I ran across this article from Pro Football Focus discussing only the go-route (or 9-route, or streak, fly route, whatever you prefer to call it). You wouldn’t think it, but the Falcons are amazingly represented here. However, it’s not on the offensive side of the ball.
Asante Samuel is the Falcons recognized here, and it is for his exception ability to prevent receptions on the go-route. I believe that it is his physical style of play against the receiver (which John Dunlap alluded to) that gave him the ability to prevent the deep ball. By jamming the receiver, it takes the receiver more time to get into his route. When it takes more time to get into his route, the pass rush can get to the quarterback. The QB will have to get rid of the ball quickly, and generally he won’t target the receiver who was jammed properly at the line.
There is another individual who was mentioned in the article who didn’t make the list. That’s Brent Grimes. He was also very stingy towards receiver who ran the go-route against him, surrendering only 1 reception on 9 targets– which is really quite a good ratio.
There is another route that the Falcons cornerbacks cover very well. That is the post and corner route. For the top-5 cornerbacks covering these two deep routes, the Falcons are very well represented with Grimes, Samuel, and Dunta Robinson ALL making the list. I was a little nervous thinking about this secondary, especially because I had a perception that Samuel had a penchant for giving up the big play. The good news is that I misplace the blame, as those touchdowns were obviously not his man. The Falcons also have great defensive backs to defend the deep routes, and I know for a fact that Samuel, Robinson and Grimes are all very effective against the short routes. There is no doubt that the Falcons defense will improve with the addition of Samuel.