Friday, August 28, 2015

5 Things We Learned About The Falcons Against The New York Jets

Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws a pass during the first half of their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

All I can say is wow! There was some good in the game and there was some bad in the game. We've got to see the Defense make a big impression and the offensive line displayed signs of progression (well, kinda). Luckily, there was a lot to take away and learn from this game.

1. First Team Defense:

Adrian Clayborn sack in the first quarter of the game against the Jets

If there was one thing to get excited about, it was the Falcons' first team defense. Paul Worrilow was actually covering really well and did great in space. Tyson Jackson, who was on my bubble list, has impressed many with ability to disrupt in the backfield, a result of losing weight this off­-season. Vic Beasley's presence was felt graciously when he was constantly beating linemen in one­ on one­situations and disrupting the quarterback's pocket for most of the evening, in once instance causing Adrian Clayborn to get a sack. This was an extremely good game for Beasley, who was constantly creating pressure.

Replacing Ra'shede Hageman, Jonathan Babineaux also flashed along with nose tackle Paul Soliai both were eating up lineman and disrupting the pocket. Also, in his first game action in a Falcons uniform, I was impressed with linebacker Brooks Reed come back and help set the edge in the run game. There were a few penalties in the secondary (Yes, started with Robert Alford) and set miscommunications but through it all,  it was a great display by the first team defense for the second straight week. Let's wish the starting unit a successful 2015 campaign.

2. First Team Offense:

Colin Mooney with a big time reception in the First Quarter

After watching the Falcons' starting offensive unit,  many defensive coordinators across the league are in awe. Matt Ryan looks better than ever in Kyle Shanahan's new offensive scheme with his sneaky athleticism, Julio Jones draws so much attention to any opposing defense that we saw newly acquired wide receiver Leonard Hankerson made some plays in the passing offense catching a touchdown pass, and Terron Ward got the start due to the injuries to Tevin Coleman, Antone Smith and Devonta Freeman and didn't make a huge impact but he scored the opening touchdown. 

Collin Mooney, whom is battling with Patrick Di'Marco had an eye opening 60 yard reception which was awesome to see a fallback of his size run that hard and long. The offensive line had an OK day with the Matt Ryan behind them, but continued to regress with the backup quarterbacks. The run game would have been more explosive, but with Antone Smith, Devonta Freeman, and Tevin Coleman all out with Hamstring injuries, there isn't much to expect.

3. Backups:

Chris Ivory TD in the 2nd quarter

As a Falcons fanatic, it baffled me watching how the momentum of the game reversed the moment our backups entered the game early in the second quarter. I'm partly glad the game went the way it did; however, I was upset that we allowed 30 points. One of the main issues was the play of the backup quarterbacks. The efforts from the second and third defensive units weren't as encouraging.

Since the Jets game, the Falcons have acquired veteran quarterback Rex Grossman. Grossman is pretty familiar with Shanahan's scheme during his days as a backup quarterback in Washington. Sean Renfree and TJ Yates poor play didn't solve the question of who will become Matt Ryan's backup in the regular season. Over the final two pre-season games, with the addition of Grossman, we're going to stay tuned to this intriguing battle. 

Jalen Collins and Kevin White both were exposed by the Jets receivers throughout the game and hopefully should learn from the experiences. Despite the struggles with the backup units, a few players stood out in Friday's contest such as linebackers Joplo Bartu and Allen Bradford, and Defensive Tackle Warren Herring all made plays throughout the game, which provides faith in our depth.

4. Special Teams:

Devin Hester punt return

Matt Bosher has foot power! According to PFF ratings, he scored a ridiculous +4.2 on special teams and just goes to show why he's one of the league's best punters. Cornerback Kevin White registered a +1.5 in coverage despite having an underwhelming defensive performance. Veteran Devin Hester showed he's still an explosive factor in returning punts with a 62 ­yard return. It's truly amazing how much talent the team has in their skill players, but the question is how can we share the ball in all of the hands?

5.  Surprise of the game:

Paul Worrilow making a big stop on 3rd Down

Paul Worrilow was great in coverage. In my personal opinion, I've never seen him so fluid in his hips and speed to break on a ball. I know, I know, you'll hear many people state that it was against a New York Jets team with quarterback problems (not anything new) and building chemistry, but it was impressive to see the third year linebacker show improvements in coverage,helping the rest of the defense by calling the right plays and staying fundamentally sound. If he can keep up this kind of play throughout the regular season then we'll have the linebacker we've desperately needed over the past few seasons.

---- @Rxgilbert97 (Raekwon Gilbert)

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