The Bird Cage offers a super short Falcons-49ers primer due to some time constraints. Can the Falcons come back down to Earth after their enormous when and continue their momentum against the wounded 49ers? The two teams are on opposite extremes. The Falcons are sky high after beating the defending Super Bowl Champs in New Orleans. The 49ers are 0-3 and have fired their offensive coordinator. This sets up as the perfect trap game for the Falcons. Can they continue their momentum or will they hit an emotional lull? Six searing questions as the Niners enter the Dome…………
All the coaches, players, and even fans always say the right things about keeping their head down, working hard, and not taking anything or anyone for granted. But they call them trap games for a reason. The 49ers are a wounded animal and will fight like mad to avoid an 0-4 start, especially after an off-season filled with so much hope. Coach Mike Singletary will have his players ready to fight to the last breath after the Birds embarrassed them in San Fran 45 – 10. All the goodwill and great feelings after the huge win against the Saints will lose some luster if they lose the 0-3 Niners. Will the Birds step on their opponent early and quick or will they allow them in the game?
Had a ton of great nicknames for the Falcons new tailback tandem, DHunt came up with one of the best nicknames for the two battering rams. “The Bruise Brothers” may have been used in the past, but it seems so appropriate because with Norwood’s injury the Falcons new tandem features two backs who can pound and ground a defense down by the end of the game. No slight to Norwood, but when you have two tough running backs that can take over the game, everything works so much better. The best linebacker in the NFL may have something to say about that.
Two weeks in a row have given us glimpses of what might be in store in terms of the deep passing attack. Harry Douglas has beaten his man many times the last two weeks and Ryan has just overthrown him. Credit Mularkey and Ryan for not giving up on it. And even though the connection hasn’t been made, it surely has softened up the defenses a little. With Michael Jenkins being out, Douglas has regained most of his 2008 form and the combination of Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Tony Gonzalez, and a speedy Harry Douglas could be a lethal combination. Keep taking the shots because the connection will be made soon, won’t they?
Rookie OLB Sean Weatherspoon is off to a great start and tied for the team lead in tackles. Stephen Nicholas may not be starting full-time, but he’s getting plenty of playing time and doing well. Weatherspoon is banged up a little and may not play. Along with Mike Peterson, the OLB’s will have their work cut out for them while trying to contain Vernon Davis. Davis blew up last year as one of the best TE’s in the game and made the Pro Bowl. Many consider him in the class of Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark. The new offensive coordinator will surely target Davis early and often.
The Falcons have kept their opponents out of the end zone except for once in the air. Granted, the Birds just played one of the best offenses in the NFL and one that throws first, often, and always, but the Falcons still rank in the bottom third in terms of passing defense. They’re keeping them away from six points, but there are still some issues in terms of coverage. They are opportunistic in terms of creating turnovers, but Robinson, Grimes, Owens, DeCoud, and Moore will need to tighten up a little. Can they hold Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Josh Morgan under control?
-Will the Birds come out hard-charging or flat?
-Will The Dome be rocking?
-Can Ryan and HD finally connect?
-“The Bruise Brothers” take over again? (Great nickname DHunt)
-The offense have a repeat performance?
-Will Spoon’s injury have an affect on the defense?
-Can passing defense tighten up?