Atlanta Falcons: Serious Issues That Must Be Resolved

4 of 5

 3 Sophomores in Secondary + 2 Missing Leaders + 0 Pass Rush = 31st Defense

Atlanta Falcons young secondary sorely miss strong safety William Moore. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Vaughn McClure pointed out earlier this week that, on the 74-yard and 47-yard Bears completions last week, the youth of Atlanta’s secondary was on display.  The cornerbacks were seen struggling to communicate coverage signals prior to the snap and they paid the price.

The Falcons start three second-year players in the secondary and it’s obvious just how much they miss the leadership of former Pro-Bowl safety William Moore, who’s out with a shoulder injury.  The absence of “Willy Mo” is no doubt exacerbated by the pre-season Achilles injury suffered by defensive leader and primary signal-caller linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

Couple the secondary’s inexperience with a flat-out pathetic pass rush, and opposing QBs are having field days against Atlanta’s defense.  “I just kind of had to wait for Alshon to get out there,” said Bears QB Jay Cutler on the game-turning 74-yard bomb.  It’s kind of ridiculous when noted nervous-nellie Jay Cutler quips how he just stood around until Alshon ran far enough down field… what a sad commentary on the Falcons pass rush.

“I just kind of … wait(ed) for Alshon to get out there.”-Bears QB Jay Cutler

I’ve also noticed that there seems to be a lot of rotation on the defense overall.  Cutting down this rotation to predominantly play the best eleven guys would undoubtedly clear up a lot of these communication issues.  Of course, given the dearth of talent on that side of the ball, I can see why defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is searching for any combination to pull his defense out of its second-to-last league defensive ranking.

As noted earlier, the Ravens are a league powerhouse when it comes to hitting on big plays.  Nolan and his defense have no choice but to tighten things up in a hurry if they don’t want to get repeatedly embarrassed on the road this Sunday.