Atlanta Falcons: Preview of the Carolina Panthers (1-2)

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton greet each other at mid-field during pregame warmups last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

Falcons head coach Mike Smith and Panthers quarterback Cam Newton greet each other at mid-field during pregame warmups last season. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

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. 

CAROLINA OFFENSE

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.

CAROLINA DEFENSE

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.

CAROLINA SPECIALISTS

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Joe Adams (15) loses the ball after being hit by New York Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger (52) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. New York recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Joe Adams (15) loses the ball after being hit by New York Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger (52) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012. New York recovered the ball. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

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.

LATEST NEWS

Vaughan added to the practice squad, LeGree released

Mike Smith addresses John Abraham’s arrest

Tight end Michael Palmer out for Carolina game

Falcons throttle Chargers 27-3 to remain undefeated

76 comments Add your comment

Tim

September 26th, 2012
5:20 am

Tim

September 26th, 2012
5:24 am

Getting up early for Pt has finally paid off with a “first”. Now on to more serious matters, I’m a little concerned that Cam is due a breakout game and our defense, which has played very well, may be due for a letdown. I am confident that we can win in a shoot out .

FAILCANTS have more player arrests than SB wins

September 26th, 2012
6:19 am

Pathetic, perennial losers…good regular season team…sorry playoff team…can’t win when it matters…until you win a SB, you remain inferior to the SB44 Champs…fact…truth hurts, huh?…can’t wait until you fold like a cheap lawn chair this season…fact…FAILCANTS are a house of cards…lmao…

No SB rings or playoff wins…pathetic…

FAILCANTS have more player arrests than SB wins

September 26th, 2012
6:20 am

How many SB rings you got, loosahs?…right…zero…lmao…

gjmoody

September 26th, 2012
6:38 am

FAILCANTS, why all the hate, bro? Is’s clear you don’t like our team and that you know little about football… You know how many great teams had tough times before they broke through with playoff wins? Thought you didn’t… I get as frustrated as anyone when we lose but it sounds like your mommy won’t let you stay up too late in your mancave…. LOL… lighten up homie! It’s just a game!

gjmoody

September 26th, 2012
6:41 am

great article, as always, DOL!

Truth Hurts

September 26th, 2012
6:42 am

sAINTS are 0-3

THE END

Gary 32

September 26th, 2012
7:22 am

I know it has been said before…but it needs to be said again….when you answer these idiots and address there idiotic posts you play right into their hands…ignoring them is the worst thing you can do to these fools….they want you to react and get yourselves upset….its what they thrive on….if everyone to a man on this board would ignore….JSS…Failcant’s and Seen this before they would eventually get tired and just go away….they have an agenda and we all know what it is!!!!

falCANS

September 26th, 2012
7:24 am

3-0 vs 0-3!! Lol nuff said… Expect another blowout….our O line has been awesome. Daunte actially did a decent job n coverage last game o.O

Falcons Chic

September 26th, 2012
7:42 am

Mantra — any game can be a trap game. How about when the Falcons under Norm van Brocklin (I think) were the only ones to upset the Vikings in the 70s? I was very young at the time…

That being said, I expect we can pull the win assuming no more major players go down to injury. Sometimes, it looks like a “killing fields” out there. Any word on Julio’s hand? I have to admit, I thought he was going to have shoulder problems from a roll in the endzone put on him by a Bronco.

Ken

September 26th, 2012
7:44 am

FALCONS 3-0!!! Thats how you RISE UP!!!

Esquire

September 26th, 2012
7:44 am

Who knows, the Saints might repeat their 0-12 start of 1980………wonder if Caints fans will be sensitive to the environment and use plastic bags instead of paper. Of course this causes a suffocation risk………………………………….It’s a funny visual, Caints fans thru out the superdome passing out in their seats right and left. How terrible.

AlanFalcon

September 26th, 2012
8:27 am

The biggest threat the Falcons face against Carolina is themselves, if we play as we have in the first three games we will win, if we get complacient we will get our arse kicked, it all boils down to just how serious this club is when it comes to exceeding the past four years performance. I do believe that Nolan and Koetter will make sure that doesn’t happen—–Go Falcons, lets make Cam sulk one more time.

FalconFANatic

September 26th, 2012
8:41 am

Failcant-I think you are just a little butt hurt because Drew Brees and the aints arent living up to the hype. I am sorry Matt Ryan is the top rated passer in the league right now ( 8 TDs 1 INT 793 Yards with a passer rating of 114). Can’t get much better than that! I will take your trash talk as a sign that you are jealous of the Falcons success because if you dont have haters, you are doing something wrong. so bring on all the haters! :) Drew Brees looks like he is lost without Sean Peyton. hahahaha. :) I feel a season sweep of the aints this year with a National Stage beat down of the aints on Thanksgiving night! :) ITS OUR TIME GO FALCONS! :) :) :)

Falcon Man

September 26th, 2012
8:42 am

The Saints fans with the ole.. How many Super Bowl rings do you have ?? ha ha LOL…..Thats the ONLY thing they can bring……. Thats great,,,Congradulations again on that ring……
Now, to what matters now,,,,,,,,Who dat ? Who dat ?? Well, lately,its the KC Chiefs… HAVE A GREAT SEASON… :)

I usually just read but...

September 26th, 2012
8:42 am

@FAILCANTS have more player arrests than SB wins
you are really embarrassing yourself. So you are “lmao”? At what? 0-3? #28 power rankimg? That’s too funny, in a sad, pathetic way. Hang on to yesterday, it’s all you have. I’m thinking that it’s a good thing they bury their dead on top of the ground in N.O. or you wouldn’t even be able to see your “Taints” lose every week. Well almost every week, you do have a bye coming. Now go run your state flag up a pole. I hear it’s been changed to a blue tarp, you can get one at Home Depot.

Ackshun

September 26th, 2012
8:42 am

.
.
TOO BAD SAINTS FANS – The Pack is gonna be good and pissed for your game Sunday. Welcome to 0-4

Falcon Man

September 26th, 2012
8:51 am

Love watching that Saints Defense…Man, are they good or what ??? LMAO !!!

tonyt203

September 26th, 2012
9:01 am

You chumps won a Superbowl 3 seasons ago. You haven’t won a playoff game since. The Falcons & the Saints have both been one & done ever since. The difference is, the Falcons lost to the team that won or went to the Superbowl.. The Saints just lost. One thing’s for sure, you won’t be winning a Superbowl this year. Stop living on past glory. But, look at the bright side. I’m sure there’s plenty of paper bags in New Orleans to fill up the Superdome.

Statick

September 26th, 2012
9:03 am

Who’s willing to bet that the Aints and their fans are just BEGGING for another hurricane to hit them?

Answer this

September 26th, 2012
9:10 am

I will just smile today……..:)damn go birds!

kew

September 26th, 2012
9:24 am

Tony, you should have said that the Saints lost to a team in the playoff who had a losing record (Seattle, hint). Not only lost, but Seattle made them look stupid on that TD run. At least we lost like every other team did, to the Superbowl Champs…And the poor Saint lost to a losing team that shouldn’t have been there in the first place

Esquire

September 26th, 2012
9:32 am

Guess which NFL teams very offensive defensive stats these are……………….

PTS 34.0 (30th)
YDS 477.3 (32nd)
PASS YDS 262.3 (25th)
RUSH YDS 215.0 (32nd)

Here’s a hint: They have a sissy lily on their helmets.

Another hint: Their fans wear paper sacks over their heads.

And yet another hint: Their fans are too stupid to leave a city built below sea level during a hurricane.

Esquire

September 26th, 2012
9:36 am

Carolina Panthers
Offense
PTS 17.3 (30th)
YDS 363.7 (13th)
PASS YDS 267.3 (11th)
RUSH YDS 96.3 (19th)

Defense
PTS 26.3 (24th)
YDS 383.0 (24th)
PASS YDS 243.7 (18th)
RUSH YDS 139.3 (27th)

Esquire

September 26th, 2012
9:38 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

Esquire

September 26th, 2012
9:43 am

Your NFL Atlanta Falcons NFC South Champions 2012

Offense
PTS 31.3 (3rd)
YDS 345.0 (19th)
PASS YDS 255.0 (15th)
RUSH YDS 90.0 (25th)

Defense
PTS 16.0 (4th)
YDS 336.3 (13th)
PASS YDS 207.7 (8th)
RUSH YDS 128.7 (24th)

CaliDirtyBird

September 26th, 2012
10:10 am

Not sure DLED reads this far down in the blogs but I saw where Mike Smith stated how surprised he was at how many Falcons fans came to the San Diego game and he thought many might have been servicemen and women. Well I’m not a serviceman and I took my son to the game. None of the other Falcons fans I talked to were either. Not saying none were but when you win consistently fans show up. I live in Riverside 90 miles north of San Diego and I’ve started seeing Falcons fans everywhere I go! So please tell that to Coach Smith!

Esquire

September 26th, 2012
10:12 am

Go ahead Caints fans, watch it break out one more time!!!
Caints vs Seattle – Marshawn Lynch 67yard Winning TD Run!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynn7VGY2Asc

Anatomy of Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode run – ESPN NFL Films
Marshawn Lynch breaks down his legendary “Beast Mode” run from the 2011 playoff win against the Saints, for NFL Films and aired on ESPN on Sept. 6, 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n90g-LRqggU&feature=related

“I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand Life is good today, life is good today”

CaliDirtyBird

September 26th, 2012
10:14 am

And if Mike Smith wants to know where I’ve seen them, then tell him on the Freeway, surface streets, movies, grocery store, hospital and even church! All here in Riverside or very nearby.

Greg Mendel

September 26th, 2012
10:25 am

Lost & Found Notice: Aging, tarnished Lombardi Trophy wearing paper bag found unconcious behind Bourbon Street bar.

Mikey

September 26th, 2012
10:46 am

Nice to have a division game at home this week. We really need to win this one so I am hoping that the Falcons continue to improve and focus. Any NFL team can beat you on any given Sunday but I am optimistic given the power demonstration that we have seen so far. GO FALCONS! YOU ARE RISING UP!

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Enkinan

September 26th, 2012
11:41 am

It’s just a matter of staying focused at this point and not having a letdown. There is no reason we shouldn’t be able to handle Carolina this weekend.

Michael M.

September 26th, 2012
11:57 am

You see that picture up there…………………………………………………………….

Thats a repeat of Coach Smith telling Cam ,” Sorry Sonny, maybe next time!”………………..lmao………………………………………

Grape Nuts are neither grapes or nuts

September 26th, 2012
12:04 pm

I discovered a cure for herpes!

Oh wait…..Maybe not.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

Blake

September 26th, 2012
1:05 pm

What happened to my post?

Blake

September 26th, 2012
1:08 pm

SeenThisB4 must be choking down some humble pie…..

Chirp

September 26th, 2012
1:14 pm

Chris Mortensen that the league and locked-out officials met into the wee hours last night and a deal is very close. We could have actual refs on the field by Sunday.

ctfalconsfan

September 26th, 2012
1:16 pm

I’m going to New Orleans for the FALCONS aints game and boy I’m glad I waited to buy tix on stub hub…. Prices are plummeting.. by the time ouur game rolls around NOV 11th I’ll be able to buy someone a beer for 50 yardline seats…

North FLA Falcon

September 26th, 2012
1:16 pm

Play tough Falcons football and we should win this one. We need to make a statement that the NFC South is ours this year. This will not be an easy team, they are hungry and have several talented players … just not sure that they have the overall team skill compared to our team which is playing very well right now.

Chirp

September 26th, 2012
1:16 pm

What happened to “is reporting”?

Panthers-Falcons Preview – Yahoo! Sports

September 26th, 2012
1:20 pm

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution [...]

ken

September 26th, 2012
1:22 pm

Falcants how many playoff game have the Aints won on the road??? ZERO…. The Aints won the SB only by CHEATING. Aints cant beat anybody unless they CHEAT!! That why the Aints are 0-3 they CHEAT anymore… I have heard Goddell say he is going to take the SB win away from the Aints for CHEATING!! That would be justice!!

Dirty Bird

September 26th, 2012
1:31 pm

I’m thinking we start big in this one, and blow it open as well. Might let them score a bit late.

Something like 34-20?

TalkReal

September 26th, 2012
1:35 pm

Just get after it, like we’ve been doing,execute and were sitting at 4-0. Damn good feeling.

ken

September 26th, 2012
1:50 pm

FYI 0-5 is the Aints playoff record on the Road!! They even got whipped by a losing Seahawk team…Even by CHEATING they could not win those games…. LOL

Jimmy Crack

September 26th, 2012
1:53 pm

Cam knows zones. That’s it. Any defensive strategy other than our secondary standing like zone statues (see last year) should work.

Oh yea, and double team #89 ALL GAME LONG.

FalconJim

September 26th, 2012
2:20 pm

Panties are gonna get a butt whoopin’ this Sunday, wait and see. We gone be on them like white on rice. Haha!
Matty Ice will be lights out, when he starts his barrage of TD passes on this awful defense.
I say, No Contest!!!

bite on them apples

September 26th, 2012
2:24 pm

The runaway of the division has begun…..After Sunday, the Falcons will be 3 games up on crybaby Scam and Carolina, 3 up on Tampa and it’s no sportsmanship head coach.
And 4 games up on winless Aints! Who Dat’s season in the toilet?!!!!