Mike Smith breaks down the Panthers

Head coach Mike Smith helps with the scouting report on the Panthers. (Curtis Compton/ Ccompton@ajc.com)

Head coach Mike Smith helps with the scouting report on the Panthers. (Curtis Compton/ Ccompton@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons coach Mike Smith breaks down the Panthers for us:

Q: How much of Carolina’s offensive scheme comes from (offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s) days in San Diego and how much from his Cleveland days?

A: I think that there’s actually Cleveland and San Diego, but there’s also some Auburn-tinge to it as well in terms of that they run the read option, the read plays that their quarterback is familiar with. It’s been a challenge this week in terms of our preparation. It’s something that you don’t normally see and it’s very hard to simulate. But we’ve worked through it these three days and we look forward to going out there and trying to defend our turf.

Q: Carolina’s has been hit hard at linebacker, how’s the trio of Dan Conner (MLB), Jason Williams (WLB) and James Anderson (SLB) playing?

A: They lost the two players that you mentioned (Jon Beason and Thomas Davis) and the guys that have come in have come in and done a nice job. I think that they’re flying around. Ron (Rivera) and (offensive coordinator) Sean McDermott have done a really good job and we can see each and every week, they’re expanding their defensive repertoire. We’re somewhat familiar with it because of Sean’s time with Philadelphia. Of course, we’ve played Philadelphia the last couple of years.

Q: Have teams had success bracketing WR Steve Smith?

A: I don’t know that they do it exclusively. Again, based on the situation, teams have tried to roll their coverage that way, but he is their leading receiver. I think he’s having a really good start to the season and we know what kind of competitor he is. He creates all kind of issues. Normally, he lines up as the ‘X’ receiver, but they will move him around in different spots when they try to feature him and get him the ball.

Q: How often does Carolina use two tight end sets with Jeremy Shockey and Greg Olsen?

A: Quite a bit. What we call 12 personnel, the two tight end sets with one back. On first and second down, it is the most prevalent package and again that creates some issues because of the two tight ends. Both of them are very athletic. They’re moving both of them. They don’t have necessarily one guy who is playing the down tight end and one who’s moving. That will create issues for defenses in the front seven.

Q: How are they using the running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart?

A: Both of those guys are big, strong and fast running backs and it’s about 50-50. I think you’re going to see one more in running situations and one more in passing situations. For the most part, we’ve got to make sure that we stop the run and that’s going to be our number one objective. We don’t want them to be able to run the football and last week, they got the run game rolling.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

88 comments Add your comment

Marcus

October 14th, 2011
5:16 am

how do you keep getting up this early!?!? LOL.
Let’s hope Smittys breakdown leads to a breakout vs. CAR. Go Falcons!

Marcus

October 14th, 2011
5:17 am

oh, yeah .. congrats on the Howard win, spoiling my FAMU’s homecoming :( utterly shocking.

Marcus

October 14th, 2011
5:22 am

3rd thing …. what is it that ESPN commentator Trent Dilfer has against the Falcons? I know Roddy and he had words about the playoffs last year, but for some reason he has an obvious distaste for the construct of the Falcons as a team, and it showed last nite on the ESPN show ‘Audibles’ (basically roundtable of former NFL players/coaches answering Twitter/Facebook submitted fan questions) when someone dropped a tweet about the Falcons.

Gray Mule

October 14th, 2011
5:23 am

With the Falcon’s “No pass defense” scheme and facing the most
explosive new QB in the NFL, what can we expect?
With an offensive coordenator who says, “I never second guess anything I do”
what can we expect?

Gray Mule

MountainMan

October 14th, 2011
6:20 am

Panthers in blowout.

The Real Falcon

October 14th, 2011
6:34 am

Hey DOL, since this is a word by word blog of the one on AtlantaFalcons.com does that mean this is a passed out transcript given to the media?
Just asking.

ME TOO

October 14th, 2011
7:07 am

Marcus, what did he say on ESPN?

just sayin'

October 14th, 2011
7:08 am

gonna be interesting to see how coach clean shot and robinson handle s smith…only way robinson gets a shot at smith if there is the ball is thrown as a underneath crossing route..otherwise, robinson’s gonna be waving at him as he flashes by after that 10yd cushion…

Michael M.

October 14th, 2011
7:13 am

Panthers are gonna blow up the Dome ! Is Fema ready ?

Michael M.

October 14th, 2011
7:19 am

Atlanta Falcons should be ashame of theirselves after blowing that lead last week and not finishing off GB…….saw where one of the receivers said for GB they hope they didnt have to play Atlanta again this year !

Michael M.

October 14th, 2011
7:32 am

Put Georgia Tech in the Birds Uniforms Sunday and they { Falcons} might have a chance !

PMC

October 14th, 2011
8:31 am

I feel cautiously optimistic. I think this game will be relatively close and high scoring.

Falcon James

October 14th, 2011
8:35 am

the falcon gots another tough game. hard to believe the falcon is actual worse now than we over paid dunta!

PMC

October 14th, 2011
8:41 am

If they lose this game Sunday, and we here the same comments again next week, they’re going to start seeing Tampa style crowds.

The process isn’t a selling point in the 4th year.

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
9:12 am

This game should be a blow out but Mularkey will keep it close with his pathetic play calling.. Thanks Mike!!

Rev Blake

October 14th, 2011
9:14 am

Agree that this game is going to be tough. I have a bad feeling (like last week). This is not meant to be personal, but how does an organization justify keeping the same defensive coordinator who consistently keeps this team in the bottom of the statistics each year he has coached?

Mularkey, also, is letting his arrogance (total opposite of confidence, btw) get in the way of this team.

Ryan’s new QB coach seems to have undone everything that was instilled in this promising kid. Bottom line, changes need to be made.

TroupDawg

October 14th, 2011
9:19 am

Just a thought here guys. In the offseason, approach Cleveland with for a Matt Ryan trade, ask for Peyton Hillis, aand 1st and 2nd round pick in the upcoming draft. Sign Carson Palmer in FA ( he should be a FA after sitting out season ) Draft a LT and strong arm QB .

Try and get a couple of 3rd round picks for Turner and Baker.

Just a wild hair thought that looks good on paper…..

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
9:20 am

Hi Rev, I don’t blame BVG as much as I do MM.

Let’s be honest here our offense is LOADED. We are built around our offensive being explosive and it has no been under MM and this even goes back to last year..

On the Defense, look at our personnel. They are just a bunch of average players trying their best to play a bend not break defense.
- I thought they played well enough to beat TB and they keep us in the GB game.

But again our offense needs to start scoring!

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
9:22 am

TroupDawg, let’s stay on point with discussions based on reality and this week’s game.. thanks

TroupDawg

October 14th, 2011
9:23 am

Hmmm totally wrecked a sentence in previous post. “Approach Cleveland with a trade of Matt Ryan for Peyton Hillis, 1st and 2nd round picks in up coming draft” that’s better.

TroupDawg

October 14th, 2011
9:24 am

why and listen to the same ole same ole?? This reality story is old and needs a new page.

Fire Mularkey!`

October 14th, 2011
9:25 am

Falcons have no chance whatsoever of beating Carolina! For the sake of god take the Panther’s and the points!

Atlanta is awful.. Simply awful.

TroupDawg

October 14th, 2011
9:27 am

Title to this article should be ” Mike Smith and Co break down Falcons”

Rev Blake

October 14th, 2011
9:29 am

Hello, ctfalconsfan. Agree with your assessment of the offense. I think MM could right this ship if he would simply trust the skill set of his players.

BVG was a good college coach, but I think his soft-zone, conservative schemes are hurting us. Granted, we stayed with Tampa, but look at the Seattle game. Green Bay, also came from behind and scored 24 unanswered points in a short amount of time.

Seems like either the coaches must be willing to change or else this season is in serious trouble.

just sayin'

October 14th, 2011
9:33 am

why fire mm….he has built an offense around a weak armed qb who is only accurate 15yds in…with mt not ‘burning’ anymore the opposing D can sit on the short routes knowing melt is inaccurate with his floaters and has NO touch downfield…he has to throw everything with all he has to get the ball into the air downfield…when he does that, if it’s a post, then the db’s can converge because it’s floating..if it’s to the sideline, the ballboy, or redman, has a better chance of catching it than the intended WR because it’s usually high and out of bounds……

Farnsworthy

October 14th, 2011
9:33 am

The big cats will devour the birds and leave their feathers strewn all over the field.

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
9:41 am

farnsworthy..lol… ATL will bury this team as we always do!! If we open up the offense we should win 38-17 but not sure MM can take a lead and try to increase it versus trying to ground it out..

Nik

October 14th, 2011
9:44 am

If our offense is “loaded” how do we go three quarters without a score…?

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
9:47 am

nik.. please ask ur question to MM

TroupDawg

October 14th, 2011
9:56 am

ctfalconfan – Nik can’t ask MM, remember he said earlier in the week that “they try to score on every possession”. Not his fault according to him. Execution ( aka players fault ) for not scoring.

SirReal

October 14th, 2011
10:00 am

Smitty should have been asked ” Do you plan to take a 14 point lead and sit on it like a goose egg again so you can blow another game?”

TroupDawg

October 14th, 2011
10:01 am

Nik – The Falcons can be “loaded” as any team can be, but if you don’t have a trigger and trigger man, it will always just be “loaded”.

old qb

October 14th, 2011
10:02 am

If Turner can’t get to the hole faster and Ryan can’t accurately throw deep it will be a very long day. Carolina is going to play tough and Steve Smith always eats Falcons’ secondary.
Oh well, we’ll see if Kerry Meier has a future at WR if nothing else.

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
10:06 am

Nik, loaded is having 5 offensive Pro Bowlers (not counting alternates) then add Julio Jones!!

We are fully Loaded but as TROUPDAWG correctly points out we don’t have the right trigger man!!

MM must be fired!!

PMC

October 14th, 2011
10:06 am

There’s plenty of blame to go around to all parties. That said, no team has been affected more adversely by the lockout than this one.

The fluff at Buford was just that….. fluff. The bill of goods we were sold about talent was just incorrect. They are fine at skill positions, not brilliant, but solid. The core pieces on the lines just aren’t very good.

If they don’t beat the Panthers, officially push the panic(blow out the coordinators) button.

PMC

October 14th, 2011
10:13 am

This team is like watching Scarface. Slow growth people. Small steps, foundation….

Instead….we say forget the Columbians…. We go strait to the source. Julio Jones. FTW the WORLD IS OURS!!!!

Nevermind we can’t sack anyone which doesn’t bode well for an essentially awful secondary. Nevermind our left tackle is woefully miscast. Nevermind our Center is 300 years old. Nevermind the OL can’t really so much pass block.

It’s just a sad story an ambitious hard working impoverished team comes to the NFL to live the American Dream of winning a super bowl, only to take the wrong path and fall into the netherworld of thinking ONE player was going to make the difference in a flawed life.

Oh Brian Depalma, couldn’t you write a better end for the firey Falcons than this?

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
10:15 am

PMC how have we been affected by the lockout more than the other 31 teams? I have heard this arguement but all 32 teams had the same amount of time to prepare for this season.

PMC

October 14th, 2011
10:21 am

CT, They have lacked the cohesion and discipline that they had the last 3 years. Clearly the OL did not work out in the same manner this off season, they are not in the same shape even with the scheme change. The same chemistry is not there. This team had very very few changes, and didn’t really have but a couple of draft picks. I don’t buy Harvey Dahl as the missing piece of this line, they were never great, what they did was play well together, because they had good chemistry and they spent a lot of time together. They haven’t looked like they were ready for the season all year. Awful preseason, Awful start. They don’t look like the same team. A big part of that is how much work they lost this summer. Especially the young defense, Dunta didn’t really practice at all either in the summer because of injury.

At this point, they should be looking to cut Dunta and cut their losses, no one is trading for that contract and he’s killing them. At least if he’s cut they can go sign a couple of guys to take his place in the offseason.

PMC

October 14th, 2011
10:23 am

If Cam comes in here and beats them. This season is effectively over. Playoffs are not a good enough goal for this group. NFC championship game or major changes. No, they aren’t allowed a big time setback year because of that horrid showing in the playoffs last year.

DC Dirty Bird

October 14th, 2011
10:31 am

MM should be fired if a) he can’t design a scheme around the talent we have on offense b) he signed off on keeping Michael Turner as the starting RB w/o a more athletic and complete back up (Cadillac Williams, Marion Barber, Kevin Williams, Ronnie Brown were all free agents) c) he can’t figure out that the screen pass is used to slow down the pass rush d) he continues to allow our offense to get stuffed by some of the worst defenses in the league.

Does the Bears defense look so tough after what Green Bay, Carolina, and Detroit did to them.

DC Dirty Bird

October 14th, 2011
10:33 am

Kevin Smith not Kevin Williams

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
10:34 am

PMC I’m sure every team had changes in the offseason and had to come together quickly without getting as many reps together as possible, but that’s how it goes…

Regarding Dunta I wish we would allow him to play more bump and run and see if that makes a difference for him. Grimes certainly needs to play soft as he’s smaller but he can close quicker. I want to see Dunta stand receivers up at the line then let’s see. I think the system he is in has been a poor one for him..

SirReal

October 14th, 2011
10:51 am

@DC Dirty Bird You pretty much summed it up man. I used to be really high on Turner….but it does seem like he’s missing something now and on the decline. I wonder if they are keeping him at starter b/c of the $…..its ALLLLLways about the $.smh

ctfalconsfan

October 14th, 2011
12:43 pm

we haven’t had any posts in almost 2 hours……..

SRF

October 14th, 2011
1:06 pm

Few posts because there is not much left to say… This team is mediocre. Nothing to see here, no playoffs, no stars…. just bleh

Geo Woelfel

October 14th, 2011
1:20 pm

I don’t think the Falcons have recovered from last years playoff blowout…and then get beaten again by the Packers last week…. What do we have to do to …all the coach’s we can win it all attitude is getting to be like a broken record.The synergy is fading……

goodgod

October 14th, 2011
1:31 pm

maybe when cam newton throws a pass at the sidelines, matt can catch it and see what a football throw feels like from a real quarterback. i’m sure even cam’s throwaway will be longer than matt short passes. good news, matt will have the best seat in the house to see how cam newton does it. since matt is immobile in the pocket the coaches can give him a new weapon, the stiff arm technique.

saintbim

October 14th, 2011
1:34 pm

whats up failcon fans? never mind answering I can read.

Jbouche

October 14th, 2011
1:34 pm

Falcons decided they wanted to stretch the field more, but Ryan can’t handle it. He needs to be in a run-heavy, short pass offense. I think the Julio Jones draft-day trade will go down as the worst decision that organization has made in a while, gave up a lot of potential talent at multiple positions for that kid. No doubt he was worth being picked where he was, but not by way of that trade. I say the Panthers win by 6

DC Dirty Bird

October 14th, 2011
1:38 pm

@ctfalconsfan, I concur regarding Dunta. Look how Nmandi Asoghma looks in Philly now. He’s a man corner being forced to play too much zone.