Passing Picture in the Bay. !!!
Coach Smith of the Atlanta Falcons has always formulated a philosophy that his players accepted early on and rekindle every week that the team prepare and play ~ one game at a time.
Week eleven is a road game to Tampa to play the Bucs who, with six games left on the Falcons regular season schedule, make up a third of the Birds opponents.
The very ugly win over Arizona is past history. Matt Ryan won’t throw five interceptions and the Bucs don’t have two weeks to prepare as the Cardinals did for the Falcons. Numbers and Stats don’t tackle, block and run on the field, but the numbers are there for Atlanta to take flight like the bird of prey they can and should be as long as Coach Smith and his team are not looking ahead to the quick match up with the Saints and keep that one game at a time mindset. Game eleven numbers to fly with are, maybe scale down the traditional rushing attack this week that has been slow to materialize and difficult on momentum for the offense. Don’t abandon it – just show it occasionally as was the case in preseason. Could a change from
Commitment to establish the run be any worse than the fifty eight yards last week ?
A week off for the offensive line and running backs under pressure from the normal rushing game plan may just be what the Falcons need, and against a Tampa defense that is Number one against the run and Number thirty two against the pass it would be the plan of choice a coaching staff should exploit. Atlanta should come out as if the offense resurrected “Air Coryell” and Dan Fouts was on the field at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa has won six games, two against Carolina, the other wins against Kansas city , Minnesota, Oakland and San Diego. Only San Diego would be considered a Passing offense in that group. If Tampa ranks thirty second against the pass and have been sent there by those offenses the numbers say take flight Falcons and utilize all the passing game weapons in the arsenal including the effective screen pass to keep the pass rush off stride. If Bucs cornerback Eric Wright is slowed or can’t go, that just adds argument for the plan of attack. If the Atlanta offense can open up a ten or fourteen point lead that will minimize the Tampa rushing game. A thirty second ranked secondary will certainly bring some doubt that they will contain Ryan’s receiving law firm of White, Jones and Gonzalez, and an all out aerial assault may also open a huge game for Jacquizz and Harry Douglas who are very capable of some big numbers themselves.
All Falcon lovers know Ryan would enjoy five touchdown throws this week to over shadow skeptics from the last game. That would be a nice tune up for that Saints game on the horizon, who will have their hands full on Sunday and also can’t look ahead to Thursdays night showdown.
The numbers for the defense are very simple on paper but must be executed by the entire unit
- – stop Doug Martin. Martin is averaging just over five yards a carry and has gained a thousand yards.
He has run wild over Carolina twice, Minnesota and Oakland getting more combined carries and yards in those four games than the other six, because they could not stop him. Atlanta ranks in the lower half in the league stopping the run and the Falcons have been hurt by running games from the opposition but the numbers show a bend don’t break character in the fact that only three running backs have gained over a hundred yards against this unit. (McGahee, Morris, and Stephens Howling) . Only three rushers in ten games. Turner has two games with over a hundred yards just to throw that number out there for the talk.
Martin is also tied with Clark for third on Tampa’s receiving list – so the plan to stop, spy, shut down this guy has to be number one. The Tampa air attack has some very good numbers also, but they may be inflated
In sync along with the pass defensive rank numbers. The previous mentioned wins came against Carolina twice who are ranked 17th in pass defense, Minnesota (16th), San Diego (19th) and Oakland who is 24th in pass defense. On the other side, the Falcons have gone up against Dallas (6th rated pass defense) , Arizona (5th ) and Denver ( ranked 12th) and have come out on top in the end. They may have been ugly wins but maybe a thirty second ranked pass defense will bring the picture into focus just nicely.