Atlanta Falcons: Preview of the Denver Broncos

New Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, center, is flanked by Broncos owner Pat Bowlin, left, and vice president John Elway during a news conference at the NFL Denver Broncos headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (Associated Press)

New Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, center, is flanked by Broncos owner Pat Bowlin, left, and vice president John Elway during a news conference at the NFL Denver Broncos headquarters in Englewood, Colo., on Tuesday, March 20, 2012. (Associated Press)

(AJC Staff Michael Cunningham attended the coordinators’ press conference for us on Wednesday and gathered the quotes for this blog. It was my 20th wedding anniversary and well, I thought I’d better take the Queen out and celebrate. –dol)

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will be in a battle of wits with his former boss Jack Del Rio on Monday.

Del Rio, the former head coach in Jacksonville, is currently in his first season as Denver’s defensive coordinator.

“I will always have part of me that holds — Jack gave me my first opportunity in the NFL— so I will always be indebted to him for that,” Koetter said. “But this is a players’ game and we are both in new situations. We are both trying to earn our way with new teams. It’s nothing more than that.”

In this preview of Denver, the Falcons coordinators – Koetter, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong — break down the Broncos’ offense, defense and special teams. We don’t get into Peyton Manning too much here because the great Steve Hummer is working on a big Sunday story on that subject.

DEFENSE

LDE Derek Wolfe, Malik Jackson

LDT Keith Vickerson, Sealver Siliga

RDT Justin Bannan,  Mitch Unrein

RDE Elvis Dumervil, Robert Ayers

WLB Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking, Danny Trevathan

MLB Joe Mays, Steven Johnson

SLB Von Miller, Nate Irving

CB Champ Bailey, Tony Carter

SS Mike Adams, Quinton Carter, David Bruton

FS Rahim Moore, Jim Leonhard

CB Tracy Porter, Chris Harris, Omar Bolden

KOETTER ON STOPPING VON MILLER: Denver actually has two really good speed rushers in [Elvis] Dumervil on one side and Von Miller on the other. Every team would love to have two pass rushers like that. I think [they had] a little over 20 sacks between the two of them. That’s going to be one of our issues. Every week in the NFL there is a new set of issues and that’s one of our big issues for this week. You’ve got to rise up to whatever challenge is out there and that’s definitely a big one.

ON FACING TWO SEASON CORNERS IN CHAMP BAILEY AND TRACY PORTER: Champ Bailey’s career speaks for itself. That guy is the ultimate pro. Our coaches and players have a ton of respect for him and we will be trying to beat him on Monday night. Porter is a guy our guys are familiar with from his time with the Saints. He had a big play last week against Pittsburgh. He’s got a knack for making big plays. We have definitely got to neutralize that. I know our guys will be eager for the challenge.

OFFENSE

WR Demaryius Thomas, Matt Willis

TE Joel Dreessen, Jacob Tamme, Julius Thomas

LT Ryan Clady, Chris Clark

LG Zane Beadles, Philip Blake

C J.D. Walton, Dan Koppen

RG Chris Kuper, Manny Ramirez

RT Orlando Franklin, Chris Clark

WR Eric Decker,  Brandon Stokley, Andre Caldwell

QB Peyton Manning, Brock Osweiler, Caleb Hanie

FB Chris Gronkowski

RB Willis McGahee,  Knowshon Moreno, Lance Ball, Ronnie Hillman

NOLAN ON HOW WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS HAS DEVELOPED: Well, last year that catch he made against Pittsburgh and then this year he did it again. I think that last year that play really sparked him, though. Because last year during the season they didn’t really have much of a passing attack because Tim [Tebow] was running the ball a lot. But that game, I think kind of inspired him to bigger things because the other night in the game [against Pittsburgh] he played extremely well. He’s a very good player. I think early on in his career he didn’t play as much or wasn’t noticed as much. But he is a talented guy that I think under Peyton [Manning] is really coming on. And obviously Peyton is feeding him the ball and that’s the real key. I know this much about Peyton, if you don’t do the right thing he’s not going to throw you the ball. The fact that he’s gotten the ball let’s you know he is doing his homework.

NOLAN ON HOW THEY ARE USING FULLBACK CHRIS GRONKOWSKI: Thus far he’s been a lead blocker. He didn’t get a lot of snaps the other day. I don’t know if that’s their base approach is to have a fullback in the game but they do it, they go to him and they use him. So it’s part of their attack.

NOLAN ON HOW MANNING IS USING HIS TIGHT ENDS: [Joel] Dreessen is in there quite a bit, as is [Jacob] Tamme. They are in there a lot. They are actually more of a 12 personnel [1 back, 2 tight ends] team than an 11 personnel [1 back, 1 tight end] team but they make the 12 look like 11 because Tamme is a very athletic guy that has got really good hands. I would imagine the quarterback has a lot of trust and confidence in him. I think he was at Indy with him before. So they have some history. The tight ends are used quite a bit.

SPECIALISTS

PK Matt Prater

P Britton Colquitt

H Britton Colquitt

PR Jim Leonhard, Eric Decker

KR Omar Bolden ,Andre Caldwell

LS Aaron Brewer

ARMSTRONG ON DRIVE STARTS VS. MANNING: You are talking about drive starts in particular, drive starts you don’t want the ball outside that 25-yard line which is our goal is to make as many plays as we can inside the 25. Most people will bring it out. You still have to cover so it will be a major factor, both that and punt cover. They’ve got some good players, obviously, guys that can run and hit. We need to be at the top of our game in particular with the coverage because that does start the series the correct way.

ON IN KICKOFF RETURNER OMAR BOLDEN IS DANGEROUS: He sure is. He does a nice job. He had the 103-yard return for a touchdown against Arizona on a “break it” so to speak, bounce play to the [open] field. He’s very fast. They are getting a lot of mileage out of him because he’s playing well at gunner, as well.

ON THEIR COVERAGE UNITS: The [David] Bruton kid is playing well as both a [personal protector] for them, the kid from Notre Dame. He can really run for them. He’s been a fast five for them on kickoff coverage. Those two are both penetrators, 30 and 31, people we need to be aware of and take them out of the game.

THE LATEST NEWS

Keith Brooking to make return to the Georgia Dome on MNF

The 2012-13 Cheerleaders swimwuit calendar is on sale

Wide receiver James Rodgers added to the practice squad

Brent Grimes out for the season

Video: What loss of Grimes means

Falcons offense makes it look easy

Still room for improvement in run game

Matt Ryan, Dirk Koetter form bond on and off the field

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

78 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

FalconFANatic

September 13th, 2012
8:12 am

FIRST! BEAT THE BRONCOS! GO FALCONS!

SimpleDawg

September 13th, 2012
8:16 am

I hope the officials check the padding on Brooking’s walker before the game…..

SirReal

September 13th, 2012
8:32 am

We will be tested early and often. Weatherspoon vs Dreesen will be a key matchup. He’s better than people think. The matchups that make me nervous are Baker Vs. Dumervil and Clabo Vs. Miller. If we can establish the run then we’ll be fine. Thunder Chunky Turner needs to step it up this week. This isn’t a 3-4 D so he should actually have decent yardage. It’s gonna end up as a shootout. Our no huddle vs theirs. Should be a game for the ages if it all lines up. I’ve been wanting to see Ryan vs Manning for a while. Whoever wins the turnover battle will win this game. Looking forward to it. Let’s go Birdland!

We Will RISE UP

September 13th, 2012
8:40 am

This is the second BIG test of the season and the third comes next week! Every and I mean EVERY game will be a test this year. Lets see how we stack up! Go getem BIRDS!

Esquire

September 13th, 2012
8:44 am

Hey, let’s hear it for AJC Staffer Michael Cunningham. Dled’s 20th wedding anniversary, congrats!

Ty Warren is out. Tracy Porter AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

Mikey

September 13th, 2012
8:44 am

This will be quite a game. They are well matched and Manning seems to be in top form. It will take a lot of points to beat him but there are holes in the Denver defense that can be exploited. I expect to see a little better run game this week to draw that great secondary up to the line so they don’t cheat on the pass. Again, the O-Line will be the key to Falcons’ success because they certainly have the rest of the offense if they can get to it. I hope they don’t concern themselves with clock control and just go for points every chance they get. The defense will have to be disruptive because Manning knows how to shred the Tampa 2 or any soft zone. This game will do a lot to tell us just how good this Falcons team is! GO FALCONS! SHOW US HOW TO BEAT PEYTON MANNING AND A GOOD DEFENSE!

Esquire

September 13th, 2012
8:59 am

Falcons No Huddle VS Denver No Huddle……………..gonna be fun!!!

falcons_in_the_house

September 13th, 2012
9:22 am

I hope that we don’t play any soft zone with Manning.. Because Top QB knows how to shred these defense…

SeenThisBFalcon

September 13th, 2012
9:29 am

IMA BE IN THE GA DOME ON MONDAY..RISING UP!!!!!!

Red Pants

September 13th, 2012
9:33 am

Peyton in a dome. Peyton v Ryan in a shootout. Should be a good one but I like my chances. You guys are right about Clabo and Baker v VonDoom being the big match-up. VonDoom wins.

Go Broncos!!!

Can’t wait to be there in orange and blue.

Denver Broncos News - 9/13/12 - BroncoTalk

September 13th, 2012
9:36 am

[...] Atlanta Falcons coaches had some things to say about the Broncos yesterday. [...]

PMC

September 13th, 2012
9:42 am

We thought we were weak at LB. Look at their depth. WOW.

PMC

September 13th, 2012
9:46 am

Matt Prater back in the ATL, we can count on what, 2 or 3 missed FG’s on Monday?

Augustabred

September 13th, 2012
9:57 am

This is going to be a tuff home game! I just hope our no huddle will tire Porter and Champ with our youth at the wideout position.

D man

September 13th, 2012
10:08 am

Vegas has ATL by 3 but the TV “experts” are leaning toward the Broncos to come in here on Monday night and win. Can’t say I blame them based on our history by this is a new team. This is a stronger better coached team. I know we will beat the Broncos Monday night.

Mitch Feldman

September 13th, 2012
10:10 am

Should be a great game between 2 solid teams, can’t wait!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwVQiGHfUJg

Red Pants

September 13th, 2012
10:17 am

Prater isn’t the same kicker he was in Atlanta. The guy has been clutch for the Broncos for 3 years now. As for tiring out Denver’s D with the no huddle…..they see the best no huddle QB of all time every day in practice. Good luck with that.

Surg

September 13th, 2012
10:31 am

Gotta get that run game going to keep the ball out of Manning’s hand. All 3 of our RBs have to get going because Turner can’t do it by himself he doesn’t have the burst to. Denver and their pass rush will cause problems if we get pass happy, but their run d is a weak link. We gotta wear that pass rush out…

PMC

September 13th, 2012
10:32 am

ATL by 3 means it’s even. Home team generally gets 3. I expect a pretty good contest.

Red Pants, welcome.

Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts

September 13th, 2012
10:34 am

Will they sell beer at the Dome?

Red Pants

September 13th, 2012
10:45 am

PMC, thanks. Looking forward to a great game. Nothing but respect for the Falcons, classy organization. I live here in Atlanta, pull for them as long as they’re not playing Denver…which of course they are this week.

Grape Nuts, greatest screen name I’ve seen on here.

15 Minutes from "Dem Hedges

September 13th, 2012
10:47 am

I noticed that the Falcons’ schedule has no back-to-back home games…who did Mr. Blank offend???

SirReal

September 13th, 2012
10:56 am

@Red Pants You’re definitely entitled to cheer for your team. Enjoy the game between two classy organizations….unlike the ignorant Aints.

Sam Baker's Back

September 13th, 2012
10:57 am

I got off last week with Hali being suspended…..time for my first true test. I think I can stack up….I think….

Surg

September 13th, 2012
10:57 am

Dem Hedges Mr. Blank’s Falcons offended every football fan in America with that two point showing we had in the playoffs. No gimmies for us this year.

PMC

September 13th, 2012
11:15 am

It’s nice to see Denver with a great QB again, but I’d be remiss not to mention that the 1998 Superbowl still hurts.

Nique

September 13th, 2012
11:22 am

We’ll learn a lo about the fight this team has & our O-Line on Monday! They held up well against a injury riddled Chiefs squad, but Monday with Evis & Von Miller coming off those corners Sam & Tyson are gonna have to man up!!! I hope Dirk’s planning to chip them with rb’s & te’s! & i think the middle of the line’s gonna have to step up & pave the way for the backs for us to dictate the flow of the game!

PMC

September 13th, 2012
11:23 am

well, 1999 anyway, the 98 season.

Big Crimson 75

September 13th, 2012
11:27 am

Falcons win this Game.
Denver’s a solid Team, but the Falcons are better.
We should score 30+ points Monday Night.
This is a game where our Rushing Offense has to step up.
Denver has pass rushers, but their Run-D is below average.
We score 30+, its up to our D to hold Denver under that @ Home!!
Falcons Win!!

Falcon James

September 13th, 2012
11:28 am

Manning is going to have a field day with Dunta, Owens, and Asante. Our front four are going to have to get to Manning. I am not sure Abraham will have enought air to go all four quarters, and Ray, well he will just occupy space. I say put Bierman in often and blitz all night.

SeenThisBFalcon

September 13th, 2012
11:34 am

FALCONS WIN THIS ONE 31-20..GET OVER IT!!!!

SeenThisBFalcon

September 13th, 2012
11:34 am

FALCONS WIN THIS ONE 31-20..GET OVER IT!!!!

explosive Falcon

September 13th, 2012
11:36 am

Red Pants

September 13th, 2012
11:39 am

Big Crimson,

You have it backwards. I watch every Denver game, the rush defense is stout, it’s the big play pass defense that kills them. You want to win this game, exploit the middle of the field against Mays and Woodyard, terrible pass coverage linebackers, great run stuffers.

I beg you to blitz all night, Peyton is at his best against the blitz.

I have no clue who comes out on top in this one, that’s what makes it so exciting.

rushing attack

September 13th, 2012
11:40 am

The Burner is tuned up.

Nique

September 13th, 2012
11:42 am

As great as everyone is saying Peyton looked, I still saw obvious signs that he’s no where near fully settled in with his offense yet, which is great for us. Him & Stokely, as well as Tammie are there, but Thomas & mainly Decker still have a long way to go, which is good for us. Also the fact that while their wr’s are good, none of them are studs like a Wayne or Harrison is even better news for us & our recently reduced secondary. In saying that, I don’t know that i put Owens on Stokely, just because that connection is so strong, I might try to start him off on Decker instead, sliding Robinson inside to cover Stokely, which he should be able to do effectively this week unlike last week because he is a superior athlete to Stokely, where he wasn’t to McCluster. Now don’t misquote me, Peyton looked good, but he’s not fully back yet, which is to be expected, & more than that, he & his receivers are still working to get up to the level & speed that Peyton likes to play, that’s all I’m saying. So we’re going to benefit from playing him in week 2 as opposed to week 12. With all that said, we should win this game Monday & if we do, we go into our break no worst than 5-1 as I predicted before last week’s game & Grimes injury.

falCANS

September 13th, 2012
11:52 am

Julio HAS TO BEAT CHAMP!! imagin if champ needs help with Julio….Roddy TG and HD will have a field day

FalCANs

September 13th, 2012
11:53 am

Am I the only one who thinks Pittsburg looked slow against the broncos. Yea, Peyton looked good but… I think we’re a better healthier team than the steelers this year. They just didn’t have a step to me. We take it in the dome Monday night. And ESPN still won’t respect us this year.. Oh well,Rise Up!!!!

Nique

September 13th, 2012
11:54 am

It was the little stuff like Peyton chewing out Thomas for not running the right route, taking delay of game penalties that you never see Peyton take & I’m also not convinced that they can run on us. It’s interesting, these are 2 of last years better rushing teams that have changed their offensive philosophies & now Monday night might come down to which team can run the ball more effectively! We’ll that, turnovers, & pass protection because as good as their corners are, they can’t keep up with our wr’s all game if Ryan has some time to throw, but i know THAT’S A BIGGGG IF….

Red Pants

September 13th, 2012
12:02 pm

Roddy White is tweeting gameplans…..

Michael M.

September 13th, 2012
12:07 pm

Most of what I have found out there, everyone is giving the Falcons the Win Monday night ………….think I saw one predicting the Broncos would win the game…………..it will be a good Test for the Falcons indeed…………………….good thing about this game is that we get to play them so early before Manning gets too much experience on the field with this Broncos Team.

I see some of the Fan Favorite on here already giving Atlanta the edge on winning the game also……………………..I tend to agree that Atlanta will hold true to form and take this win too……………………………………..they have the advantage by playing in their first home opener of the Season for one thing and they are hard to beat at home anyway…………..given they have a better offense this year with a new OC and the defense is better with the new DC even though they lost Grimes, they still have a good defense with Asante added during the off Season………… I look for Michael Turner to have a better game this week too ………………………………………..Atlanta 34 Denver 26………………..the score won’t even be that close………………Manning should have retired !

Big Crimson 75

September 13th, 2012
12:09 pm

Falcans — Pitt is defenitely one of the slowest teams in the NFL.
Their top RB was out. We need to pound Denver, otherwise Elvis & Von will be pinning the ol ears back!!
We need the Burner this week!!
Defense will shut some people up this week!

Joe P

September 13th, 2012
12:14 pm

I guess Curtis Compton thinks the Falcons game is on Sunday. Great jounalism guy!

44counter

September 13th, 2012
12:14 pm

Say-it-so, Brooking still collecting a check in the NFL……now that’s proof talent ISN’T the main ingredient for longevity. GO BIRDS!!!!!!!!!!!!

harold

September 13th, 2012
12:35 pm

GO PEYTON MANNING. I LIKE THE FALCONS BUT LOVE “PEYTON IN ORANGE”!

itmeagain

September 13th, 2012
12:55 pm

Throw it where ever Brooking is and the Birds will be fine.

PMC

September 13th, 2012
12:55 pm

The most effective defense against Peyton seems to be getting into the passing lanes and getting hands up quickly and trying to knock receivers back at the line to disrupt timing.

PMC

September 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

I think even without Grimes the Falcons still matchup fine with all except Thomas.

The matchups aren’t really the issue here. I wonder if the Falcons two starting safeties can be diciplined enough and execute (tackle) well enough to win on Defense.

ctfalconsfan

September 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

As a season tix holder since 1990 I’d like to see a win on national tv..

We always seem to fold in these type games.. Checking out MNF records from a win percentage we are 31st…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monday_Night_Football_all-time_team_standings

Our offense should be able to continue to roll against Denver.. Defense needs to play better in the 1st half and not wait till the half to make adjustments..
- Plus with a good lead Manning will be forced to pass so we could bring a heavy rush and hopefully KO him!!!!