Lynch: Moore, DeCoud have raised their level of play

Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore intercepts a Peyton Manning pass intended for tight end Jacob Tamme on Denver's opening drive during first quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012.  CURTIS COMPTON/CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Atlanta Falcons safety William Moore intercepts a Peyton Manning pass intended for tight end Jacob Tamme on Denver's opening drive during first quarter action at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta on Monday, Sept. 17, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON/CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — From his spectacular playing days, Fox television analyst John Lynch knows good safety play when he sees it.

After reviewing tape of the Falcons’ wins over Denver and San Diego, the nine-time Pro Bowl player came away impressed with the play of William Moore and Thomas DeCoud.

“[They] were just kind of guys the last couple of years,” said Lynch, who will work the game against Carolina on Sunday at the Georgia Dome, in a phone interview Wednesday. “You saw flashes, but you didn’t see consistency. But these guys have taken it to the next level.”

With Moore and DeCoud leading the way, the Falcons’ defense has morphed, under the direction of coordinator Mike Nolan, into an opportunistic ballhawking unit.

“They are playing at a high level,” Lynch said. “They seem to be at the center of most of these turnovers.”

The takeaways have been coming in bunches for the Falcons, and Moore and DeCoud have accounted for seven of the team’s 11.

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud made it look easy against the Chargers on Sunday. (Associated Press)

Falcons safety Thomas DeCoud made it look easy against the Chargers on Sunday. (Associated Press)

Against Kansas City, they came on three consecutive drives in the second half. Against Denver, the Falcons’ secondary pounced on Peyton Manning passes on the Broncos first three possessions. They added a fourth turnover on a fumble recovery by linebacker Sean Weatherspoon. Against the Chargers, the four turnovers came throughout the game.

“You had Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers, and both of them seem to be confused at times by what Mike Nolan and this Falcons D was throwing at them,” Lynch said. “There are a lot of people moving all over the screen. I think it looks like Mike has told them to show whatever you want to show, so long as at the snap you are where you are supposed to be. When you can confuse two guys like that, you are doing something.”

The Falcons have been an opportunistic bunch and lead the NFL with a plus-10 in turnover ratio. Carolina, which is 0-11 when quarterback Cam Newton throws an interception, is minus-6 in the key indicator.

Over the offseason and in training camp, Falcons defensive players would pounce on any loose ball and return the interception or fumble. Sometimes, they lateraled a couple of times in order to score.

John Lynch was a bone-rattling hitter in the NFL from 1993 to 2007. (Craig Jones/Getty Images)

John Lynch was a bone-rattling hitter in the NFL from 1993 to 2007. (Craig Jones/Getty Images)

“It’s a real point of emphasis when the ball is available, to get to it,” Nolan said.

While the practices have paid off, Nolan, a defensive-coordinating veteran of 14 years in the NFL, knows that something else is at play.

“I’ve worked on awareness for a lot of years, the exact way that we are doing it,” Nolan said. “There have been years where we couldn’t get [many turnovers]. In some years, obviously, we set the record one year in Baltimore.

“There are players that have the knack for getting the ball, and there are some that don’t.”

Nolan said coaches emphasized getting turnovers in Baltimore, but noted that they didn’t teach safety Ed Reed how to get the ball.

“He just has a knack for it,” Nolan said. “Right now, you’ve got a couple of guys who have a knack for it as well.”

DeCoud had two interceptions and a fumble recovery against San Diego. He also had one of the interceptions against Manning. Moore had an interception against Kansas City and Denver and a fumble recovery against San Diego.

The two have grown together as pros.

“As a young safety, they tried to trick you a lot,” DeCoud said. “They expect you not to have seen a lot of stuff. That’s paid dividends for William and I. He’s in his fourth year, and I’m in my fifth year. We’ve seen a lot of stuff. Since we’ve seen a lot of stuff, we are less susceptible to being tricked, and we can make a lot more plays.”

Nolan doesn’t know if this is only a hot streak or if the Falcons can sustain such a high turnover margin.

“We definitely hope that it continues,” Nolan said. “If it happens for the right reasons, meaning that your players have that awareness and are able to do that, then that’s great, and it will just keep going.

“It lasts a lot longer when you have a knack for it than when you have just some gimmick scheme that you’ve got going.”

LATEST NEWS

Coordinators Preview of the Carolina Panthers (1-2)

John Abraham silent in wake of his arrest

Thomas Davis doubles down on Ryan Kalil’s Super Bowl bet

Falcons and Carolina Injury Reports for Wednesday

Roddy White visits Benjamin Mays High School

OTHER 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

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

35 comments Add your comment

Jimmy

September 27th, 2012
7:07 am

First?! Could it be? Maybe I’ll go and actually read the article now. haha

Kurtis

September 27th, 2012
7:08 am

Go Falcons!!!

Jimmy

September 27th, 2012
7:12 am

Great article D-led.

Don’t you think Nolan is short changing himself when he says that Moore and DeCloud just have a “knack for the ball” rather than his scheme helping him??

A good coach always excepts blame when things go poorly, yet deflects credit when things are going well (as they are currently), so I understand what he’s saying and all, but it’s defintely the coaching, IMO.

Jimmy

September 27th, 2012
7:13 am

…rather than his scheme helping THEM (the two safeties), I meant to say.

Falcon_4_Life

September 27th, 2012
7:30 am

Couldn’t have said it better my self Jimmy! Loving how are boys are playing right now! Hoping to see this kind of play out of them against lower teams and in the playoffs! M. Ryan LOOKS GREAT TOO. I like Mularkey but WOW Koetter has him playing off the wall right now!

Jimmy

September 27th, 2012
7:35 am

You said it Falcon_4_Life,

I’m going to ride this out, and enjoy it, but at the same time I’ll temper my enthusiasm until we can establish a true running game because w/out one we won’t have the same success come playoff time.

GTT

September 27th, 2012
7:53 am

The best Falcon safety play since Pridemore and Glazebrook.

Esquire

September 27th, 2012
7:55 am

John Lynch would put a hurtin’ on ya!!

Esquire

September 27th, 2012
7:58 am

John Lynch says NFL “duped” FOX into going easy on replacements before Week One

http://tinyurl.com/cywpzev

SimpleDawg

September 27th, 2012
8:01 am

If the Falcons confused Manning and Rivers, I can’t imagine Scam having a very good game on Sunday.

His head may explode….

The Real Rick

September 27th, 2012
8:05 am

Your right jimmy….these are 4th and 5th year guys…..not the type you expect to all of a sudden explode and have great games…..this has to be attributed to scheme …but I think the chemistry with the coach has something to do with it….BVG may have been a fairly good coach…but his players never seemed to be enjoying the game…I think Nolan treats these guys like men, allows them to use their God given athleticism and intuition …and they are having fun again…..combine that with a great defensive scheme and the sky is the limit

Esquire

September 27th, 2012
8:55 am

What a run!! Worth looking at again!

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”

MaxxFalcon

September 27th, 2012
9:02 am

Those safeties are BALLIN! Can’t wait to see how many picks they get off Cam this week!

MaxxFalcon

September 27th, 2012
9:02 am

WillyMo Always Ready! Thomas Decoud is always ready as well

I'm Gumby, Dammit!!

September 27th, 2012
9:04 am

I’ve got a feeling Scam will have that towell over his head by mid second quarter.

ddog

September 27th, 2012
9:11 am

Their level of play hasn’t gone up……..We are pressuring quarterbacks with our pass rush to make hasty decisions. It was obvious to everone I know that the Falcons could have beaten anyone last year if they had better playcalling. Mularkey and Van Gorder had not an ounce of creativity. DUH!!!!!!!!!

Big Crimson 75

September 27th, 2012
9:12 am

GTT — Brian Jordan & Scott “head” Case were a solid duo.

Judge Smails

September 27th, 2012
9:12 am

Wow GTT, I have not thought about Tom Pridmore for years. Now that was a guy that could lay some wood in the secondary! Him and Scott Case were the two best safeties for a long time.

Judge Smails

September 27th, 2012
9:13 am

**Pridemore**

Have not had my coffee yet :)

The Big Fat Blogger

September 27th, 2012
9:41 am

I agree that Scott Case was the hardest hitting Falcon I ever remember seeing, that’s one great thing I also love about this group, Defensive Players like William Moore and Donta Robinson will attempt to knock the opposing Offensive Player’s head off at any given moment…….

SirReal

September 27th, 2012
10:09 am

All about the scheme. BVG=Garbage Nolan=Gemstone

D man

September 27th, 2012
10:16 am

I expected greatness from Moore, but Decoud? Both are playing great. I hope it continues…

Jim Bonner

September 27th, 2012
10:42 am

Jimmy and Falcons 4 Life and Real Rick – Nice posts!

MaxxFalcon – WillyMo
That’s the best you got? Come’on man! you still got time for a do over. We’re waiting.

Mikey

September 27th, 2012
10:42 am

Both of our safeties are looking great! Great speed to the ball; great awareness; great coverage! I have no doubt however, that the new very aggressive scheme is giving them opportunities like they never had before. The D-Line and linebackers are getting pressure on the QB like never before. Also, the coverages are disruptive and confusing. These all contribute to QBs unloading the ball and making mistakes. Interceptions and stops are a TEAM result and they indicate that the whole TEAM is doing their job, not just the guy that got the pick or the tackle. I have a feeling that this defense is going to be GREAT! GO FALCONS! YOU ARE RISING UP!

Falcon James

September 27th, 2012
10:47 am

The backfield does not look the same as it has the past few year. I think Nolan has spiked the water or something. Dunta need to step up and get some. He the only one who has not improved his play. Maybe Dunta will carry the Tissue box for Cam. He going to be sniffling after the game.

ATLSWAG

September 27th, 2012
10:48 am

D-BLOCK!!!! Moore lays that wood and hammer on u no matter how big u are u will get popped & decoud keep it up that new scheme has you playing up to your potential!
lets go falcons 4-0 baby lets do this!!

Samuel

September 27th, 2012
10:57 am

I know one thing is that, if Nolan continues to turn this team into a top 5 or 10 defense. It’ll be hard for the Falcons to keep him depending on the success of the team. Either they’ll have to ante up more money or another team will snap him up.

Judge Smails

September 27th, 2012
12:02 pm

The one benefit of having two actively agressive safeties is that QBs (especially the younger, less experienced ones) will get happy feet much sooner and hopefully get out of any kind of rhythm. The only problem I see is that Cam can run like Forrest Gump!

GTT

September 27th, 2012
12:20 pm

Dang. Forgot about Brian Jordan, I remember him as a Brave. And Scott Case as a corner, though he eventually moved to safety.

Michael M.

September 27th, 2012
12:48 pm

@ Esquire…………………………..That video you posted will be one of the Caint’s collector items for many years to come………………I laugh everytime I have watched it………………………………..the funniest part of the whole video to me is to see Drew Sleeze over on the sidelines putting his helment back on and its like he is thinking ” How in the world am I going to come back from this ? “…………………………hehehehe……………………

Justin

September 27th, 2012
1:02 pm

I actually think that Dunta has dramatically improved his play, he has been a beast on those Corner Blitz’. And the Asante trade is looking better and better evey game. The reason our Safeties have been able to roam the entire field is because the CBs are handling their business. And the CBs are able to handle their business because the D-Line and LBs are creating pressure. That’s what makes me think this year is different, it’s a complete team effort!

falCANS

September 27th, 2012
1:27 pm

Daunte st er pped up LAST game but overall he is a liabity…..love how he tries to take ppl heads off tho lol. Probably would b a top 5 safety buuuut we already have the best tandem. Has Assante allowed a catch??? Not sure if its that QB are targeting Daunte or Assante is ShutDown! As great as this D is the offense is twice as good. Dare I say best in league?? Wonder how much Matt will ask for

Surg

September 27th, 2012
2:42 pm

Dunta is getting better and better…Our safeties have the middle on lock. All Dunta has to do is play his part on the outside.

Confess_Jesus_Now

September 27th, 2012
3:09 pm

It must be a cold day in hell…Seen This b4 isn’t around here?? Oh, man! He must be tryna figure out what’s going on in New Orleans. Poor guy…

mark

September 27th, 2012
3:44 pm

best free agent pick up ever for the falcons thank u mike nolan! because we had the players we only needed the master mind! im sp o proud of my time!