Can Falcons Take Care of Browns?

Six Searing Questions as Birds Head North

Are Falcons Ready for Browns? (J.Crawford/AJC)

Can Falcons Take Care of Browns in Cleveland? Not so fast Falcons fans. A game that looked as it might be one that wouldn’t be as difficult seems to be much harder than originally thought. Yes, the Cleveland Browns are 1-3, but when you take a look at their schedule, who they played, and how close they played them, Falcons fans better get ready for Sunday with “clear eyes and full hearts” as they say on Friday Night Lights. After two weeks of nail-biters and a near escape against a tough 0-3 team, overlooking the Browns shouldn’t even be in the conversation. Again, the Browns may be 1-3, but they just beat the Cincinnati Bengals and their two losses were to the surprise of the season Kansas City Chiefs (14 – 16) and Baltimore Ravens (17 – 24). After a week of looking sloppy at home, the Falcons better bring their A game or they could drop won thought unimaginable when the schedule came out. Six searing questions as Birds head to Lake Erie…….

1) Will the Birds Bring their A-Game?

The Falcons played tough in Pittsburgh and barely lost in overtime. They came back the next week at home and clicked on all cylinders to blow out the Cardinals. Then came the enormous win in New Orleans against the Super Bowl defending Saints. An expected hangover the next week against the 0-3 Niners and the Birds barely escaped. So which team will show up on Sunday against the underrated Browns? Let’s hope the same one that blew out the Cardinals beat the defending World Champs, not the ones who came out flat and lost the first while nearly losing the second. Coach Mike Smith has always done a great job in getting his teams prepared and ready to play on Sundays with only a few exceptions. The Browns are coming off a huge win against the Bengals and will be ready to continue their momentum against the NFC leading Falcons. Which ones will take the field @ 1 pm in the former house of Lebron?

2) Has Turner Lost a Step?

The Pro Bowl second leading rusher in the NFL in 2008, Michael Turner, had one of the best seasons in recent memory almost eclipsing 1,700 yards rushing and hitting 16 touchdowns in his first year in Atlanta. Even though the Falcons had a tough year (and a tougher schedule) in 2009, and Turner had a high-ankle sprain, the whispers began last season that #33 might have been a flash in the pan. He admitted that he wasn’t in the best shape last year and was determined to get back to 2008 form. Many will say that Turner, his build, and his running style just need time to get going. It shouldn’t be argued that Turner isn’t still a good back, but the argument that he’s a great back in the class of Adrian Peterson is very much debatable. He is on pace to notch 1,000 yards rushing for the year, but only has 1 touchdown through the first quarter of the season. Jason Snelling is quickly becoming a fan favorite and many are hoping to see #44 get more carries because he seems to hit the hold harder and run tougher. Turner is still an excellent running back, but has he lost a little bit of a step?

3) Can the Defense Hold Peyton Hillis in Control this Time?

The first loss in the Mike Smith Era came at the hand of the Mike Shanahan led Denver Broncos and a little know fullback-turned-halfback Peyton Hillis. A close game to the end, the Broncos pulled ahead on the legs of the mammoth Hillis (6’2, 250) who notched 44 yards rushing with 2 TDs and added another 26 yards receiving on 3 catches. After a few injuries Montario Hardesty and James Davis coupled with non-production from Jerome Harrison, Hillis has exploded for 322 yards rushing, 4 touchdowns, and a staggering 4.9 yards per carry. The Falcons are ranked just outside of the top 10 in terms of rushing defense at number 11 and that’s including two plays for a combined 130 yards (50 yarder in Pittsburgh and 80 yarder against Arizona). They did hold Frank Gore to 77 yards rushing (without much help from the offense), but also gave up 60 yards receiving. Hillis is known as a good receiving back as well, so will the Falcons be ready for Hillis this time?

4) Can the Offense Finally Click Against the 3-4?

Yes the Falcons torched the Cardinals who run the 3-4 defense, but they also continued to lend credence to the idea that they traditionally struggle against 3-4 defenses. They had hard times with 3-4 defenses last year(the exception being at San Francisco) and that has continued this year against the Steelers and 49ers. They have an issue getting their ground game going and thusly generally have a hard time moving the ball. Is it that Mularkey has issues with the 3-4 defense or that our offense isn’t built well to run on the 3-4 with Turner failing to always hit the hole quickly. The Browns defense won’t be confused with the Steelers, but they have some hard nosed players including Shaun Rogers, safety TJ Ward, DE Robaire Smith, and former Saint Scott Fujita. The Falcons, Mike Mularkey and Co. have yet another opportunity to put the “3-4 Struggle” idea to rest.

5) Will Special Teams Get it Together?

Many fellow Bird Cage members brought up a great point about the Falcon introducing rookies into special teams and that might be a reason for the struggles. Matt Bryant has been rock-solid, but the coverage and return teams need some work. While Eric Weems is solid, he hasn’t scared a ton of teams while returning the ball. The punt block against the 49ers almost cost them game and they were a determined team to come back from the blown punt coverage in the first minute in New Orleans. Probably just a few mistakes and it will likely be fixed, but the time for major blown coverages should be over.

6) Will Jenkins and Spoon Return? How about Jerry?

After much ire towards Michael Jenkins (admittedly some by this author) in recent history, fans can’t wait for the 6’4 speedster to return to the lineup. Perhaps Jenkins has been overly criticized in the past because he has pulled in 50 catches a year the past three seasons, even if not being an insanely explosive number 2 receiver. Harry Douglas has returned close to his rookie form, but also dropped a few catches last week and is likely a better slot receiver than a true #2 WR, at least in this offense. The Falcons are 3-1 without Jenkins, but fans are really excited about seeing the combination of Roddy White, Michael Jenkins, Harry Douglas, and Tony Gonzalez. Kind of interesting to think that the fab four have never played a full game together. Fans are salivating at the fact. Rookie Sean Weatherspoon was off to a great start before tweaking his ankle against New Orleans. The level of depth is great to see with Stephen Nicholas doing well in Spoon’s absence, but fans want to see the first round draft pick continue his ascendancy as a rookie. It’s a fair argument to assume that Spoon is the best coverage LB for the Falcons. How is Peria Jerry coming along? The former 1st round draft pick is being worked in very slowly to the lineup and the coaches are taking it slow with him, but has the emergence of Corey Peters and Vance Walker made Jerry less relevant? Is his knee holding up OK?

Your Turn

-What Birds will show up in Cleveland: Cards/Saints or Steelers/Niners?

-Any way the Falcons take the Browns for granted?

-Has Michael Turner lost a step?

-Should Snelling be getting more carries?

-Will Birds hold Peyton Hillis in order this time?

-Can offense start to put the “3-4 Struggle” behind them?

-Has special teams got it together?

-Itching for a return of Jenks and Spoon?

-Are you concerned about Peria Jerry?

 

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463 comments Add your comment

WR

October 7th, 2010
10:04 pm

Need I say it.

WR

October 7th, 2010
10:05 pm

Yep, I guess so, First

WR

October 7th, 2010
10:11 pm

Shouldn’t be on here in this frame of mind, but let everyone be warned, there probably is a reason at this time of night for my grammar errors. Okay on to the Browns, as crazy as it sounds, I think the Browns especially in Cleveland is actually a tougher task then the far more talented Niners. As much as I like Singletary on the 85 Bears, as a coach, not so much, the Browns are a better coached team, Mangini is not the best in the world, but with Holgrem looking over this looks like a far better team then they did last year no matter the record. Problem is I believe the Falcons are a very well coached team with far better talent, after escaping the would be loss to the Niners last week, the Falcons should take a hard fought battle but run away win in this one in the end.

Moose

October 7th, 2010
10:25 pm

WR……..Browns like to blitz to hide their secondary deficiencies and Ryan will light em up. They’re 29th against the pass givinng up 633 passing yards in the past two games………

Hillis will get his but so will Turner…………….

FrontRow

October 7th, 2010
10:31 pm

A little more free form this time.

The Falcons team still learning how to win on the road will show up. Maybe we got over the hump in NO; if so then we should beat a less talented team.

No way they take the Browns for granted but I don’t think they took the 49ers for granted either. The 49ers just showed up (A game on defense) and the Falcons started slow. Look for a fast start.

Turner has not lost a step. #33 faded in 2008 and is not getting the workload of 2008. We need him just as fresh in December as he is now.

Snelling will get his carries. Hopefully, he and Ovie get all the carries in the 4th quarter.

Falcons have significant improvement on D-line since 2008. They will need to play VERY agressive on D-line and slow Hillis down before he gets a head of steam.

More frustration against the 3-4 as Mularkey continues to work Turner through his troubles with the alignment. Perhaps he should watch some Snelling tape. Mercy on the 3-4 team we’re playing when the lights come on for Turner.

ST is a question mark. Just close your eyes; if nothing happens then it’s an improvement.

Not so much ready for Spoon and I hope he is OK if he does play. Jenkins yes…..Falcons have salivated since getting TG but haven’t had a full compliment on the field yet.

Not concerned about Jerry. More concerned about getting somebody in the backfield on every play. Falcons are DEEP on D-line and hopefully BVG finds the right combination early in the game to create havoc in the Brown’s backfield.

On D, getting 1 or 2 bodies into the backfield on every play is not only possible but crucial for this game.

On O, start fast. This team is very vulnerable to downfield passing and with Jenkins in they should get a good chance to test the secondary. Use the pass to set up the run.

Sarah B

October 7th, 2010
10:32 pm

Looking forward to us matching up with Shakey Jake, may he throw us some INT’s like the old days. Grimes, Williams be ready…

D3

October 7th, 2010
10:36 pm

Sarah B. – Last time we faced Shakey Jake we………lost. Let’s hope for no repeat.

WR – That’s what I’m talkin’ about (re: errors)!!

Front Row – Great points. Good to have you in the Bird Cage. You’re approaching regular status. Welcome!

Moose – Nice call. Why is it that I can never stop being nervous about my Falcons? I’ve stopped being nervous in regards to other teams I follow, but the Birds still make me ansy.

G’Nite Cage! See you all tomorrow………

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FrontRow

October 7th, 2010
10:39 pm

Shakey Jake has 2 dinged up O-linemen (C and RT). We all know what happens when you smack him around.

Falcons, although light on sacks, have jostled all the QBs so far. I believe Wm. Moore is the reason Derek Anderson is on the bench.

Sporkdevil

October 7th, 2010
10:46 pm

Yes. We will take care of the Browns.

Browns have no pass game. They have a group of mediocre at best QB’s throwing to some WR’s who at best have shown a game or two of flashes. Their #2 WR has 18 yards on the season. Their pass game is nothing in comparison.

I’d assume we sell out to stop the run, because neither Delhomme or Wallace will manage good numbers passing the ball.

Their secondary is terrible, but I’d be somewhat concerned about someone taking a shot from Ward.

Their defense is mediocre. They have a team lacking play makers, and we have a team full of play makers. Mangini isn’t going to out coach Smitty. We are the more complete team, and since I’m going to Cleveland to watch the game, we better put the crush on em!

Moose

October 7th, 2010
11:00 pm

This I did not know…….. Wow……….

SS William Moore’s ball skills (two interceptions in three starts) have helped Atlanta in the back end. “That’s something he’s been doing for a long time,” said LB Sean Weatherspoon, Moore’s college teammate at Missouri. “He played receiver in high school, so that definitely helps

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Cane Pole

October 7th, 2010
11:22 pm

Falcons win 27 14

FrontRow

October 7th, 2010
11:34 pm

Mr. Moore is all over the field. He’s broken clean on several QB pressures and got all up inside Derek Anderson’s head – a big reason why AZ only scored 7.

Scary thing is we haven’t seen his best….yet.

uga_b

October 8th, 2010
1:18 am

I will beat this horse! Get turner on the edge and look at running some counters. His best runs have been to the outside. Snelling gets tons of balls but I think most of us would like to see more of the screen game.

Peyton Hillis will be running against a much better run defense team and I think we get a few from Jake.

Can’t wait to see Jenkins back so we can open up the field some more.

I keep telling myself kick coverage will get better even if it us all thanks to Keonen. I really haven’t been disappointed with Weems. He hasn’t hit one but hasn’t taken any real bad routes or things like that. Maybe let’s a few too many go, but both of those things could go back to blocking.

I personally have seen the same Falcons team every week; grind it out and play hard. If you don’t have your A game just hang around and go for the kill when it presents itself.

Big Ray

October 8th, 2010
1:50 am

1) Yes. The Birds will bring their “A” game. Because they’ve seen what can happen against a talented NFL team when you don’t . That, and the coaching staff won’t tolerate an inexcusable slow start. Apparently, neither does Matt Ryan, as one of our O-linemen found out last week…

2) I’m going to say it: Turner has lost half a step. But….a high ankle sprain has a long-lasting effect. Turner still looks big, even in comparison to last season. We still like him, no doubt. The key to Turner’s effectiveness is falling forward and wearing defenses down in the second half. However, he is not hitting the hole as quickly as we’d like (I’ll say this again: Snelling is quicker), and sometimes that costs yards. That, and he’s not getting to the corner, where he can burn guys. Once he’s free, however, he’s tough to bring down and can scamper for a while. We probably just need to mix Snelling in more. Here’s another mild issue: Turner isn’t used to catching the ball. Of course, the same could be said of Snelling, who has seen fewer snaps. Yet, he’s better at it.

Don’t throw this baby out with the bathwater. We have two solid, healthy big backs. There ain’t a thing wrong with that. We need both (Antone Smith is still a rookie and I don’t know how fumble prone he may or may not be).

3) Yes. The defense can handle Hillis, but it all starts with our front 4. If the line allows the Browns to maul them, it will be trouble, but that should not happen. We’ll miss Weatherspoon if he can’t be there, but Lofton is going to take it personal if a big back keeps getting into the secondary. Wrap up, and we’ll have no issues.

4)Hard to say. We’ve seen the 3-4 enough times to know what the difficulties are. I think we have some issues blocking from the offensive line, here and there. But we can succeed. Only the toughest 3-4 defenses can really hurt us (Steelers), but better execution can overcome that. One trick is to be forceful in the run game, but also switch it up a bit. Force the linebackers to cover quicker, shiftier guys. Check down throws to the running backs (again, this involves Snelling), although our weakness there is that Turner isn’t that good of a receiver. Use the slot guy more in those cases (Douglas), as they can get more yards after the catch by making the bigger linebackers miss tackles and blow coverage assignments.

5) I think special teams needs some personnel changes. Weems is solid, but he lacks the shiftiness and speed of Douglas and the oft-injured Norwood. We can’t use Douglas, because if he gets hurt, we’re screwed in the receiving game. No, seriously, that would hurt badly, especially without Jenkins back to health and in the groove. But we can’t be blowing special teams coverage. That’s another issue altogether. Only thing I can say is the special teams coach has to put some fire under some butts.

6) We need Spoon back. Nicholas has played well, and I’m glad we have him. But there is a reason why Weatherspoon was named a starter. Still, better to have him back and fully healthy than to be back and re-injure himself, or not be at full speed. We need Jenkins, but you just can’t rush some things. As for Jerry, he’s getting lost in the mix, even though they’re taking their time with him. He has to show he can have an impact when he’s in the game. He hasn’t shown that yet. If Peters and to a lesser extent- Walker, continue to show out well and be solid, Jerry will find himself sitting around with Trey Lewis. I’m just sayin’….

Big Ray

October 8th, 2010
1:57 am

I’m so glad my boy William Moore is showing why I kept saying all last year “if he gets healthy, WATCH OUT”. LOL. Not tooting my own horn, just saying I’m really glad to watch him turn and burn out there. He’s a beast, and that’s why he was drafted as highly as he was. The best is yet to come. Game breaking play maker. Watch. And all the pundits thought that Decoud was the guy who was going to break out. I never really thought so, myself, though I don’t think ill of the guy. He’s a player. But he isn’t the dynamic guy who can scare offenses (maybe I’m wrong and he will be someday).

A few things on facing the Browns and their blitz-happy defense:

1. No time like now to start trying to bait the defense into offsides penalties. That will make a blitzing defense hesitate. Of course, you do run the chance of Sam “what the F is wrong with him NOW” Baker of jumping offsides, so maybe that ain’t a good idea. But I think it could work.

2. Gotta dump the ball off on short routes and to the running backs on these blitzes. Trying to get into 3 and 5 step drop backs with a blitzing defense is nothing but trouble.

3. Pass blocking has to be up to par, and then some. That includes the RBs. But a good bump and run by a running back can result in just enough time for the QB to get a pass off to a RB who as throwing a quick “bump” block a second ago. The issue is that we never seem to block well on any sort of dump off or screen pass. The blocking on these types of plays MUST improve.

Bull Schmitt

October 8th, 2010
8:05 am

Good to see Moore finally healthy. He reminds me a bit of Scott Case. And Lofton reminds me of Jessie The Hammer Tuggle. I guess those beautiful ol’ red helmets have me reminiscen’. It’ll be great to see Jenkins in there. Go birds!

FrontRow

October 8th, 2010
8:14 am

Actually Moore reminds me of another very good Falcon SS – Brian Jordan.

Screen Pass

October 8th, 2010
8:19 am

Nice points Big Ray. It seems like it would not be hard to practice some screens and short outlet plays. The fact we rarely do it and look horrible when we do is how I know we don’t practice them. That is all on the coaching staff, they need to wake up. No one is saying to give up the run and purely dink/dunk, just be able to do it well when we need it. I haven’t seen the Browns in action yet so I will forego a prediction for now, but this game makes me real nervous for some reason. We haven’t really played all that well in a few facets of the game but while winning there seems to be no impetus by the staff to improve. I think this overconfident and arrogant lazy lack of coaching will bite us hard real soon, maybe this is the week.

Roy

October 8th, 2010
8:46 am

We should win easily but the Falcons won’t throw deep so i think this will be another close game!

ddawgdavis

October 8th, 2010
8:48 am

Why in the world would you run screen passes and check-downs on a 3-4 blitzing Defense? LBs will feast on that crap. Mid range to long sure passes with quick release will beat that “all-in the box” mentality. Browns DBs with Haden, Wright etc aren’t exactly imposing their will on WRs. They are 12th in Passing Defense and give up the 8th most yards against the pass.

Old hat, but use TG as the fail-safe, but let’s get Harry Douglas more involved. Start Finneran as the possession WR and Roddy is what he is. I just don’t see the big deal with the Browns. Seneca Wallace as their QB. Hillis is hurt and who are their WR? Mo Massa?

Falcons 34-Browns 10

WR

October 8th, 2010
9:55 am

In my opinion in the first quarter and into the second quarter this game will be close, the talent level in the NFL is not all that different, the difference maker is player evaluation and coaching. As the game goes on the Falcons will impose their will on the Browns, for all the arguments about what the Falcons do or don’t do I think their a better team then even last year’s Superbowl champs because they have the ability to impose their will. Offensively, Murlarkey isn’t the best in the world, actually at times he sucks in my opinion, but in reality, he does understand the game and he calls a game that his defensive minded head coach wants give or take a screen. With the return of Jenkins the offense will get even better, not to say Jenkins is a true number 2 WR but teams have to pay him some attention. Which leads to Douglas moving into the slot, in the slot Douglas will be a beast for any team, an LB can’t cover him and bringing in an extra DB will only help the run game, here that thunder, thats Douglas in the slot with Turner in Snelling bearing down on you. Thats not to mention a HOF TE in Gonzalez who just knows how to get it done no matter what, and what is soon to be a top 5 receiver in White who has grown before our very eyes.

WR

October 8th, 2010
9:55 am

The difference between the Saints and Falcons is this, some can say their running game was strong last year, but thats because of their explosive passing game more then because the ability was there, for those who like an education is Football 101 notice how the SB champs with that explosive offense deferred and decided to play keep away from Peyton Manning and the Colts in the Superbowl, ask yourself why, well the answer is that they are not a team that can impose their will, you won’t find many teams that can in the NFL, as long as Ryan continues to grow, you will find one in Atlanta, and thats not even mentioning the very fast and improving defense. My buddy SW mentioned that the Falcons D reminded him of the old Tampa 2, even though I tried to come up with a different name I completely agree and its starting to come together. Now think about this, that old Tampa 2 in Tampa Bay never had a dominant offense, well the Falcons do, our hopes are high, my hopes are high, hopefully there are no set backs this year, but even so, yes I’ll be disappointed, but this team is putting together one of the best plans I have saw in awhile in the NFL and I truly believe Atlanta and specifically Peachtree St. will be rewarded for it, not just in an SB win, but in multiple SB wins.

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 8th, 2010
10:09 am

As the F-Birds fly north for the winter in search of brown gold on the sludgy shores of Lake Erie (overflowing with the tears of Cavs fans after Lebron chose to break up their love fest on national TV), it is time to review the insightful pondering points proposed by D3 in his Questions De Jour-

-What Birds will show up in Cleveland: Cards/Saints or Steelers/Niners?
After last weeks close call, I am thinking the good birds will show up.
-Any way the Falcons take the Browns for granted?
Not the coaches, but the team is young and they need to focus. It IS a possibility they try to phone it in, but this is up to the coaches to eliminate. I lack a warm fuzzy fling at this point regards their productive passion being focused on the Browns, but hope springs eternal. I am thinking they will do OK, but I LIKE my rose colored glasses.
-Has Michael Turner lost a step?
Yep, think so, Burner’s burst is lukewarm and not as effective as Snelling at this point from what I saw. He still fights for extra yardage with his strength, but he isn’t leaving the D in his tracks. His heart is there (re: getting in shape and fighting for extra yards), but the legs seem to not be there yet for whatever reason.
-Should Snelling be getting more carries?
Yes, he will help conserve Turner for late in the season, and the constant pounding on the D can’t be pleasant for them.
-Will Birds hold Peyton Hillis in order this time?
He will get his yards, especially in short passes for 5 – 8 yards. Falcons need to play that tighter on 3rd down, but if Spoon is back that should help. I look for Spoon to get a pick this week because of the playcalling (based on film) and intense pressure on the QB
-Can offense start to put the “3-4 Struggle” behind them?
Can’t see any indication yet.
-Has special teams got it together?
No, and if we lose this game Special teams will have cost us again.
-Itching for a return of Jenks and Spoon?
Yep, more Spoon but sure.
-Are you concerned about Peria Jerry?
Yes. Why has he disappeared? I have been looking for info on him, and coming up with anemic data so far.

uga_b

October 8th, 2010
10:33 am

Arizona ran a 3-4…

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 8th, 2010
10:55 am

UGA-B
Good point about Ariz Zona’s 3-4, I hadn’t thought of that.

What does the Falcons upcoming schedule look like on 3-4 defenses vs. 4-3 defenses?

Paddy O

October 8th, 2010
11:13 am

The key to our offense is the push by the O line – you saw it in the AZ game. If we gain 4+ yards on the first down runs, our passing game opens up – and we have a good QB & good receivers. I would like to see more bunch formations, but maybe we’ll have to wait for Jenkins. Also, Finneran can play TE (even fullback). Weems did a good job last week in returns. I am still mad at Turner for dropping that pass then laughing about it – i think he has a serious lack of focus – almost like he is a diva without the credentials, except that fluke 08 run. YOU GOTTA ADMIT – everyone here is excited, and waiting to see how well we perform – WHY? Because we know we are good enough to beat anyone – we beat the Saints, and that definately got us over the top of the mountain. GO FALCONS!

Paddy O

October 8th, 2010
11:14 am

Secondly – our team now has pretty darn good depth – and we should be good for a number of years!!!

Paddy O

October 8th, 2010
11:16 am

BA – Remember, Jerry was still limping around at the beginning of training camp – after that first game, I think he had a lot of pain & the medical staff indicated we needed to go slow with him – I ‘ll be glad if he is full strength by the second half of the season – plus, I think Peters is a lot better than where we drafted him.

Bubbaisaac

October 8th, 2010
11:22 am

I believe we have one of the best GM ’s in football. That said, food for thought. Jenkins is a #1 Pick who is solid but not great, but still has high stock value. John Parker Wilson is really good and needs a shot somewhere but is not visible for the NFL to See. The Arizona Cards are struggling at QB and need an accurate passer. Larry Fitzgerald would be a great addition to the ATL Falcons in that # 2 reciever slot and opposing defense’s would have a nightmare with the running backs and reciever’s. Make a blockbuster trade for Fitzgerald with Jenkins and John Parker Wilson and a 6th Round pic. That said, the Browns are not a team with the mental toughness the Falcons are. We can not allow Cleveland to get momentum as they are only a step or two behind the Falcons in talent and coaching. This game is a testament to who has the will to win. FALCONS 31 to 17

mark

October 8th, 2010
11:41 am

I look for more spread formations this week with Jenkins in, with a 3 four if you can force them to cover more recivers that usually opens up the run game. I really like the idea of White and Jenkins clearing out the middle of the field for Douglas to come underneath for drag routes and getting him in space. He has the kind of speed that can turn a 5 yard pass play into a home run. On defense more of the same, the Browns do not have an eilite group of recivers so look for more blitizing as we should be able to match up well with them in single coverage. Look for either Delhoume or Wallace to spend much of the game being pressured. Overall unless we turn the ball over much we should win by at least 7 if not more.

FrontRow

October 8th, 2010
11:47 am

AZ just got steamrolled in every phase. I still think the hit #25 put on DA ended the game for AZ.

Matt Ryan is still developing; most of the comparisons are against QBs 7-12 years experience. This guy, this year, is shining in the finer aspects of getting the ball out before the hit (see this week’s SoundFX vid).

Browns defense is a perfect foil for Matt to blossom this week. They will gamble with CB and S blitzes and he will get sacked but should get some good chances as well. Brown’s bloggers are supposing they can CB blitz and cover White and Gonzolez with LBs.

I won’t be surprised to see Matt go vertical often. I half expect the first play to be the same play that Jenkins got hurt at the high school and almost no doubt the first play will be to Jenkins.

Lastly, the Browns will try to play keep away from Matt. Their bread and butter is the counter – hopefully JA can stand his ground and let Spoon and Lofton do their jobs. If we can stuff it will be a long day for the Browns D.

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DJ Sniper

October 8th, 2010
12:57 pm

Bangkapi Ajarn, after the Browns game, we play only 2 more 3-4 teams: the Ravens in week 10 and the Packers in week 12. Every other game will be against a 4-3 team.

Only Reason

October 8th, 2010
1:55 pm

Only reason Spoon starts is because NFL owners and GM’s don’t like sitting their first round drafts. I for one don’t think Spoon is better than Nicholas, especially in coverage like everyone keeps yammering about. I watched nearly every Falcon game last year and Nicholas was by far the best coverage LB on the field. I think people get too enamored with guys being first round picks. Nicholas should be a starter and there is no drop off with him in the game.

CBrass

October 8th, 2010
2:07 pm

Screen Pass

October 8th, 2010
2:07 pm

“Why in the world would you run screen passes and check-downs on a 3-4 blitzing Defense? LBs will feast on that crap. Mid range to long sure passes with quick release will beat that “all-in the box” mentality.” – dawgguyfan

Like UGA does? You are suggesting mid to longe range passing is how teams defeat the blitz. Odd, blitzing wasn’t designed to stop the short passing game but what do I know. I mean UGA is undefeated at the moment and routinely blowing out their opponents by using this method so maybe Bobo is on to something.

CBrass

October 8th, 2010
2:09 pm

John Waynesworld

October 8th, 2010
2:53 pm

D3 you’re a fan’s favorite. More knowledge munchies as the day nears.

#1, after last year we shouldn’t be overlooking anyone. Sure the Brownies were easy pickings in the preseason progs by the Cagers because, well, nobody was going to pick the Falcons 7-9 or 6-10. We had to be optimistic and we had some reason to be so. But now that we got a scare from a winless and seemingly hungrier team last week, we are now entrenched in realism. I get it. One friendly reminder…We have all got to remember what Cleveland is and always has been…has beens. The Drive…The Fumble…Cleveland’s playoff history. How is it possible that a river can catch fire? In Cleveland it can. Consistently bad things happen to Cleveland, for it is God’s piñata.

Having said that I have been a Brown’s fan for decades. I’m not the guy from Atlanta who in the 80’s jumped on the 49ers bandwagon when Joe Montana started glowing white hot, no I was a guy from Atlanta who rooted for Cleveland till the ultimate bitter end against the Raiders in 1980 with the Kardiac Kids, against the Broncos in 1986 & 1987 (the aforementioned Drive & Fumble), and I am also the same guy who wishes that one day they would be a Super Bowl contender. But that is not today or this Sunday. In this one I want the Falcons to put it to them with some crazy Arena League score stats. 55-9 would be adequate. The Brownies can have their day on another day.

I believe in this game our DEFENSE will hold the Browns down long enough in the first half for our offense to put something together. But once our running game loosens up, barring bad weather, we should be laying the wood by the 3rd quarter.

Speaking of weather, this game and the next at Philly will be the last possibility that we have of getting cold weather all the way until December 19th at Seattle.

GO FALCONS!!!

ymmotretsof

October 8th, 2010
4:20 pm

I don’t know why Atlanta needed to hire Mike Smith! There seems to be so many coaches writing in this blog! I’ve never seen so many long winded know it alls in my whole life! All the coach has to do is read this blog and the Falcons will never lose another game! I love the Falcons and always will but I don’t pretend to know how they should be coached. They pay Mike Smith very well to do that job and I like how he’s doing it. Some of you don’t seem to need to watch the game you already know what the score will be. Well thanks alot for ruining it for me,no need for me to watch it either!! Why don’t you just write your comment and move on.Mabe you all just have this dream of writing for the paper and want to show your stuff.The game will be on sunday just sit down relax have a beer or twelve and watch it will all happen right before your eyes in HD! Have a good day!!

JB FALCON

October 8th, 2010
4:31 pm

ymmotretsof, it’s called a discussion among fans who enjoy talking about a common interest.

uga_b

October 8th, 2010
4:47 pm

These well-paid coaches spend countless hours evaluating film, play calling, and player performance. Apparently, they believe they don’t know it all either. As stated so eloquently above, we are above-average fans who take an interest in Football. In fact, I really want to grab Pat Kirwan’s new book Take Your Eye Off the Ball. He wrote specifically for the fan who takes more than a casual interest and uses as an excuse to drink a 12-er.

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 8th, 2010
4:55 pm

Updates from CBS- I am surprised and a bit concerned that Spoon, Lofton, and Jenkins are ALL listed as questionable – I would have thought probable at worse.

57 minutes ago – LB Sean Weatherspoon (ankle) and LB Curtis Lofton (knee) fully paticipated in Friday’s practice. WR Michael Jenkins (shoulder) was limited. All three players are listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Browns. Falcons RapidReports

2:13 p.m. – Rookie CB Joe Haden on defending versatile Falcons WR Roddy White: “You can’t play the short and long pass at the same time. You have to study down and distance. Teams do certain things at certain places on the field.” Browns RapidReports

1:18 p.m. – No. 3 key to watch: “Gang tackle” appears to be the term of the week in Atlanta, as many Atlanta defenders used that term to describe how to stop Browns RB Peyton Hillis. And gang tackling will be necessary as Hillis has averaged 3.3 yards after contact. Falcons RapidReports

1:10 p.m. – No. 5 key to watch: Browns RB Peyton Hillis is lauded as a throwback RB, but his pass catching skills have earned him 167 receiving yards and a touchdown. Atlanta struggled defending 49ers RB Frank Gore in the screen game and will need to be better Sunday. Falcons RapidReports

1:09 p.m. – Atlanta hasn’t seen much of the Wildcat formation this season. Cleveland will give the Falcons a look with WR Josh Cribbs lining up as a QB. Atlanta defended the Wildcat well last year, but Cribbs is always a threat with the ball. Falcons RapidReports

1:08 p.m. – No. 2 key to watch: Cleveland’s use of blitzes may force QB Matt Ryan to check a number of throws down. But if Atlanta’s OL can garner enough time, Ryan should find an open WR Roddy White all day against an inexperiencedl Cleveland secondary. Falcons RapidReports

1:07 p.m. – No. 1 key to watch: Browns OLB Matt Roth consistently brings pressure on a lot of Cleveland’s defensive plays. It will be important for Atlanta’s OL to keep an eye on him and make sure he doesn’t break free to take shots on QB Matt Ryan. Falcons RapidReports

1:02 p.m. – QB Matt Ryan said former teammate DT Grady Jackson was the biggest person he’d seen in person. Browns NT Shaun Rogers might surpass him. “Shaun is a force in the middle,” Ryan said. “He takes up some space and does a great job in the middle.” Falcons RapidReports

1:00 p.m. – Coach Mike Smith posts the team’s turnover ratio (+5) on a whiteboard to remind the players how important takeaways are. “If you’re able to create turnovers and the offense gets points off it then your percentage of winning is much higher,” LB Mike Peterson said. Falcons RapidReports

12:59 p.m. – LB Sean Weatherspoon will see a familiar face on Sunday in Browns LB coach Matt Eberflus, who coached him at Missouri. “I ‘d say he changed my life,” Weatherspoon said. “They were the first Big 12 school to offer me and I ended up riding with them.” Falcons RapidReports

ymmotretsof

October 8th, 2010
5:01 pm

With some of you it seems to be more than a discussion. If you know what you think you know someone would be paying you to do it. I get paid to work on airplanes that’s what I know. Don’t get me wrong I like reading your comments but keep them short breif to the point. I hope the Falcons never loose another game but we can’t tell them how to do that.Now if they need some structural help with their airplane I’m their guy. FALCONS 212 BROWNS-0!!!

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 8th, 2010
5:13 pm

Selected Intel from Browns HQ, thanks again to CBS:

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on criticism that he calls too many blitzes: “Everyone – fans, the president, the head coach – wants us not to blitz when we get beat. My neighbor, my wife’s best friend who was in town…” The heavy blitzing has brought mixed results.

2:55 p.m. – Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan on Falcons receivers coach and former Browns interim head coach Terry Robiskie: “Terry makes his receivers block. He’ll make anybody block. He can make a dead man block.” Robiskie is the father of Browns WR Brian Robiskie. Browns RapidReports

2:54 p.m. – Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had the assembled media laughing when he starting talking about his son Matt when asked about Atlanta QB Matt Ryan. Rob Ryan spoke about Matt being in seventh grade now, then paused and said, “Oh, THAT Matt Ryan.” Browns RapidReports

2:22 p.m. – The thought that the return of starting QB Jake Delhomme (ankle) will increase the production of second-year WRs Mohamed Massaquoi and Brian Robiskie must be met with skepticism. Neither has shown the ability to get open consistently. Browns RapidReports

2:13 p.m. – Rookie CB Joe Haden on defending versatile Falcons WR Roddy White: “You can’t play the short and long pass at the same time. You have to study down and distance. Teams do certain things at certain places on the field.” Browns RapidReports

2:06 p.m. – LB David Bowens on if it’s easier to defend Atlanta because he competes against a similar power running game in practice: “It’s actually harder. Atlanta does a great job scheming the run against particular opponents and they keep you off-balance with runs, play-action and (bootlegs).” Browns RapidReports

2:00 p.m. – C Alex Mack (shoulder) practiced and showed no ill-effects from his injury. Expect him to play Sunday. “You have energy and you’re hyped up, so you play through things,” he said. “There’s only 16 games and you can’t miss them. The team needs you.” Browns RapidReports

1:55 p.m. – DB and key special teams contributor Nick Sorensen (calf) has returned to practice. He said he expects to play Sunday. Browns RapidReports

1:49 p.m. – PK Phil Dawson on being one FG away from tying Hall of Famer Lou Groza for the all-time franchise lead with 234: “I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a goal I set a long time ago. To reach that would be pretty special.” Browns RapidReports

11:46 a.m. – Coach Eric Mangini on his secondary: “There’s things we can improve on and opportunities we haven’t taken advantage of. There are some bumps having two young players (CB Joe Haden and S T.J. Ward), and Eric Wright is playing a new position (slot CB).” Browns RapidReports

11:44 a.m. – QBs Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme (ankle) are still sharing reps equally in practice. Coach Eric Mangini said the latter’s availability for Sunday will be determined by how he feels Saturday. Browns RapidReports

11:41 a.m. – Coach Eric Mangini on Falcons WR Roddy White: “There’s not any route he doesn’t run well. Typically burners are not pitch-and-run guys, but he creates a different level of threat. You have to play White differently than guys who are one-dimensional.” Browns RapidReports

11:38 a.m. – DL Robaire Smith (back) and Kenyon Coleman (knee) are back after missing the first two days of practice. Coach Eric Mangini said both should be active on Sunday against the Falcons. Browns RapidReports

Moose

October 8th, 2010
5:25 pm

ymmotretsof,

Falcons 24, Browns 17 ………… Have a Great Day!…………..

Moose

October 8th, 2010
5:26 pm

Whazzzzzzz up BA?……… You gonna make the Durb Sunday?………..

Yo mama

October 8th, 2010
6:02 pm

Dude, your facts are so pathetic. The first loss for mike smith was his second game ever at Tampa, when they pounded Ryan into submission. That loss to Denver was the only home loss for Matt Ryan in his falcon career!

Bangkapi Ajarn

October 8th, 2010
7:27 pm

Hi Moose;

How ya feeling?? KIcking a** and taking names,I hope. Sunday? Hadn’t thought about it, may spend the afternoon at a friends house (watching the game of course) that is being deployed to Oklahoma around the end of the month, over in the Peachtree Corners area (REALLY cute little girl, huge piercing eyes. Who is going?