FLOWERY BRANCH –In this preview of Carolina, the Falcons coordinators – Dirk Koetter (offense), Mike Nolan (defense) and Keith Armstrong (special teams) — break down the Panthers’ offense, defense and special teams.
The Falcons (3-0) face the Panthers (1-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.
WR — Steve Smith, Louis Murphy, Joe Adams
LT — Jordan Gross, Garry Williams
LG — Amini Silatolu, Mike Pollak, Jeff Byers
C — Ryan Kalil, Geoff Hangartner, Mike Pollak
RG — Geoff Hangartner, Mike Pollak
RT — Byron Bell, Bruce Campbell
TE — Greg Olsen, Gary Barnidge, Ben Hartsock
WR — Brandon LaFell, Armanti Edwards, Kealoha Pilares.
QB — Cam Newton, Derek Anderson, Jimmy Clausen
RB — DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart
FB — Mike Tolbert, Richie Brockel
NOLAN ON CAM NEWTON: I didn’t play him last year, so I don’t know much about him from last year. But in the offseason we looked at him a good bit. I couldn’t speak to differences, but he’a big strong guy who’s got a very strong arm. He’s got good accuracy. The offense that they run, they try to utilize some skills that some pocket passers don’t have. Really, I just see that their scheme matches him very well. It’s a real credit to the coaching staff that they do that. Some people want to fit them into the West Coast or the East Coast or whatever the heck they want to call it. Then they just tell the guy he can’t play quarterback because he can’t do it our way, which is ridiculous. They don’t do that. They do a really good job of utilizing his skills.
NOLAN ON TIGHT END GREG OLSEN: He’s a very athletic big guy. He’s almost 6-6. He runs real well. He’s always caught the ball well. The fact that they do move him around, they are trying to create mismatches. They do a good job of that. …He has a huge route tree. He doesn’t just run one or two routes. He runs a lot of different routes.
NOLAN ON WR STEVE SMITH: He’s probably the most competitive player in the NFL. He’s a very good player.
RDE — Charles Johnson, Antwan Applewhite
DT — Dwan Edwards, Frank Kearse
DT — Ron Edwards, Sione Fua
LDE — Greg Hardy, Frank Alexander, Thomas Keiser
OLB — Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis, Jason Phillips
MLB –Jon Beason, Jason Phillips, Kenny Onatolu
OLB — James Anderson, Jordan Senn
CB — Chris Gamble, Josh Thomas
SS — Charles Godfrey, D.J. Campbell
FS — Haruki Nakamura, Sherrod Martin, Colin Jones
CB — Josh Norman, Captain Munnerlyn
KOETTER ON CAROLINA DE’S GREG HARDY AND CHARLES JOHNSON: Their ends are playing well. They are both big football players. Every team that plays Carolina are going to have to deal with them. Beason is in the middle quarterbacking the defense. That gives them two edges and a guy in the middle. That’s tough for any offense. That’s a good starting point.
KOETTER ON WHY THEY HAVEN’T GELLED YET AFTER ALL OF THE INJURIES LAST SEASON: I don’t look at all of the stats at this time of the year. It’s just three games into the year. I think that stuff works itself out as time goes on. I look at the film and I see a lot of good things. You see what they did in the New Orleans game. This is a dangerous defense with good individual players. We’ll definitely have our work cut out for us.
KOETTER ON ROOKIES LUKE KUECHLY AND JOSH NORMAN: A lot of people in the league where high on the linebacker. Matt [Ryan] has already told me that if he’s from Boston College that he must be a great player. You can definitely see his talent on the tape. He has been playing a lot because [Thomas Davis] has been hurt. He’s smart player. He’s an active player.
Kicker — Justin Medlock
Long Snapper — J.J. Jansen
Punt Returner — Joe Adams, Armanti Edwards, Kealoha Pilares
Punter — Brad Nortman
Holder — Brad Nortman
Kick Returner — Kealoha Pilares, Armanti Edwards, Brandon LaFell
ARMSTRONG ON IF HE EXPECTS TO SEE JOE ADAMS OR ARMANTI EDWARDS ON PUNT RETURNS: Joe has done a nice job. When he catches the ball, he’s explosive. He does a nice job. He can make some plays. He is a threat. He’s a young player and I’m sure he’ll mature as time goes along. Sometimes you have to go through that process. If they leave him in there, they’ll have something down the road. I don’t know, but we’ll be prepared for both of them.
ARMSTRONG ON MEDLOCK AND NORTMAN: Medlock is a kickoff kid from UCLA who’s been around for awhile actually. He’s one of those kids who’s been in a camp. Cut. Been in camp. Cut. He’s been in about four years now. A UCLA kid. A lefty. Strong leg. You see that he had a 56-yarder and a 50-yarder in the Pittsburgh preseason game. He missed them, but he had the distance. He’s got a strong leg. The ball gets up fast. They have a good operation. Kickoff wise, he’s going to kick most of them left and he’s going to keep you honest and kick one in the right corner.
MORE ARMSTRONG ON ADAMS: The muffs. The fumble. That’s fine. This kid can score. He can run. He’s got that combination of fast and sudden. He can stop on a dime and change directions. He’s a guy that we’re going to have to get prepared for. You can see on some the plays where he’s made some returns. There have been a couple shoestring tackles.