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Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

Posted on: September 15, 2011 11:49 am
Edited on: September 15, 2011 3:30 pm
 
Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



The uniquely compelling storylines surrounding this game pertain to off-field matters.

But those storylines wouldn’t exist if not for the action taking place on-field. (The reason you don’t know the names of the 17 people arrested in the dogfighting sting in Pass Christian, Mississippi on April 24, 2007 is because none of those 17 people had ever juked and jived 50-plus yards for a touchdown in an NFL game.)

Here’s an on-field breakdown of the Atlanta Falcons’ upcoming match up against their former quarterback.

1. Has he really changed?
As a leader and student of the game, Michael Vick has clearly grown since his days in Atlanta. But his recent growth as a pocket passer has been overstated. Vick is a sounder technician and smarter decision-maker than he was as a Falcon, but that’s not unlike saying Leonardo DiCaprio is a better actor now than he was on Growing Pains.

Of course he’s better now – he’s older and had nowhere to go but up.

Vick still doesn’t diagnose defenses with great acuity. He struggles to identify blitzes and relies too much on sandlot tactics. To be clear, those sandlot tactics are incomparably spectacular; few quarterbacks make as many plays as Vick. But few also leave as many plays on the field.


2. Speed Factor
The most significant resource Vick has in Philadelphia that he didn’t have in Atlanta is speed around him. Vick’s own speed can give defensive coordinators nightmares. Vick’s speed coupled with the speed of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy make for night terrors.

It’s the type of speed that can kill – not just quickly, but also slowly. Defensive backs on both sides of the field must play with a meaty cushion against Eagle wideouts, which makes it easier for Vick to identify coverages and throwing lanes. Teams also must keep their safeties over the top, which puts added responsibility on linebackers to cover crossing patterns inside, thus opening up the flats for McCoy out of the backfield (McCoy’s 79 receptions easily led all running backs last season).

Vick’s speed also makes life easier on his offensive tackles, as defensive ends are often instructed to keep him in the pocket by rushing with less vigorous containment tactics. Because opposing pass-rushes can be naturally tentative, the Eagles don’t need to bother with play-action.

3. Zoning
It’s foolish to play man coverage against the Eagles. For starters, few teams have two corners fast enough to consistently run with Jackson and Maclin. What’s more, in man coverage, the defenders turn their backs to the ball and run away from the action by following receivers, which creates enormous outside running lanes for a quarterback to exploit if he gets outside the pocket (this is how Vick killed the Giants in Week 15 last season).

Fortunately, the Falcons are a zone-oriented defense, so they won’t have to adjust their scheme much for this game. But they will have to adjust their execution. Last Sunday against Chicago, the Bears used downfield route combinations that stretched the Falcon safeties over the top and created gaping voids in the deep-intermediate sectors of the zone. It was problematic.
 
Philly’s outside speed will only exacerbate this problem Sunday night – especially given that Falcon corners Brent Grimes and Dunta Robinson prefer to play off coverage at the line of scrimmage rather than delivering a jam.

4. The Solution
To prevent the Eagles from stretching the zone coverage, the Falcons must force Vick to get rid of the ball quickly. Doing this will also put the onus on Vick’s presnap reads and prevent him from extending the play and conjuring his sandlot magic. Mike Smith and Falcons defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder should tell their men again and again that the earlier Vick gets rid of the ball Sunday night, the better.

Atlanta is capable of bringing heat. As we talked about last week, Smith has adopted a more aggressive philosophy than he had as the defensive coordinator in Jacksonville. The zone blitz out of a 4-3 base or nickel package has become a staple in the Falcons’ scheme.

With pressuring Vick being so important, and with the Eagles having a makeshift, incohesive interior line, it’s as viable a tactic as ever.

5. Control Clock
For as much hoopla as there’s been about the addition of Julio Jones, the Falcons are still a power-run team (their unbalanced play-calling against Chicago was a function of the lopsided score). Michael Turner is a bruising high-volume runner and the offensive line is an unathletic but well-sized group.

The Falcons, working out of a Mike Mularkey playbook that’s rich with two-back and two-tight end formations, are already built to mount long drives. They’ll be wise to shorten the game and avoid a shootout with the Eagles.

So who will win? Check our expert picks for all Week 1 games.


Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Comments

Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:01 pm
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview



Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 23, 2011 5:23 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: September 16, 2011 11:22 am
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

Every analysis of this game that I've read deals solely with what the Falcons must do to stop the Eagles.  If you're playing the entire game by reacting to what your opponent does, you've already lost.



Since: Nov 6, 2010
Posted on: September 16, 2011 5:15 am
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

Keep hearing local radio shows talking about how falcons fans would feel if Mike Vick and the Eagles came to town during the playoffs. Now, I know the media story would be about him redeeming himself and coming to Atlanta for some get back. Personally I don't understand this. All true Falcon fans should understand that the story should be about our team having a chip on OUR shoulder for a game like that. The story should be about a QB who had a chance to get the commisioners help, and lied. A QB who had a chance to come clean to the owner of the team and get help, and lied. A QB who let a whole locker room of his bretheren down and lied to them. A QB who admitted recently that he did not give his all while he was in Atlanta. Now, I hold no grudge. Mike paid the price for his wrongdoing and I wish him well. But, if anyone should want some get back.....it should be this entire city and football organization.  Hoping for a big win Sunday night and for both teams to stay injury free.  WE NEED THIS!!!!! Just sayin.



Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: September 16, 2011 3:09 am
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

The article calls Vick a sand lot player, the Eagles don't block very well, so yeah, he has to be Houdini at warp speed, Starship 7 as Gruden calls him. Anyway, the Bears destroyed the Falcons, no reason to think the Eagles won't. It'll be harder on the road than Philly last season. Falcons need to bounce back and win at home, so like Prisco said in the video, they are dangerous for that. I don't think the Falcons can cover Jackson & Maclin, McCoy & Celek. Can the Eagles stop Turner, he won't pull up lame like Stephen Jackson did for the Rams. But if the Eagles can keep the Falcons out of the end zone, fg's or nothing, the Falcons should score low to mid 20's. The Eagles can turn it on and get 30+, they left points in the win vs the Rams. And I think the Rams defense is at least coached better than the Falcons defense. The Rams head coach is the guy who shut down the Patriots while with the Giants. Coincidentally he was with Jim Johnson in Philly. I understand that's the HC and not the DC, but teams take on the personality and strengths of their HC and that is defense for the Rams. As for the Falcons, well Ryan isn't over rated, but he has to win a playoff game sooner or later, this might be a good indication of whether they can this season, because against the Bears, the Falcons demonstrated they don't have a playoff gear in them. It was the same effort they gave against the Packers, will the Falcons beat a legitimate SB contender when the teams come out razor sharp ? I haven't seen it in them. Even the season the Cardinals beat them & went to the SB, the Falcons simply didn't have the depth or personnel that showed me they are anything more than a 1st playoff game knockout.



Since: Sep 11, 2010
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:46 pm
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

The only good remarks in this aritical was '2. Speed Factor', and this is the differnce in the two teams. Philly on a fast surface is trouble for the Birds, 'The most significant resource Vick has in Philadelphia that he didn’t have in Atlanta is speed around him. Vick’s own speed can give defensive coordinators nightmares. Vick’s speed coupled with the speed of , and make for night terrors.

It’s the type of speed that can kill – not just quickly, but also slowly. Defensive backs on both sides of the field must play with a meaty cushion against Eagle wideouts, which makes it easier for Vick to identify coverages and throwing lanes. Teams also must keep their safeties over the top, which puts added responsibility on linebackers to cover crossing patterns inside, thus opening up the flats for McCoy out of the backfield (McCoy’s 79 receptions easily led all running backs last season).

Vick’s speed also makes life easier on his offensive tackles, as defensive ends are often instructed to keep him in the pocket by rushing with less vigorous containment tactics. Because opposing pass-rushes can be naturally tentative, the don’t need to bother with play-action.' well said. Eagles 28 Falcons 17!! 



BLOTTO2
Since: Sep 12, 2011
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:39 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: September 15, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

The biggest disgrace will be those turn-coat Falcon fans that will cheer louder for Vick and the Eagles than the Falcons.  It's a certainty..and thats a shame.




Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:33 pm
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

I dont think Atlanta will win this game, while the Eagles passing game is loaded with talent, their strength is the run. McCoy can run and screen from backfield. Vick well you know is a matchup nightmare for the middle. Ronnie Brown will get better and better as the season progresses. No team in football can run like the Eagles. They led in rushing yards per play last year by a ridiculous .5 yards a carry over the closet competing team and they will again this year. The passing is another added bonus to the lineup. With the addition of Steve Smith the team has 3 pro-bowl WR and 2 pro-bowl running backs (Vick included there) on the field. Thats just sick. They have so many options I just dont see Atlanta keeping pace all game with them. The Eagles are going to score lots of points no question. Can they stop the Atlanta run? Probably not they are a great running team. Eagles Dbacks will have a field day this week I feel it but LB crew will have issues all season long most likely. I see another 5-6 sacks from our D-line they are just ridiculous at pass rushing. Atlanta will have to go away from the run in second half because well the eagles will score a lot. GO EAGLES!!!



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: September 15, 2011 2:47 pm
 

Film Room: Eagles vs. Falcons preview

Philly better do something about the blitz coming from the right. Vick can deal with some of that but he needs help and in a big way. That is really the only glaring offensive weakness I seen last week. Maybe a few dropped passes but nothing too major. Hoping Maclin gets more invloved this week as well. I'm also a huge fan of Dion Lewis and hope he gets a few more touches (be it special teams or on offense). Defense will come together and I'm loving the way Babin played. The guys a beast!


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