FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan would like to see the defensive line become more active in stopping the run.
Too many runs are reaching the second level of the defense and that has contributed to the missed tackles and unit’s inability to stop the run. The Falcons are giving up 143.8 yards rushing per game, which ranks 28th in the league.
Here are some excerpts from Nolan’s weekly media session:
Q: What makes the Philadelphia offense tick?
A: They have very good skill players and a very good scheme. They’ve been good for a long time. …They’ve got very good wide receivers. Michael Vick has been a very good addition. They are very explosive on offense. The West Coast offense is geared to get the player the ball as quickly as possible. I think they do a great job of that. Outside of the deep balls that they throw, it’s a diverse attack.
Q: How do you view DeSean Jackson and Macklin as a wide receiver tandem?
A: They are as good as there is in the league. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. They are different from our guys. But I think they are very good. Jackson has outstanding speed. I remember when he came out of Cal. He was right across the Bay from us at the time. He’s probably as quick and fast down the field as anybody. He’s very good in that respect. Macklin also has very good speed, but he’s a bigger guy. They are very competitive players. A guy that is not mentioned that much who does a great job for them is (Jason) Avant in the slot. He’s an outstanding player. He doesn’t start, but does start in their 11 personnel (1 back, 1 tight end, 3 wide receivers) and that’s their base personnel anyway. They’ve got three very good ones on the field most of the time.
Q: The Eagles have compiled a lot of yards (379 per game), but haven’t scored a lot of points (17.2 per game). Do they have a hard time finishing drives?
A: It’s surprising when you watch the tape. It’s surprising to me that they haven’t scored as much because they move the ball very well. I don’t know exactly what their issue is. They’d know best what it’s been. They are a sleeping giant in a lot of cases as far as their offensive output. They have always been good on offense. They have been good since Andy (Reid) got there. Marty Mornhinweg, who does a lot of the offensive work, but doesn’t get much credit for it, does an outstanding job game-planning. He’s one of the top coordinators in the league. I think he’s got as much to do with their prowess as anyone.
Q: How do you fix the missed tackles?
A: For one, you don’t want as many balls on the second level. There are a lot of balls on the second level. But outside of that, a lot of it takes focus. It’s no different than stripping the ball and getting turnovers. If you’re not thinking about the ball, it surprises you when it becomes available. It’s the same thing with tackling, if you’re think you’re a secondary kind of a player and not a primary guy then sometimes a tackle will surprise you and you won’t have a great path to the ball. We did do a poor job last week and it hasn’t been a strength for us this season. We’ve had some better games. We’ve missed our share. It’s just something that you have to keep working on.
Q: Can the return of Corey Peters help the run defense?
A: It’s good to see him back out there. I’m kind of anxious to see him work. I’m kind of eager to see how he practices as well, but he did have a significant foot injury. We have to ease him back into things. But like I said, I’m eager to see him out there. It’s uncertain right now if he’ll be (active) or not.
Q: Are you worried about Asante (Samuel) going against his old team and maybe trying to do too much?
A: I worry about everything. From my point, it’s just a big challenge to play these guys. But it’s a thing where they are going to feel that they can do some things on Asante as well. They are going to come at him with things that they think are his deficiencies. You have to always take that into consideration when they are on offense. If you just look at what you do well and try to do your thing, they are looking at you in a different way. You have to turn it around and get in position to have a good game, which I think he’ll do. He’s great. Asante is a Pro.
Q: What is your evaluation of Eagles new defensive coordinator Todd Bowles?
A: I think Todd is one of the more intelligent coaches in the NFL. He’s very smart. I believe he’s a Temple grad. He is smart. I’ve coached with him twice. I coached with him at the Jets for a year and I coached with him the last two years in Miami. The very first thing that comes to mind is that Todd is a bright guy. He’s been hoping to get the opportunity to be a coordinator. He’s interviewed over the last several years a few times and it just hasn’t worked out. I think he’s anxious to do it and eager to do a good job, which I think he will. Until a guy does it, it’s hard to really say what his capabilities are because putting it together is one thing. Calling it, is another thing. So, we’ll have to wait and see. As far as, the Xs and Os, that type of thing, he’s as good as anybody.
Q: Is Michael Vick playing much better against the blitz?
A: Michael does a good job of moving around. He keeps plays alive. The thing with Michael and the blitz is that he’ll make two or three guys miss. That’s the challenge when you do blitz. That’s why some guys don’t blitz him as much. It would be the same against Cam Newton. It would be the same against any guy who can move. …When the player is an elusive guy you. … have to pick your poison.
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