FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey is getting his unit ready to face the No. 1 ranked defense in the league.
The Houston Texans are giving up just 268.4 yards per game and are second in the league in points allowed at 16.3. They have held five straight opponents to 14 points are less.
In our weekly chat on Tuesday, we talked about how some of the key players are doing, the no-huddle attack, Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and the Texans’ playmakers.
ON HIS ASSESSMENT OF MATT RYAN’S PLAY AGAINST THE VIKINGS: Very good. He had a high completion percentage. It could have been higher. . . Matt is just operating at a really high level right now and putting us in good situations in our no-huddle. He’s really done a great job with that. He spends a lot of time preparing and you can see it show up on film.
ON RODDY WHITE PLAYING AT A HIGH LEVEL: Roddy probably had his most complete game of the year. I say that for just about everything. In the run game and everything, he was just a factor. That’s important in our offense. It was good to see Roddy get involved like he did. He made some plays and he really made some plays after the catch, too.
ON HARRY DOUGLAS’ PLAY AS OF LATE: Harry has been a factor I think all year. He really has played well for us. You can tell (the difference from) Harry coming off of an injury and coming in here healthy and knowing the offense. We are putting a little more on his plate. He handled a little more when Julio was not in there. He’s really stepped up when his number has been called. He’s been really good.
ON JACQUIZZ RODGERS BIG FOURTH QUARTER RUN: Huge run. He just seems to make the plays when we need them. . . You have to give him credit for his size, he does move piles. When we needed something, especially at the end of games, he’s really come up big for us.
ON WHAT MAKES WADE PHILLIPS’ 3-4 SO HARD TO DECIPHER: It’s not hard to decipher. We know where they are going to be. They are not complicated by any means. They play the scheme extremely well. They have the personnel to play the scheme extremely well and they play at a very high level with effort and intensity. It will be a great challenge and matchup for us. But they are not very difficult to decipher.
CAN YOU LEARN ANYTHING FROM GOING AGAINST HIS DALLAS TEAM A COUPLE YEARS AGO: There are some things, but you just kind of have to look at everything. Wherever he’s been, if it’s been with the Falcons, other guys on our staff have been facing him somewhere. We look back and see if there is anything that we can find that will help give us an advantage.
HOW DID JULIO JONES LOOK IN HIS FIRST GAME BACK: He’s doing good. He obviously didn’t get many chances. There was that deep ball. There were other opportunities there for him to get the ball, but Matt just . . . we were emphasizing ‘take what the defense is giving you’ and that’s been important. Matt did that. But there were opportunities there for Julio. Julio really helped block in the run game. He helped with some of the coverages by getting other guys open. He plays at a high level for us. He’ll have his numbers and his day. That was a day where his production was more in the run game.
WHO ARE THE PLAYMAKERS ON HOUSTON’S DEFENSE: Their front seven and (cornerback Johnathan) Joseph, who they brought in from Cincinnati. He’s having a really good year and has helped them secondary-wise. There are really, overall, a very good defense. If there is something missing here of there, it’s made up for by effort. They are pretty darn sound.
WHAT DO YOU SEE FROM HOUSTON’S CONNOR BARWIN? He’s high energy. High motor. Great hands. He can create problems for you if you’re not smart going into it with your protections. He’s just a really good player out there on the edge.
ON J.J. WATT, THE ROOKIE DEFENSIVE END: I think he’s having a great year, too. This isn’t your typical two-gap hold up (guy). These guys are making sacks based on their ability to get off and shed blocks. It’s a very good defense in getting off blocks and they are very good tacklers. We have to do a good job of staying on blocks and he’s a hard guy to stay on because he’s just so active and he’s very good with techniques. He’s just got an endless amount of energy and he just keeps coming. He was a great draft pickup and we have to reckon with him.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog