GAMEDAY CENTRAL: Cardinals (4-5) at Falcons (8-1) at 1 p.m. Sunday

QB corner: Matt Ryan discussed the Cardinals

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan has never lost back-to-back games in the NFL.

tlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes from the pocket in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

tlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) passes from the pocket in the first half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

The last and only time the Falcons have lost back-to-back games under coach Mike Smith was in the 2009 season, when Ryan was out and Chris Redman was at the helm against Philadelphia (34-7) and New Orleans (26-23).

The Falcons are seeking to bounce back from a hard-fought 31-27 loss against the arch-rival Saints when they face the 4-5 Arizona Cardinals at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Here’s a brief Q&A involving Ryan and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter.

Q: Are you glad that you don’t have to answer any more questions about going undefeated?

A: It’s just what it is. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it’s where we’re at. Nine games into it, we’re still in really good position.

Q: How do you assess Arizona’s defense under coordinator Ray Horton?

A: They blitz almost 40 percent of their snaps. They’re, I think, the top blitzing defense in the NFL. They’ve got a number of stats in the top five in the NFL. I’ve been very impressed.

Q: What will it be like facing a team on a five-game losing streak?

A: They’re going to be very hungry coming in. They’re going to make adjustments. I’d expect to see some different things than we’ve seen from them thus far, and we’ll have to adjust to it. You have to expect every week that the team is going to come in and give you their best shot. That’s going to be our mindset this week.

The X-factor: Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick (7) tries to get away from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington (58) during the second half of a game Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 27-6.(Photo: Paul Connors AP)

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick (7) tries to get away from Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington (58) during the second half of a game Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 27-6.(Photo: Paul Connors AP)

Before the 2010 NFL draft, when the Falcons were looking at the top linebackers in the nation, they took a trip to Fort Worth, Texas.

They thoroughly scouted TCU’s Daryl Washington, but ended up selecting Sean Weatherspoon in the first round with the 19th pick.

Washington would slip into the second round and be selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 47th overall pick.

Washington, in his third season in the league, had developed into a force at inside linebacker for the Cardinals and will be the X-factor in Sunday’s game.

“He’s developed into a good, young inside linebacker that we thought we were getting when we drafted him out of TCU a couple of years ago,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “He’s steadily progressed. He’s a good fit for our (3-4) defensive scheme.”

Washington leads the Cardinals in tackles (75), sacks (eight), quarterback pressures (11), tackles for loss (nine) and forced fumbles (two).

“We ask him to do a number of things, whether he’s filling for the run, playing defense, covering one-on-one or blitzing,” Whisenhunt said. “He’s done very well. I think he’s a smart player. He’s got some good guys around him, and they play well together as a team.”

The Falcons are aware of Washington, who plays well off of nose tackle Dan Williams, who normally takes up two blockers.

“They test your protection rules all the time,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “They try to put pressure right in your quarterback’s face, right up the middle. They are getting a lot of pressure on the quarterback, and that always helps your pass defense.”

Washington is the key to Arizona’s pressure packages. In addition to Williams, ends Darnell Dockett and Vonnie Holliday, who could start for Calais Campbell, are stout.

“We haven’t face this style of a penetrating, blitzing team,” Koetter said. “It will be new for us. We are looking forward to the challenge.”

On the hot seat: The punt coverage unit

The Falcons are considering giving Arizona punt returner Patrick Peterson the “Devin Hester” treatment.

Atlanta defenders James Sanders, left, and Atlanta punter Matt Bosher, right, tackle Seattle's Leon Washington (33) as Washington makes a 33-yard punt return last seasonAP

Atlanta defenders James Sanders, left, and Atlanta punter Matt Bosher, right, tackle Seattle's Leon Washington (33) as Washington makes a 33-yard punt return last seasonAP

Peterson, a former LSU player who was the fifth overall pick of the 2011 draft, became the fourth player in NFL history to return four punts for touchdowns last season, tying the NFL record. He and Jack Christiansen (Detroit, 1951) are the only rookies with four punt returns for touchdowns.

This season he has 34 returns for 263 yards and no touchdowns.

Special-teams coordinator Keith Armstrong said the Falcons must consider kicking away from Peterson or kicking out of bounds.

“He’s that type of guy,” Armstrong said. “I don’t know that you’re ever punting to him.”

When the Falcons faced Chicago’s Devin Hester to open the 2011 season, they punted to him once, and he had a return of 14 yards.

“(Peterson) can flat out play,” Armstrong said. “He will be a big-time challenge for us. He’s the best returner we faced all year.”

Peterson is also starting at left cornerback and has three interceptions.

“I’m happy with Patrick,” Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We’ve put him in some tough situations because we’ve had to match him up with other teams’ best players, and that’s never easy. We’ve asked him to play a number of different spots. … I’m really excited about his future. He’s going to be one of the better players in the league at that position.”

Peterson’s willingness to tackle has been questioned.

“We all are looking at what we can do to get better, but I’m really pleased with Patrick and his development,” Whisenhunt said.

Connections: Dimitroff, Whisenhunt crossed paths in Cleveland

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and tight end Tony Gonzalez share stories on the opening day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, July 26, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff and tight end Tony Gonzalez share stories on the opening day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, July 26, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt’s paths crossed in Cleveland.

Dimitroff was a scout for the Browns when Whisenhunt, who played at Georgia Tech and for the Falcons (1985-88), served as the special-teams coach in Cleveland in during the 1999 season.

Other connections include:

  • Falcons secondary coach Tim Lewis coached with Whisenhunt, offensive line coach Russ Grimm, and offensive coordinator Mike Miller from 2001-03 with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • Lewis also coached with Cardinals special-teams coach Kevin Spencer in Pittsburgh from 2002-03.
  • Grimm was a Redskins assistant coach with Falcons wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie from 1997-00 and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan in 2000.
  • Falcons guard Justin Blalock and Cardinals center Lyle Sendlein both were named to the All-Big 12 team twice and won a BCS championship at Texas.
  • Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and guard Mike Johnson played with safety Rashad Johnson at Alabama.
  • Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas and Cardinals cornerback William Gay were teammates at Louisville.
  • Falcons punter Matt Bosher played with Cardinals wide receiver Laron Byrd and defensive end Calais Campbell at Miami.

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73 comments Add your comment

stauff

November 17th, 2012
7:22 am

Adogg36

November 17th, 2012
8:08 am

MAKE IT SHAKE DIS WEEK MATTY ICE. FALCON FOR LIFE!!!!!!

Esquire

November 17th, 2012
9:28 am

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL……………!!!!

NFL on CBS: Week 11 Early Game – November 18, 2012
Cleveland @ Dallas
Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
NY Jets @ St. Louis
Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Cincinnati @ Kansas City
Marv Albert, Rich Gannon
Jacksonville @ Houston
Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker
NO GAME due to NFL rules (Atlanta Market)

NFL on FOX: Week 11 – November 18, 2012
Green Bay @ Detroit
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Arizona @ Atlanta (Atlanta market)
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Philadelphia @ Washington
Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick
Tampa Bay @ Carolina
Chris Myers, Tim Ryan
LATE GAMES:
New Orleans @ Oakland
Dick Stockton, John Lynch

NFL on CBS: Week 11 Late Game – November 18, 2012
Indianapolis @ New England
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
San Diego @ Denver (Atlanta Market) I’d rather see Indy and Patriots.
Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots

UPDATES:
all New England (exc Boston); Albuquerque NM; Syracuse, Utica and Watertown NY; El Paso TX: PHI-WSH to GB-DET
Memphis TN: PHI-WSH to NO-OAK to GB-DET
San Antonio TX: PHI-WSH to NO-OAK
Austin TX: NO-OAK to PHI-WSH
Bowling Green KY: GB-DET to AZ-ATL
Wichita KS: GB-DET to NO-OAK

Sunday night Ravens vs Steelers
Monday night Bears vs 49ers

Saturday: Georgia Southern @ 5 Georgia, 1:30
WSB-TV 2 Atlanta: Bob Neal, D.J. Jones

ESPNU Duke @ Georgia Tech, 3:30
Anish Shroff, Dan Hawkins

D man

November 17th, 2012
10:06 am

Esquire – Thanks for the channel info. Bama is playing on channel 681 DirectTV too…

Glad we are working on the Red Zone, although I thought we have done a pretty good job this year 8&1 just sayin…

Esquire

November 17th, 2012
10:20 am

Norcross moves on………………!!

Rick Patel

November 17th, 2012
12:38 pm

Hungry Cardinals will upset faltering Falcons, if you can call it an upset.

True Falcon Fan

November 17th, 2012
2:23 pm

Well i must that’s “faltering” way stating your opinion????? But you are way off base Falcons win this game Ricky ;)

Falcons 38 — Cardinals 13

Mark it down 11/29th —– Wake-up call is comin………….

JSS

November 17th, 2012
3:48 pm

^^^^^^^
Zombie blogging

FalconPride66

November 17th, 2012
4:19 pm

It could be even for awhile but we will pull away fairly easily. They have absolutely no offense. 29-13 Falcons win.

True Falcon Fan

November 17th, 2012
4:26 pm

Bet the over

D-Led — don’t filter me i’m trying have fun with the ZERO :)

True Falcon Fan

November 17th, 2012
4:28 pm

WHY might you ask as to what’s up with the ZERO —- it’s only because he’s/she’s very easy and a lunatic to boot.

True Falcon Fan

November 17th, 2012
4:29 pm

Bring it ZERO

De Ja Vu

November 17th, 2012
4:34 pm

2008 1st round. Don’t forget me Matty Ice.

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

WhoDat4Eva

November 17th, 2012
11:08 pm

Q: What do you call 53 millionaires around a TV watching the Super Bowl?
A: The Atlanta Falcons.

WhoDat4Eva

November 17th, 2012
11:09 pm

Q: How many Atlanta Falcons does it take to win a Super Bowl?
A: Nobody knows and we may never find out!

WhoDat4Eva

November 18th, 2012
12:27 am

Q. Who dat not going to the playoffs?
A. The Aints.

WhoDat4Eva

November 18th, 2012
12:47 am

Q. Whodat gonna get whupped on national tv next Thurs?
A. Brees and his cheaters.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
12:54 am

Retraction…
I apologize to the undead for comparing them to that idiot posing as one of them on these blogs…

4BsihtneeS

November 18th, 2012
1:02 am

I luv me some Matty Ice now that he is better than Brees. I just bought me a #2 jersey. Gonna pull for the Falcons the rest of the year. Rise Up! See yall at the dome… the Superdome in Jan. I’ll be cheering for #2.

Choke

November 18th, 2012
1:24 am

It looks like Brees is getting a noddle arm in has older age and Ryan is throwing darts. I’m afraid of the falcons now. We paid the refs off and played our bounty guys and listened in on their coach booth to steal the plays and still barely won with their best 2 players (spoon and jones) out and nothing riding on the game for them. Wow. I would put the falcons #1 in the nfl power rankings.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
1:46 am

Falcon’s will win it all this year.

tyger

November 18th, 2012
5:10 am

HBCU Classic Sports
Week 12

Bethune 21
Florida A&M 16

Howard 41
Delaware State 34

North Carolina A&T 21
North Carolina Central 16

South Carolina State 27
Savannah State 13

Hampton 27
Morgan State 17

Auburn 51
Alabama A&M 7

Lenoir Rhyne 21
Fort Valley 6

West Alabama 41
Miles 7

Mississippi Valley St 34
Texas Southern 3

Jackson St 37
Alcorn St 11

Arkansas Pine Bluff 42
Prairie View 41

http://www.hbcuclassics.com

Go Deep

November 18th, 2012
5:45 am

What it was, was football.
Go Falcons 2012

True Falcon Fan

November 18th, 2012
8:15 am

@1:46 am — There’s ZERO — You finally got it and stated something positive for once in your miserable life. Oh wait a minute that statement could change. Because you drooled it after midnight (Everybody stand-by). He’s resting now, maybe along side the wife to be, maybe, “who knows or really who cares”.

True Falcon Fan

November 18th, 2012
8:18 am

Yo D-Led the timer is on Bermuda time zone, you probably aware, jus saying.

SeenThisBFalcon

November 18th, 2012
9:22 am

TIME TO RISE UP..FALCONS WIN 27-9.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
9:40 am

@ Ledbetter…
The 1:46 AM comment is a user-name thief…

JSS

November 18th, 2012
9:44 am

and still the unobservant idiot is commenting on other folks lives…

Black Friday is coming up, go and buy a GPS and enroll in some GED courses…

Esquire

November 18th, 2012
10:35 am

Rick Patel
November 17th, 2012
12:38 pm

Hungry Cardinals will upset faltering Falcons, if you can call it an upset.
*************************************************
Faltering? You got it all backwards Mr Rick, “Falcons are HUNGRY, Cardinals are faltering!!”

Esquire

November 18th, 2012
10:38 am

JSS
November 18th, 2012
1:46 am

Falcon’s will win it all this year.

****************************************

Another Bandwagon Jumper Oner!!!!!

JSS

November 18th, 2012
10:50 am

Esquire
November 18th, 2012
10:38 am
“Another Bandwagon Jumper Oner!!!!!”

_________________________________________________
Even you aren’t that stupid… Stop being a gravy-train blogger and stick to adolescent chants…

SawThat1nce

November 18th, 2012
12:12 pm

Connections: A couple of connections you missed.
. Mike Smith once went on a blind date with Cards spec. teams coach Kevin Spencer’s 2nd cousin while in college.
.Darly Washington’s dog chased Weatherspoon’s, Aunt Saddy’s car one time.

SawThat1nce

November 18th, 2012
12:16 pm

.I almost forgot, Chris Redman’s and Cards DC Ray Horton’s grandmothers, were booked on the same Carnival Cruise to the Bahamas, back in the late 90s.
Although, I don’t know if that counts, as Chris is no longer on the team.

8-1

November 18th, 2012
12:28 pm

Is HAS a falcon fan or is he just on here to be a killjoy?SMH

Esquire

November 18th, 2012
1:08 pm

8-1
November 18th, 2012
12:28 pm

Is HAS a falcon fan or is he just on here to be a killjoy?SMH
**********************************************
Hello 8-1, awesome handle. Let’s get those fingers on the home row of your keyboard!!!

JSS will only kill your joy should you decide that anything he has to say has any logic or intelligence. What’s so hilarious is the dude thinks he is a Mensa candidate when truth be told “Joe Tess Fish House” seems smarter and that’s not saying much.

Esquire

November 18th, 2012
1:22 pm

Quick! Somebody do something!

November 18th, 2012
2:38 pm

The end is near! The Falcons are Super Bowl contenders…there is no hope!!! All is lost!

D. Orlando Ledbetter

November 18th, 2012
2:38 pm

Sawthat1nce – Thanks for adding those connections. They provide real inside.

JSS

November 18th, 2012
2:40 pm

Esquire

Really? Pravda TV is as good you could mine? Ha ha, your use of adolescent chants is truly understood now!!! Enjoy that virus that you introduced to anyone that opens that link gets!

Quick! Somebody do something!

November 18th, 2012
2:42 pm

@ Esquire
Hey buddy, you’ve been on the blog all morning. I know Mr.Ledbetter appreciates the love, but it’s time you shut down the laptop, get a shower and a bite to eat champ.

goFalcons

November 18th, 2012
2:44 pm

GOOOOOOOOOOOO FALCONS

JSS

November 18th, 2012
2:47 pm

Here Esquire…
Try this, it might relax you…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9m9dtB6CT50

Mike Franklin

November 18th, 2012
3:29 pm

Just got to the game… how did the Cards get 10 on us?

Quick! Somebody do something!

November 18th, 2012
3:44 pm

Ahahahahaha!!! Rise up!
Next up? 8-2!!!

ComeUp

November 18th, 2012
3:47 pm

The Cardinals have no offense, but neither do we. Why won’t the Falcons use Snelling instead of Turner. Without a running game, your chances of interceptions are going to go WAYYYYYY up as we see today. Turner cannot hit the whole with any speed and if the Falcons can only pass, they are going to only play the pass. Put Snelling in, he surely can’t be worse than Turner!

norbhecker

November 18th, 2012
3:51 pm

RunninWithTheDawgs

November 18th, 2012
4:15 pm

One of these days it’s going to dawn on AB, TD, and MS that we need a top notch quarterback to run the Falcon’s offense. If we do make the playoffs it’s going to be just like the last couple of years. One and out and it’s never going to get better with Matt Ryan at qb.

FALKON FAN 1

November 18th, 2012
4:34 pm

So Duntae Robinson couldnt make that interception???????

FALKON FAN 1

November 18th, 2012
4:37 pm

Ryan is better than a lot of QBs in this league! Its not his fault that they have no run blocking and that their offensice coordinator gets brain freeze in the red zone! I stand by Matt Ryan! I look at other teams Qb and I like what we have!