FLOWERY BRANCH – With the Falcons primarily using their nickel defense in the first two games,
defensive end Ray Edwards’ snaps have been cut dramatically.
Edwards played on 28 of 69 snaps (41 percent) against the Chiefs. He played on 16 of 73 snaps (22 percent) against the Broncos. Overall, he’s played on 30.9 percent of the same this season.
Kroy Biermann has played a hybrid end and linebacker in the nickel and moves around a lot. Edwards plays primarily in the 4-3 base defense.
Biermann played 49 of 69 snaps (71 percent) against the Chiefs and 61 of 73 (84 percent) against the Broncos. Overall, he’s played on 77.4 percent of the snaps.
Edwards was a starter and rarely left the field last season. But he’s fine with the new role.
“I’m adjusting great,” Edwards said. “I have no problems. I’m fresh. I’m ready to roll. There is no problem.”
Falcons coach Mike Smith disagrees with the numbers that suggests Edward’s role has been decreased.
“I don’t think Ray’s role has decreased at all,” Smith said. “In terms of the substitution patterns we had in the game last week, we weren’t able to make changes during our drives when they were in the no huddle. If you do that then you’re going to get Peyton [going] up to the line of scrimmage, so you’re going to see a different substitution pattern this week.”
Edwards is ready if the Falcons call on him to help stop the run against San Diego, which could get back running back Ryan Mathews (broken clavicle).
“Mathews is definitely a great back,” Edwards said. “He gets downhill, and he makes people miss.”
The Chargers averaged 1.6 yards per carry in their season opener against Oakland.
The Chargers got off to a slow start against Tennessee. They gained 66 yards on their first 21 carries for a 3.1 average per carry. Over their last 18 carries they gained 82 yards for a respectable 4.6 average and two touchdowns.
The Falcons have not stopped the run against Kansas City or Denver.
Denver running back Willis McGahee rushed 22 times for 113 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons, who played 66 of 67 snaps against the Broncos in their nickel defense.
Overall, the Broncos rushed 27 times for 118 yards. The Chiefs rushed for 152 yards on 33 carries against the Falcons in Week 1.
The Falcons are giving up 135 yards per game, which ranks eighth in the NFL.
“We’re giving up too many rushing yards right now for our liking,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve got to be able to line up and stop the run when people are going to try to run the football. I think they were effective running the football.”
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