Atlanta Falcons defensive makeover paying huge dividends


The Atlanta Falcons defense the past two games have been absolutely dominating. The defensive makeover made at the bye week has been paying dividends in a major way the past two weeks.

It is quite clear and evident that the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff reshuffling by Dan Quinn has so far paid off and has breathed new life into the defense, as they have looked like a completely different and re-energized group.

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn decided that something needed to be done during the bye week from a defensive perspective. Either that or owner Arthur Blank read him the Riot Act and gave him an ultimatum.

Knowing his coaching seat was continuing to get even hotter, Quinn decided to move coach Raheem Morris back to his natural coaching area of expertise…on the defensive side of the ball.  He also delegated play-calling duties to former linebacker coach Jeff Ulbrich and newly re-appointed secondary coach Morris.

Although neither has officially been handed the defensive coordinator title, both are splitting play-calling duties. Coach Ulbrich call defensive plays on first and second down. Coach Morris calls defensive plays on third and fourth down. The defensive makeover has created ten sacks and four interceptions the past two weeks.

Morris might be the main reason for the defensive makeover. Safety Ricardo Allen has given him a huge amount of credit, saying the communication on defense, specifically the secondary, has improved dramatically as a result. Perhaps the most beneficial and greatest change the staff has made has been moving Damontae Kazee back to his natural position of free safety and shifting Ricardo Allen to strong safety. The difference is night and day, as evidenced by their play and production.

Even second-year cornerback Isaiah Oliver has made major progress and has played much better.  This is most likely due to him receiving proper coaching. He has such good skills and is finally pressing at the line of scrimmage. He is finally being played to his strengths.

The shift in safety positions has allowed Allen to be the quarterback of the secondary and still call the plays. Kazee was never comfortable in the nickel back slot. This might have contributed to the fact that he had no interceptions the first eight games, before recording his first today. This never made much sense considering the fact that he was tied for the lead league last season with seven interceptions.

Cornerback Kendall Sheffield has been playing the nickel slot much better than Kazee was since he was inserted into the rotation. The defensive secondary is playing much more relaxed, which is most likely as a result of them playing more instinctively.

Somebody in the Atlanta Falcons organization finally woke up and realized that with all the defensive talent they had, the players weren’t being utilized properly or being played to their strengths.

The defense was never built to play the scheme that head coach Quinn was implementing when he was calling the defensive plays the first eight games of the season. This defense is built to play with a lead, which is what has been happening in the past two games.

It has been so refreshing and enjoyable to watch this defense play the way they were expected to the past two weeks. Positional coaches on both sides of the ball are so important and responsibilities must be delegated appropriately and accordingly. It’s too bad that it took half the season for the front office and/or coaching staff to realize this.

Falcons success hindered by Dan Quinn’s stubbornness. dark. Next

Even if it is too little too late, it is fun to watch the defense ball out again. Hopefully, this will continue for the remaining seven games of the season.