We are all extremely well versed in the thought that the Falcons have a multitude of weapons at the skill positions offensively. Roddy White, Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas, Michael Turner, Jacquizz Rodgers, and now Julio Jones who may be the best of them all, with Matt Ryan delivering the passes, this team is poised to make a lot of noise. This article from Yahoo! describes the Falcons offense as getting ready to ‘crank up their air show’. ‘Air show’ is a good description for what the Falcons and fans want from this team.
The piece brings up a good quote from Julio Jones:
I mean, who are you gonna double? Tony? Roddy? Me? That’s six people. What are you gonna do?
Well said, Julio. Who are defenses going to cover? Even if it’s just those three offensive skill players the Falcons line up on the field, its plenty for defenses to worry about. If a team doubled all of those players, it would leave four to rush the passer, and one to cover the other two skill players.
Obviously you’re not going to double-cover all three of those individuals. But if you double cover two of them, that would leave three individuals in man coverage. Those three would probably be Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas, and whoever is playing running back. At times, teams would probably choose to cover different players. For example, I would double Gonzalez in the red-zone or at the goal line. That would leave others in single coverage.
The great thing about the two great outside receivers the Falcons have in White and Jones, is that both consistently beat single coverage, and can even win when double covered, which is especially the case with Jones. Having guys that can win regardless of how the defense chooses to cover them is a huge advantage, one the Falcons will be able to use all season long.
Now, zone coverage certainly changes things a little, but it is another aspect where the Falcons can succeed. White, Gonzalez, and Douglas are veterans who know how to find the holes in zone coverage, settle in those holes, and get open. Julio Jones is only in his second year, but he has proven he can get open against underneath coverage, and he excels at stretching the deep zones, which in turn will help set up route combinations to the other receivers. If the line can hold up for a reasonable amount of time, which it has thus far in the preseason, there in no reason to believe this air show won’t take up and thrill us all.