fumble by Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis. Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH –  We checked defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and secondary coach Tim Lewis for a Sunday story on the improved play of the defense.

The unit is leading the league in interceptions with 10, by nine different players. They have 11 sacks by six different players.

“I think it’s a product of playing fast,” VanGorder said.  ”Again, for some of our younger players the game is slowing down for them. They are seeing things better. But mainly it comes from a group playing hard and playing faster.”

The Falcons have faced starting quarterback Dennis Dixon, Derek Anderson, Drew Brees, Alex Smith and Seneca Wallace. They are getting ready to face Kevin Kolb on Sunday.

It’s unclear if the unit will be able to sustain its high-level of play when they face top-shelf quarterbacks.

“Guys have to come in every week and continue to approach everything from a professional level to get some consistency in how they perform,” VanGorder said. “They have to work in practice and right through the week as we prepare for a game.”

Defensive tackle Corey Peters, the team’s third round draft pick, has been solid.

“He’s still has a lot of work to do, but he’s a good young player,” VanGorder said. “He’s been real solid for us here through five games.”

The pass defense will have to hold up over the long haul.

“It starts with a good pass rush,” VanGorder said. “The pass rush has been more consistent this year. Again, you guys like to look at sacks and we like sacks too, but pressure on quarterbacks and how you effect the quarterback has been real solid for us.”

VanGorder has been pleased with first round pick Sean Weatherspoon, too. However, he’s likely to miss Sunday’s game against the

William Moore may get to a start against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

William Moore may get to a start against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Eagles.

“The addition of Sean Weatherspoon has been good for us in a number of situations in game,” VanGorder said. “There are a lot of guys doing a good job right now.”

Lewis is a former defensive coordinator and was brought in to oversee the remaking of the secondary.

“Leading the league in interception thing is a by product of a bunch of different things,” Lewis said. “The defensive line is doing a fantastic job of rushing the passer and affecting him.  The signal caller, Brian is doing a great job of calling the plays and putting them in position to make plays and we’ve been lucky. Sometimes it bounces the right way.”

The staff went ahead an announced that William Moore had won the starting strong safety job this week. Erik Coleman was injured in the Pittsburgh game, but has been active for the last two games.

“We are fortunate to have two really good football players in Erik and William,” Lewis said.  ”William got an opportunity to go in when Erik was injured and is doing a fantastic job. He brings size, strength and speed, all that skill that you need to be successful at that position. He’s made some plays.

“It’s just like everything else, you don’t want to upset the apple cart if the guy has a hot hand. You just keep rolling with him and that’s what we’ve done. He’s done a good job of assuming the role. He works very hard and diligent.”

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93 comments Add your comment

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
3:55 pm

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
3:57 pm

OK….I got that out of the way.
Now I am worry about the mised tackles by the Falcons on defence. N E 1 else wory about this?

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
4:00 pm

I also forgot 2 mention that Witherspoon is looking to be another draft pick bust 4 the Falcons. He is injury prone and cant stay out of the training room

JOEinPHX

October 15th, 2010
4:02 pm

JTFH wrote ‘FIST!’

Somehow, that just says it all.

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
4:07 pm

Why dont u buy some manners. No need to call me names

real12real

October 15th, 2010
4:10 pm

D. Robinson is 1 of the keys to the secondary, QBs and D. Coordinators try to not to target him, which allows the other CBs to shine. Grimes is playing quietly but confident. But the main key to this success; the D-Line!

real12real

October 15th, 2010
4:11 pm

Wow, kids. I thought this was about football.

Chris

October 15th, 2010
4:11 pm

JTFH, You continue to harp on moronic issues like TO and now Spoon.
Support your team and be a real fan instead of complaining EVERYTIME!
It’s gotten very old…

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
4:13 pm

Im just xpressing my opinon and if u disagree fine but no need 2 call me names Spoon is a bust if he cant stay healthy.
Nuff said

Chris

October 15th, 2010
4:14 pm

Spoon is going to be fine. Try not to forget he is a rookie.
Big jump from college ball. He’s a hell of a talent so far.

Whats Important

October 15th, 2010
4:18 pm

Joe Tess Fish House: Just a little ray of sunshine aren’t you Joe.

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
4:22 pm

My mom things Im cool

Authur Blank

October 15th, 2010
4:31 pm

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
4:13 pm
Im just xpressing my opinon and if u disagree fine but no need 2 call me names Spoon is a bust if he cant stay healthy.
Nuff said

no need to call spoon names, wonder what he’ll call you…

Chris

October 15th, 2010
4:31 pm

things Im cool?
I give up.

Dwayne

October 15th, 2010
4:36 pm

Joe, your Mom wants you to get a job and move out of the basement. You are right Joe, no need to call names. Give Sean some time, how long did Norwood stick around before he was RIGHTFULLY called a bust. Inuries happen. Spained knee? No biggie, sit him a game.

Resign or Resign?

October 15th, 2010
4:40 pm

JTFH:

What are your “mom things”?

cejay

October 15th, 2010
4:40 pm

Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
3:55 pm

FIST!!
—————————–

classic…..

CRod.

October 15th, 2010
4:41 pm

Come on Joe Tess we are 4 and 1
GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!

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Joe Tess Fish House

October 15th, 2010
4:43 pm

Guys stop focusing on me and discus the Flacons and there problems or as some you seem 2 think that they dont have problems

Dwayne

October 15th, 2010
4:44 pm

Good point Mr. Blank, Joe, stop the name calling. You can get your point across in a more professional way. You could say, “Spoon needs to play harder due the fact he was a high draft pick and needs to show a little more consistency. I know we are only 5 games in, but the money he is receiving warrants a better effort. Injuries are part of the game and he needs to work through these minor issues. Here is hoping we do not put him in the Jerious “I’m hurt again ” Norwood catagory.”

BigGAdawg

October 15th, 2010
4:47 pm

JTFH you don’t need to buy a dictionary (with spelling like yours I have to assume you are unemployed and couldn’t afford one anyway.) You can use dictionary.com for free. You certainly should use it though. It is obvious that you are a product of the public education system. Very sad.

Pazzo

October 15th, 2010
4:53 pm

This defense has been playing stout. Kept us in every game except Arizona, frankly because they didn’t need to. I like the depth too – Lewis, Sidbury, Nicholas, and Coleman. Even Coy Wire – although I don’t think he has had much playing time this season because Lofton is just so durable. Keep it up guys! Defense wins championships!

Resign or Resign?

October 15th, 2010
4:55 pm

Joe; maybe we would be more inclined to discuss the Falcons with you if you could write more intelligently! Who respects the opinions of an illiterate?

Resign or Resign?

October 15th, 2010
4:56 pm

Does anyone know why Sidbury was inactive for the Browns game?

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

October 15th, 2010
4:58 pm

I’ll say it again; William Moore is the next Ronnie Lott!

Y’all should copy this to WORD for future reference.

Mr. Turnip-Green Jeans

October 15th, 2010
5:00 pm

Yeah, what the Hell is up with El Sid?

Steve C

October 15th, 2010
5:05 pm

JTFH – How does a sprained knee amount to being injury prone and a draft bust??? You are a Chicken Little trying to stir up crap on a blog. A draft bust is Ryan Leaf, Aundray Bruce, TIm Couch, Brian Bosworth, etc. 5 games into a guy’s career and you want to label him a bust?

GregKennesaw

October 15th, 2010
5:07 pm

JOEinPHX, Now that’s funny, i can’t stop laughing. Fish is an idiot.

JaxDawg

October 15th, 2010
5:14 pm

I hate people who always complain. falcons D reminds me of Georgia’s D back in 2002 and 2003, Nasty with a swagger

1911A1

October 15th, 2010
5:17 pm

Either JTFH is a master troll, or…

Geez, no one’s REALLY that stupid, are they?

JTFH is...

October 15th, 2010
5:19 pm

a flaming dingleberry. Go jump off the 10th street bridge. I’m tired of your shenanigans, Farva.

Chris

October 15th, 2010
5:23 pm

Nasty with a swagger…
Man, I like that!

CRod.

October 15th, 2010
5:39 pm

Enter your comments here

Samuel

October 15th, 2010
5:47 pm

Heck, I’m not worry about Spoon- injuries happen. The thing is in order to be a great consistent player, sometimes you have to play hurt. Can we say Brett Farve.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 15th, 2010
7:02 pm

Hope everybody has a great weekend.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 15th, 2010
7:07 pm

Stop all of the name calling. Let’s talk about football.

Ken Strickland

October 15th, 2010
7:10 pm

JOE TESS FISHHOUSE-Weren’t there some Falcon fans who made a big deal about DE JAbraham being a waste because he was injury prone? How did that turn out?

MC Hammer

October 15th, 2010
7:14 pm

It’s hard for me to keep up with our DL, but how has Peria Jerry been doing so far this year? He’s 100% healthy I take it. Is he behind Corey Peters?

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 15th, 2010
7:17 pm

Peria Jerry is coming along. He is playing in pass rushing situation.

MC Hammer

October 15th, 2010
7:20 pm

DOL, slightly off subject, but how might this potential 2011 lockout affect the Falcons? One of my big questions is, do all our players get their guaranteed money in 2011? Will Tony Gonzalez be ushered into retirement because of the lockout? What other implications might it have?

Falconite

October 15th, 2010
7:35 pm

Resign, Its my understanding that El Sid is just fine, he just hasn’t fully progressed to warrant him being an active player on game days. He may be this week if Abe can’t go. Remember he’s riding the pine behind Abe, Bierman, and JA98.

DePlane

October 15th, 2010
7:57 pm

Thanks for reminding the children this is a football blog D-led.

Injuries happen. Look at William Moore…he has come roaring back after a few nagging injuries and he is lighting it up right now.

The coaches seem to stick with their players and help them out during times of injury. Brian Finneran, case in point. There is loyalty in the Falcons organization. We have waited and waited for JA98 to show. It looks like he may be turning the corner. The staff stood pat when everyone was complaining about the DE and DL positions, and now they seemed to have found the chemistry that works.

Falcons, Class of the NFC

October 15th, 2010
7:58 pm

Our defense rocks this year. I’m just worried about YouKnowWho throwing a monkey wrench in our prepraration. Hopefully his arm is a wet noodle & they won’t risk his injury. I would rather not see him. But our secondary play has been great even though Robinson hasn’t looked as good as expected. However it has been reported that he’s making everyone else on defense much better. I love Moore in there & wish ‘Spoon would get going. Also Jamaal is looking rejuvenated this year.

DePlane

October 15th, 2010
8:08 pm

They picked up CPeters and it looks to have been a great move….so didn’t quite stand pat there…but JA98 is picking it up nicely when it’s his turn in the rotation. Biermann is relentless, Abe is back to his wiley ways and Babs…is well Babs. We’ve come to rely on him and he is the anchor.

Lofton is the constant hammer, Peterson a disruptive force and Spoon completes the trifecta. Nicholas is a starter in his own right and there is hardly a dropoff with him subbing for Spoon. Not as tight in coverage as I’d like and susceptible to the occasional blown coverage but a solid player.

DePlane

October 15th, 2010
8:18 pm

We have only faced one elite QB this year, I’m not sure if we have what we think we have on the corners or if it’s been the competition. But I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. They appear to be solid with DRob and Grimey. Moore and DeCoud are a formiddable duo and Coleman is no slouch…again solid depth.

Steve

October 15th, 2010
8:20 pm

Maybe some posts got deleted because I see everyone jumpin on JTFH for name calling, but all I see is him saying ‘Spoon might turn out to be a bust if he can’t stay healthy. If that is what you folks are busting on him for, you folks need to calm down. Joe is 100% correct on that, but it’s a big IF. I don’t see any problems with Spoon given most rookies rarely play basically every down, which is what he is doing. Yeah, some nagging injuries Joe, but thats all. Joe, if he does keep getting injured then yes, maybe you can label him an injury bust .. but dude, seriously, that would have to take a few years. So relax.

Ken S – I actually don’t think Abraham turned out that well at all. We overpaid for him based on his production, and I mean big time. I still love the guy, but yes, his injuries and absolute ability to disappear for long stretches make that contract look bad considering we let a run-stuffing, QB abusing, go hard every play freak walk off to Seattle when he would have loved to stay in Atlanta.

All that being said, I love these Falcons. The younger guys are playing phenomenal. The defense finally has some teeth, and not like UGA where they overrun everything. The Falcons play hard, attacking, but position solid defense. Something I haven’t seen in this state since … well … since BVG left my Dawgs high and dry a handful of years ago. The fact I still actually like BVG after that just shows how much I respect his ability to run a defense.

The Falcons have played more road games than the Saints, and looked much better so far. We also have played a tougher schedule overall. If we keep playing like this, we could win the division. If we win the division, we could clinch a bye and maybe even home field advantage. I like the sound of that.

DePlane

October 15th, 2010
8:33 pm

All in all, you have to tip your hat to BVG and Lewis for their ability to coach up the talent they have on the football field. We’ve given up a few big plays…one that sealed the deal at PIT, etc…but they appear to make the right adjustments week to week.

So far so good, 4-1, 3-0 in the NFC and 2-1 on the road ain’t bad. But the working day is never done until the bonus check comes and they have a lot of work to do to before they can think about collecting it.

I’m not sorry we likely won’t see he who shall not be named up in Philly. Don’t wish injury on anybody, but he was playing lights out.

Kolb is no small order, as he can run that offense if given time and Maclin and Jackson can fly. McCoy is a threat and is going to get some yards, we need to bottle him up. Their D plays hard, but I think we can destroy them if we can get going early. ST is going to be a big factor in this game…winning the field position battle is key. We need our ST to cleanup the blocked kicks (FG and Punts) and I don’t know who our gunner is really…Coy Wire?

DePlane

October 15th, 2010
8:41 pm

Steve, I like the sound of that too.

DePlane

October 15th, 2010
8:41 pm

Steve, I like the sound of that too.