Changes the Atlanta Falcons should make before the game against Tampa Bay on Thursday
The Atlanta Falcons are looking to bounce back this Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but in order to do so they will have to do a much better job against the run than they did in week 2. Part of the solution lies within the scheme defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has deployed so much this season. We all know that the NFL is a passing league, however if the defense decides to play 5 defensive backs on the field offensive coordinators will take what you give them and run wild (especially if they have a decent offensive line).
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Nolan and the Dirty Bird defense have been deploying a 4-2-5 scheme and needless to say, it hasn’t worked. It’s a known fact that we do not have all-pro linebackers on the current roster. Prince Shembo has playmaking ability; Paul Worrilow is a tackling machine but does not make impact plays. Joplo Bartu is frequently around the ball but hasn’t made any big plays either. Linebackers are expected to fill the holes and stop running backs in the backfield or for short gains and make their presence known in opponent’s backfield. Making a tackle after a 7-8 yard run is not effective.
If the Atlanta Falcons are serious about stopping the run they should mix in some traditional looks such as 4-3 or 3-4 fronts especially on first down. This places an extra linebacker on the field to help stop the run. There are some that say the defense is a version of the 3-4, I would beg to differ. The falcons love Kroy Biermans versatility, however he has yet to show linebacker reaction skills. In the 3-4 look the starting personnel should be as follows
DE NT DE
Tyson Jackson Paul Solai Jonathan Babinueax
OLB ILB ILB OLB
Joplo Bartu Prince Shembo Paul Worrilow Jonathan Massaquoi
The 4-3 looks should be as follows:
DE DT DT DE
Tyson Jackson Jonathan Babinueax Paul Soliai Jonathan Massaquoi
OLB MLB OLB
Joplo Bartu Paul Worrilow Prince Shembo
The Atlanta Falcons have shown that they will give a veteran the opportunity to play simply because they know the system, however sometimes talent should beats out seniority. The defense is currently suffering from allowing the veterans to play over the younger players. These two personnel groupings would be able to put more pressure on the offensive line at the point of attack and would be stouter against the run. Jonathan Babinueax adds more depth at defensive tackle and is a little bit more disruptive on the interior line. Tyson Jackson was a 3-4 defensive end in Kansas City’s and a good run stopper he is obviously more effective holding down the end position in a 3-4 alignment. It doesn’t make sense to sign a guy that played one position then move him to totally different position. Jackson has not been as effective as an interior lineman.
The defensive line rotation has been non-existent. Rashede Hageman has only played a handful of snaps. Corey Peters made his first appearance of the year and showed glimpses of his old self. Malicaiah Goodman and Stansly Maponga need more reps; they are very active when given the opportunity. I think the front office made a mistake by not putting Travion Robertston on the final roster to help with interior defensive line rotation. A fresh defensive line will lead to more plays being made in the opposing team backfield.
Tampa Bay will definitely attempt to run the ball against the Falcons defense after they look at how much success the Cincinnati Bengals had against our defense. The falcons must make an adjustment to their defensive scheme right now. They cannot afford to allow another team to have their way in the run game. If the Falcons make a few adjustments the defense can get much better and become a force against the run.