Falcons-Eagles Preview

An opportunistic Falcons defense is getting help from youngsters like Lofton, Moore

Q&A session with Eagles Gab Mike Burke:

EaglesGab Mike Burke: Right now, the Falcons stand at 4-1 with their only loss coming in an overtime game. What are your impressions of the team at this point in the season?

FalconsGab Russ Loede: My impressions are this is a team that has a found a way to win to games when haven’t played their best ball. “We are finishing. We have to keep that mindset that we are going to finish games. When we have the lead in the fourth quarter, you only have one more to go, we have to play hard and finish the game off.” This was Michael Turner concerning the team’s 20-1 record when leading going into the fourth quarter. Offensively, Roddy and Tony are two of the most reliable pass catchers in the NFC. Defensively, Curtis Lofton and Kroy Biermann are making waves with their production.

EG: As an outsider, it seems like the Falcons offense is the powerhouse. What can you tell us about the Falcons defense? What players have stood out so far this year?

FG: Aside from the obvious, (Kroy, Curtis), this duo in the secondary: William Moore, Brent Grimes.

Moore (highly regarded as the top safety in the ’09 draft class coming out of Mizzou) has supplanted Erik Coleman as the team’s starting strong safety, and since he has been named the starter, it has been five games, five wins. Moore has registered 17 tackles and three forced turnovers.  Talented has always been there, with health being the most pressing issue for Will.  Now that he’s healthy, the sky’s the limit. As for Grimes, he has proven to be a solid cover corner opposite the side of Dunta.

EG: Which Falcons player has been the most pleasant surprise so far this year? Who has been a disappointment?

FG: John Abraham – he’s going strong despite his age, proving critics, like myself, wrong. He recently dominated Joe Thomas from Cleveland, recording two sacks.

Harry Douglas – missed the entire ‘09 season, now he returns and has been M.I.A. I expected him to make more plays based on the hype I heard surrounding this kid from Louisville. High expectations were mapped out for Harry this Summer. Has not yet lived up to status, and was originally thought to be a steady third contributor in the aerial attack for “Matty Ice” next to Roddy & Tony.

EG: Now that we’ve seen Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick both play at a fairly high level, who would you rather play against on Sunday? Why?

FG: Kolb. No-brainer. Vick offers more of a dual-threat, big play ability. You have to prepare your defense for so much with #7. Kolb has not yet proven to hurt a secondary with the bomb deep like Vick. Vick is electrifying, a winner; Kolb, on the other hand, is so-so. One signal caller is scintillating sensational, super aggressive and just makes so much happen, whereas the other QB, is still unproven.

EG: LeSean McCoy has been a real standout for the Eagles this year. What will the Falcons defense do to try and slow him down on Sunday?

FG: To slow down LeSean you to make the Eagles offense one-dimensional by taking out the option to pass. Also, it would to help to wrap-up, limit yards after contact, and to avoid having him turn the corner. When he gets outside, you’re in trouble. Winning first down is a must. Can’t let them get into favorable second, third downs. Managable situations have to be prevented, or else LeSean will get more opportunities.

EG: On Sunday, where will the Falcons have an advantage on offense? On defense?

FG: Falcons advantage on offense: Tony Gonzalez vs. the Eagles linebackers/safeties.
Falcons advantage on defense: John Abraham vs. any Philly offensive tackle.

EG: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?

FG: Eagles advantage on offense: DeSean Jackson-Jeremy Maclin in the open field vs. the Atlanta back seven.
Eagles advantage on defense: Trent Cole vs. any Falcon offensive tackle.

EG: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Falcons on Sunday?

FG: Sean Weatherspoon, the rookie 1st round draft choice from Mizzou. He has the ability to prevent big plays from LeSean, Celek. Can cover a lot of ground, I sense something big coming from Sean. The Dirty Birds defense has to limit big plays in order to secure their 5th win.

EG: Give me a score prediction.

FG: I have a hunch, a feeling that the home team will prevail triumphant. I don’t see the Falcons coming into a hostile environment, notching a victory in the City of Brotherly Love, Rocky, and cheese steaks. Too much has to go their way, and against the Eagles way for the the Falcons to trump the Eagles. Philadelphia triumphs, 27-17 over Atlanta.

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