After watching Atlanta’s game against Carolina, here are three things I learned about the Falcons.
- Matt Ryan is excellent throwing between the hashes and the numbers. Saw that in the Falcons’ game vs. the Panthers and then heard that the Redskins consider him the best at throwing in this area. Ryan will go over the middle, but there was little doubt, especially against Carolina, that he’s comfortable outside the hashes. Tight end Tony Gonzalez makes a living in this area on option routes. Ryan did throw a TD pass to receiver Roddy White over the middle last week, into a tight window. The linebacker had little time to react to the ball underneath. Ryan does not always throw off a play-action look, though having Michael Turner in the backfield helps quite a bit. One thing I really liked about Turner is how well he seemed to use his peripheral vision, allowing him to cut and look forward while shaking defenders. Saw that a couple times. He makes guys miss and breaks tackles.
- The defense moves around a lot, especially in third-and-long situations. Defensive end John Abraham will play on both the left and right at times. That isn’t a huge issue for the Redskins’ scheme because they use zone. It’s more of an issue for a man-blocking scheme. However, the Falcons like to stunt out of this, too, and that’s where the problems could exist. They also move Kory Biermann around a lot, too. I saw him in a three-point stance on the line and I saw him standing up and rushing from both sides – off the edge and between the tackles. He also spied quarterback Cam Newton at times. Biermann is listed as a defensive end, but that’s not how he’s always used. He’s more like an outside linebacker in a 3-4. Incidentally, I did see Biermann get real low vs. the Panthers’ right tackle for a hit on Cam Newton – Biermann looked like he was about to fall he was that low, but kept his balance and beat him. And their linebackers did fall for the zone read fakes.
- Right tackle Tyson Clabo had some issues. He allowed three sacks and a few other pressures against the Panthers. One of them came from a Ryan Kerrigan-like rush in which the defender got into his pads and drove him back. On another in the fourth quarter the end simply got around the corner, using his hands a little but more so his speed. Apparently Clabo missed practice time last week because of a hip injury and perhaps that affected his play. But it bears watching Sunday.