Atlanta Falcons: Russell Wilson’s game has the respect of Smith, Nolan





FLOWERY BRANCH — First, in order to give the Falcons’ defense a really good scouting look, quarterback Dominique Davis has to shrink four inches.

The Falcons’ third-string quarterback is 6-foot-3, but he will impersonate the 5-11 Russell Wilson this week in preparation for the divisional playoff game against Seattle at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

“Dominique has gotten a lot of work for us this season,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We’ve played some running quarterbacks, and he’ll be the guy trying to simulate (Wilson).”

Davis was inactive for all 16 regular-season games, but he has earned his keep in practice. He has imitated Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III and Michael Vick.

Wilson, a third-round pick from Wisconsin who started his career at N.C. State, has been one of the surprises of the 2012 season.

“Offensively, it starts with what their quarterback is doing,” Smith said. “He does a very good job of running their offense. You have to account for him as a running back.”

Wilson rushed for 489 yards on 94 carries and scored four touchdowns during the regular season. In the 24-14 win over Washington on Sunday in the wild-card round, he rushed for 67 yards on eight carries.

But Wilson is not a run-first quarterback.

“You have to concern yourself with that,” Smith said. “But I think he tied Peyton Manning’s rookie touchdown (pass) record with 26. He’s doing a nice job of throwing the ball as well.”

The Seahawks have used the West Coast offense and even signed former Green Bay backup Matt Flynn in the offseason to fit their system. But after Wilson beat out Flynn, the Seahawks had to tailor their offense to his skills.

The Seahawks still lean heavily on running back Marshawn Lynch, but have installed some read-option plays for Wilson. The Falcons have had mixed results against read-option quarterbacks this season.

Newton abused the Falcons. He led the Panthers to 199 and 195 yards rushing in the two meetings during the regular season. Against Griffin, the Falcons held him to 7 yards on one carry. Vick had 42 yards rushing on seven carries.

“Cam is a beast as far as size goes,” defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. “As far as punishment, he’s delivering the punishment rather than taking it. He can run anywhere he wants. I think it’s safe to say he’s going to get up off the ground and be fine.”

Griffin, who ended the season with a knee injury and was knocked out of the Falcons’ game with a concussion, was a little bit reckless during his rookie season.

“RGIII is an outstanding player, but as it has been shown during the year, he’s been prone to getting banged up a little bit,” Nolan said. “For whatever reason, that has happened to him. That has taken him off the field, which is what you don’t want (if you’re the Redskins).”

Nolan believes that Wilson is a cross between Newton and Griffin.

“Whereas Russell is not as big, but he is thick though,” Nolan said. “He’s got a lot of good girth about his body. That helps him with his durability.”

Both Smith and Nolan compared Wilson with former Georgia Bulldogs standout Fran Tarkenton, who had a stellar NFL career as an elusive quarterback from 1961-78 for the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants.

“(Wilson) does a great job of keeping his eyes down the field,” Nolan said. “He scrambles to throw. He doesn’t scramble to run, but if it’s there he takes it.”

Early in the season, the Seahawks treated Wilson as a game manager. But as the season progressed, they opened the playbook for him.

The plan paid off as the Seahawks went on a late-season offensive onslaught in three games, outscoring the opposition 150-30 in victories over Arizona (58-0), Buffalo (50-17) and San Francisco (42-13).

“The system that they’ve put in place is really fitting to their personnel,” Nolan said. “As always, you start in one spot, and you finish in another. The package has grown throughout the year. They are explosive.”

Defensive backs must stay with Seahawks receivers for longer periods of time.

“When he goes back to pass, he’s a guy that turns a four- or five-second play into a 12- or 13-second play; and that can cause issues for guys that are in coverage,” Smith said.

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40 comments Add your comment

KC Falcon

January 8th, 2013
11:55 pm

First, just like the Falcons!

LOL at the Aints

January 8th, 2013
11:59 pm

Enter your comments here

DR. FALCON

January 9th, 2013
12:00 am

IT’S A NICE STORY, BUT, AIN’T NO ROOKIE COMING IN HERE AND WINNING IN MATT RYAN’S HOUSE!

Trainwreck

January 9th, 2013
12:09 am

Falcons have to step up and win this game

R.D.

January 9th, 2013
12:20 am

@ DR. Falcon, that is what Redskin fans said for an entire week too.

Go Seahawks!!!!

falconsrus

January 9th, 2013
12:46 am

And take the mariners with ya

Michael M.

January 9th, 2013
2:10 am

Oh yeah, they have all the respect in the world for him and they will show him the love come Sunday in the Dome…………………Atlanta – 34……………..Seabuzzards – 13.

He isn’t playing against Hop-A-Long Cassidy ( RG3 ), who would have beaten them to a pulp in that game last week if his leg had been stable and heald out the entire 4 quarters. This week he gets the real deal in Ryan, who is healthy, experienced, smarter and hungry at this stage of his career.

Oh my, the humanity, as some of those moron bloggers say on here………..lmao

Olde Fan

January 9th, 2013
2:39 am

I just want to say this here and now – Thank you Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, and Harry Douglas – for not making fools of yourselves in the end zone by trying to dance, when you score. I am Totally impressed by your professionalism. I hope so much we can beat the Seahawks, and advance. This has been our year so far.

Olde Fan

January 9th, 2013
2:41 am

RD – go back to your Loser, broken down blog on the Seahawks, please. You sound like the Jets/Bills/Chiefs/Jaguars fans.

Howard

January 9th, 2013
3:53 am

I thought RD sounded more like the Buccaneers fans.

GO HAWKS BOI

January 9th, 2013
4:22 am

Russel Wilson already has more playoff wins then Matt Ryan

Samuel

January 9th, 2013
5:13 am

Well you have to force him into mistakes and our front four will be crucial. At some point all rookie quarterbacks have a bad game. let’s hope that reality starts Sunday.

Ryan Chokes

January 9th, 2013
5:48 am

Ryan = Romo (With One fewer playoff win)

Can’t win the big game…

Whadda Ya Know?

January 9th, 2013
6:44 am

Bottom line get to Wilson early and often to get him rattled–even though I keep hearing he’s calm under pressure. I know Nolan will have a good defensive game plan to confuse the rookie. Stop Wilson and Lynch and that’s Seattle’s offense. Oh and secondary, if Golden Tate touches the ball lay him out.

fan of falcons

January 9th, 2013
7:41 am

Wrap them up, tackle, tackle, tackle.

CDFALCONS

January 9th, 2013
8:26 am

LISTEN UP DIRTY BIRDS FANS!!! The game against the Seagull’s, “sorry I meant to say SeaHawks”. will define,the Falcon’s season. you hear me, DEFINE the Falcon’s season. A 13-3 records which is great, those wins’ provided us the opportunity for home field advantage, that is all. Roddy White are you hungry? Julio Jones are you hungry? I know John Abraham is Hungry, Tony Gonzales is hungry. Matt Ryan this is your stage to show us the true fan’s of the Falcon’s and the NFL NA-SAYER’S that you are an Elite QB. Win it all or be like they thought you were”. WIN IT ALL! GO FALCON’S! BRING THE CHAMPIONSHIP TO THE ATL.

SaukMtnMan

January 9th, 2013
9:05 am

Seattle is going to be aggressive. They are looking for people to hit. The Falcons better have their Big Boy pants on because their running game is menacing and punishing. If Beastmode gets going, it is going to set the tone for the entire day.

Matt Ryan is a terrific QB. His fleet of receivers among the best in the league. If both teams play to their strengths, this could be the most entertaining match-up of the weekend.

And I do agree that Mike Nolan will have some blitz heavy attack dreamed up to stop Wilson and rattle his cage, but its’ null and void if he starts connecting with the Zach Miller and Anthony McCoy, Seattle’s unheralded TE tandem. I’ll take an eight yard pick-up on 3rd and 7 if it keeps drives alive and Ryan and the Atlanta offense off the field. Seattle is going to try and disrupt the Falcons offensive rhythm by holding onto the rock and when Atlanta stacks the box or blitzes, Wilson is more than adept at creating space and tossing it to inexplicably wide open receivers.

Seattle doesn’t have a Roddy White, Julio Jones, or Tony Gonzalez, but they do have a group of wide outs that can make plays. They are rarely spectacular, but they’ve rarely haven’t had to be. Seattle doesn’t throw the rock like Atlanta. And I think Seattle’s brand of smash-mouth football translate well in the post season, even if it hasn’t won many Super Bowls lately.

Bottom line: It should be a good, entertaining game.

Say what

January 9th, 2013
9:50 am

Here’s a conundrum, Falcon fans. It is said the Falcons are frauds because they played a soft schedule. All year, it was “Falcons haven’t beat anybody.” The argument relies on pointing out the win-loss record or our opposition to support the contention that the teams were weak. A 4-12 team, a 6-10, or even an 8-8 team is just horrible, a patsy every time they step on the field right? I mean, look at their record. Ok then, using the same logic, a 13-3 team is a freaking world-beater, a GREAT team that is almost impossible to beat. That would be the Atlanta Falcons. Thank you.

Oh, you want to make it about records during the playoffs? Suddenly, you want to reach back into history, when before it was about what’s happening in week 5, or 9 or 12 or whatever? Or it’s about who won last week (it’s the hot team, the hot team, I tell you). It’s about who was winning to get into the playoffs in week 16. If it’s about that, well, thank you again, because the Falcons didn’t even have to worry about that. They ALREADY took care of that. Uhm, that’s good, in case you were wondering. So thank you again.

Thank you.

Titletown Falcon Fan

January 9th, 2013
9:56 am

As much I respect R WIlson and his success, I think he does not duplicate this in year 2. For some reason, the NFL takes about a season to adjust to the “new thing” Best example is Cam Netwon, Andy Dalton, Chris Johnson and others, I also think that RG3 and Luck will have a slight drop off next year as well.

Buddy Landel

January 9th, 2013
10:33 am

Titletown- I disagree that Luck will take a step back next year. The team around him will only get better and so will he. His team put everything on his shoulders this year and didn’t spoon-feed him. That will pay dividends next year. The league will soon catch up to the read-option. Luck is running an offense that has succeeded in the NFL for a long time.

LOL at the 'Cants

January 9th, 2013
10:36 am

i’ve seen more ‘deer in the headlights’ look from the local QB than wilson…so, ‘lay him out’…surely you’re not advocating that the local ‘lead with the head first’ CB should inflict an injury, are u?…wonder if he should be a bonus for a hit like that?

LOL at the 'Cants

January 9th, 2013
10:38 am

get* a bonus….

Roger

January 9th, 2013
10:54 am

Got my two tickets!!! Cant wait!! Go Falcons!

Ryder

January 9th, 2013
10:58 am

I find it ironic that Bill Cowher announces he’s coming back to coaching just as the Falcons are getting ready for the playoffs Sunday. Knowing that he will fire Smith if they come up short again, think Arthur Blank has already placed a call to Cowher and told him to be ready, just in case?

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
11:01 am

Lets take a look. Statisticly, the 49ers have a much, much better defense than the Falcons. The Seahawks hung 42 points on them. Arizona by the stats is a better defense, hung 58 points on them. Buffalo has a comparable defense to the falcons, and lets see, thats right, the hawks hung 50 on them, on the road, indoors. Keep dreaming about rattling the rookie qb, who by the way finished the season with a higher qb rating than did Matt Ryan, and he has more playoff wins than Ryan, but than again, so does every nfl qb to ever win at least one playoff game.

Vu Ḉa Avant

January 9th, 2013
11:13 am

Wilson has already won more NFL playoff games than Ryan. Now THAT’s funny!

Say what

January 9th, 2013
11:30 am

Vu Ḉa Avant, you obviously HATE Matt Ryan. I wonder why. Hmmm…what could it be about him.

Sparky12

January 9th, 2013
12:17 pm

Seahawks fan here. Believe me, most fans in Seattle respect Matt Ryans skills, along with the Falcon receiving group. And it will be a tough game. Starting at what will be 10AM to the Seahawks, plus logging 8000 miles flying time between the DC game and this weekends at Atlanta.

But our young team is made-up of a lot of players with a chip on their shoulder. They are tough, and dont back down. We are playing tough and determined football right now. It will be a dog fight on our end – guaranteed!

atlpaddy

January 9th, 2013
12:21 pm

I want to see Wilson run block for Lynch again like he did against the Redskins so that Weatherspoon, Dunta, or WillyMo can knock him into next week.

I usually just read but...

January 9th, 2013
12:26 pm

I thought the taint’s fans were funny but the peahawk’s fans are twice the fun.

falcons_in_the_house

January 9th, 2013
12:36 pm

amused in seattle….. Peyton, Elite and Drew 1 passing TD and 10 INT in the GA DOME.. We can put stats, however you like. But when the game kicks on… All the stats are garbage because you never know how the game gonna go…

Sparky12

January 9th, 2013
12:38 pm

Attention: altpaddy

Better do some homework on the Seahawks before you talk trash! Our boys play smash-mouth football with the best of them. We put three of the 49ers on the sidelines when we played them a few weeks ago!

warfalcon

January 9th, 2013
12:41 pm

So R.Wilson is better that E.Manning and Seattle`s D is better than New Yorks.I don`t think so.We will see.

ONE GAME AT A TIME,NO MORE BAD GAMES,LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Vu Ḉa Avant

January 9th, 2013
12:48 pm

GUys one of my favorite things to do is come on to oppents blogs and reguritate what others have already said right GO HAWKS BOI

Section 322- 11 Years

January 9th, 2013
12:55 pm

NO MORE TALKING. NO MONDAY EXCUSES. ARTHUR HAS ALREADY SENT THE INVOICE FOR NEXT YEAR AND WANTS PSLs FOR THE NEW STADIUM. JUST WIN!!!!!!!!!!

Sparky12

January 9th, 2013
1:49 pm

Fun to talk trash here! But I do like your team ( Falcons ), just not this weekend!

GO HAWKS!!!

amused in seattle

January 9th, 2013
4:29 pm

to warfalcon
Asking if Russel Wison is better than Eli Manning and Seattles D is better than the Giants. HMM. Eli Manning completed 59.9% of his passes. Threw 26 tds against 15ints for a qb rating of 87.2. Wilson completed 64.1% of his passes for the same 26 tds against 10 ints for a rating of 100.00. Looks like Wilson is better. How about the defense. Giants gave up avg of 383yds a game to rank 31st out of 32 teams while giving up 344 points. Seahawks gave up avg of 306 yds a game ranking them 4th while giving up through 17 games 259 points which is still the lowest in the league even with that extra game. By the way, Atlanta gave up 299 points over 16 games which is pretty respectable, better than I thought. Gotta tell you Atlanta, I think this is going to be a fun game. Go Seahawks

Angry Bird

January 9th, 2013
5:25 pm

dont ya’ll be counting on Turner too damn much…I had him in my fantasy league and I kept him on the bench for lack of performance till finally cutting him loose….if you cant run the ball against the hawks the CB’s will eat Ryan alive with deflected passes and INT’s….and its not how you start a season…its how you finish…and we are finishing this Atlanta push Sunday…I am sure you can find a few jerseys out there that fit and you can get on our bandwagon too….and our D has a big chip…so if you try and injure someone with a cheap shot…you may lose a player or two in return…just sayin…there is a storm coming Atlanta…and we are going to blow right thru town on our way to the NFC Championship game…

RPC43

January 9th, 2013
7:23 pm

As a Seahawk fan, I’m not scared of Roddy or Julio…. I’m scared of Gonzalez! That S.O.B. has always been a Seahawk killer. Regardless it will be a great close game! Go Hawks!

bainbridgejim

January 9th, 2013
11:22 pm

As a Falcon’s fan (and an ex-Seahawks fan when I lived on Bainbridge Isle) I have to say you’re right. It is the part of the game least talked and is a good reason the wide out get open.. I’ve seen a lot of great Tight Ends (K. Winslow Sr, Casper, Newsome, Sharp, Mandich I have to say Tony might be the best.