Just a quick hit in the middle of the week to get you to the weekend and spur some good conversations and debate as we roll towards the Fight in Foxboro.
Didn’t have quite as good a day as against Miami, but faced an overall tougher and deeper line in Carolina. Abraham and Babineaux had 2 tackles a piece, Davis finished with 1, and Biermann and Thomas Johnson only got an assist. Even though the running back tandem and line were arguably better than the ‘Fins, they gashed the Birds several times for big gainers. In particular, Williams and Stewart torched the Falcons on draws right up the middle. Several pressures and hurries, but no sacks from the defensive line. Biermann was certainly held in check, Abraham got close a couple of times, but Jamaal Anderson was unseen in the backfield again. Peria Jerry had a pretty good game until his season ending injury. We have more quickness this year, but we certainly don’t have a lot beef up front with big, road-grading guards. Where is Trey Lewis? Thomas Johnson had a fair game as well playing often, even before the Jerry injury. Gotta get more pressure with our front four to have a chance vs. New England. Grade: C+
Peterson continued his great start to the season, finishing with 9 tackles again, and a big forced fumble again. MP was again flying all over the field, bringing the helmet on each hit, and had a huge 3rd down pass defense in the second half. Any arguments on athletic improvement at the WLB position are being put to rest early this year. Lofton had some big hits as usual, collaring 6 tackles and 2 assists and laying some crushing hits. Nicholas had a good game as well, especially on some blitzes and getting his first sack of the year. Delhomme was much more on his game and got rid of the ball quickly, and maybe there were more to be had. The underneath pass, slants, and particularly the flare passes were killers all day long. How many 3rd down and longs were converted by dumping the pass out to Deangelo Williams and letting him run? Grade: B-
Erik Coleman had an excellent day in run support, popping out a fumble and sliding up with some big hits. Thomas DeCoud is looking to form a good, young tandem with Coleman as the free safety and strong safety. DeCoud is playing good in keeping everything in front, but came up really soft and tried the “Willie Martinez Shoulder Bump” that failed to bring down Williams and Stewart a couple of times. Chris Houston had that huge interception on fourth down and it was great to see him get a nice play at the end of the game after being beleaguered so often. Steve Smith is one of the best in the game and he had his way with both Chris Houston and Brian Williams pretty much all day. There were several times where Williams and Houston were in position, but Smith made nice catches on corner routes towards the sidelines. Brent Grimes found a little redemption in having a few pass defenses as well. Will we see Tye Hill or Chris Owens at any point this year? After playing a great role in the nickel last year, Chevis Jackson seems to have lost out to Grimes in this year. Cornerback and secondary play in general has to tighten up if we want to get where we want. Grade: C
Continued great coverage on special teams. Excellent kick and punt coverage, as we’ve come to expect from Coach Armstrong’s unit. Particularly nice coverage on that huge punt when we gave it back to the Panthers with a minute left to get down the field. Eric Weems seems to filling into the kickoff and punt returner role very well. Norwood had a blistering return to open up the Falcons offensive series, but is he an injury issue this year? Grade: A
Awful to see any player befall an injury and be out for the year, but this one especially hurts because Jerry seemed to be getting up to the game speed in the NFL and settling in to a very nice rotation with Thomas Johnson. One of Peria Jerry’s strengths is his work ethic, so have no fear that he will come back stronger and better next year. In the meantime, Thomas Dimitroff hedged his bets very well in knowing of Jerry and Trey Lewis’ injury history. TD brought in Thomas Johnson, who not only earned a roster spot, but also had arguably the best preseason of any D-Lineman. The fail-safe was the drafting of Vance Walker in the seventh round. Luckily, Walker was kept on the practice squad and has huge upside to get into a rotation and develop under one of the best in Sugar Bear Hamilton. TD surely had to know all this as well when he re-upped with Chauncey Davis and even signed Lawrence Sidbury in this year’s draft. Jamaal Anderson may not be living up to his draft position at D-End, but he is very good against the run and this might be his chance to get some solid work at DT. Chauncey Davis also got some action at defensive tackle. Versatility and stockpiling defensive lineman was a good move. Even if Davis or Anderson move to DT, that would still give us a 4 man D-End rotation. What is the issue with Trey Lewis? He hasn’t been active the last two games after having a very good preseason. Now would be the time for Lewis to prove he’s up to the task.
Flags – Great idea and nice treat getting the old-school flags for fans on their way in. It certainly helped add to the raucous and jovial environment in the Terror-Dome. Could giving out smaller, cheaper flags become an every game tradition? Sure would be nice.
Marta & Line Wait – The game experience was much improved from many fans perspective as they rolled into the Terror-Dome. There was no wait at all heading into the Lower C Gate, could’ve been the rain, but they seemed faster and more organized this time. Also major props to Marta, police, and all officials for ensuring fast trips with the mass influx of fans due to the close nature of the game until the end. Atlanta Falcons organization is officially encouraging fans to take Marta if they don’t own a parking permit. Also, upon calling season ticket representative parking permits are no longer available. Those hundreds of empty spaces must be reserved for ghosts.
-What’s your thoughts on the D-Line’s effort?
-Worried on lack of defensive pressure?
-Is Biermann ready for a breakout, or was the Fins game an exception?
-Is Peterson headed for an All-Pro year?
-Long passes and third down conversions with ease troublesome?
-Cornerbacks improving or in serious trouble?
-How bad is the Peria Jerry loss? Who will step up and in for Jerry?
-What would you think of an every game tradition such as flags?
-Should old school uni’s be our permanent jerseys?
Next Topic Preview: Birds vs. Revolutionaries in Boston