Opponent Scouting Report: Falcons going for the hat trick

Discussion in 'Green Bay Packer Football' started by Da-news-now, Sep 13, 2017.

  1. Da-news-now

    Da-news-now RSS Reporter Reporter

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    By BOB McGINN

    Can the Green Bay Packers really lose three games to the Falcons in Atlanta over the span of 10 ½ months?

    That question will be answered Sunday night when the two teams meet again in Georgia with the regular-season unveiling of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

    On Tuesday, two executives in personnel said they expected the Falcons to pull off that rare hat trick. Their predicted scores were, 27-21, and 28-24.

    “Atlanta will be playing at a different pace, a different level and a different motivation,” an AFC personnel man said. “Atlanta’s offense has a lot more firepower than Seattle. Seattle’s offensive line is just putrid, and Green Bay took advantage of that.”

    In opening games Sunday, the Packers won a defensive slugfest over the Seahawks, 17-9, and the Falcons escaped Chicago with a 23-17 triumph.

    “I’m picking Atlanta because of home-field advantage and I feel Atlanta’s defensive speed will force a couple of turnovers to give them more possessions,” an NFC executive said. “Playing at home in a new building, Atlanta will come out fast after their offensive showing against Chicago.”

    The Falcons rushed for just 64 yards in 23 carries (2.8) at Soldier Field, but Matt Ryan helped carry the day with a passer rating of 116.1.

    On Oct. 30, the Packers allowed a late 75-yard touchdown drive and lost, 33-32, at the Georgia Dome. On Jan. 22, the Packers made their appearance in the final game there a forgettable one with a 44-21 defeat in the NFC Championship Game.

    Shortly thereafter, the dome was raised to clear space for the retractable-roof stadium that has gone up close by.

    “It’ll be nice to see this thing blown up,” guard Lane Taylor said after the crushing setback. “We’ll start a new future next time we play them.”

    The Packers compiled a 3-4 record in the Georgia Dome, which had a 25-year run. For the first 26 years of their existence the Falcons called Atlanta Fulton County Stadium home. Green Bay finished 3-6 in that 59,000-seat venue that also was home to the Atlanta Braves.

    Weather permitting, this will be the Falcons’ first open-air game in Atlanta since December 1991. The forecast for Sunday is high of 85, low of 65 and 20% chance of rain.

    The Falcons, a 6-point favorite in the title game, are favored by just 2 ½ this time.

    Two personnel men said the Packers haven’t shown enough improvement at cornerback to think they can cover Julio Jones.

    “Atlanta will be more committed to running the ball this week and Green Bay will have to commit more to the box,” an NFC executive said. “That will open things up for Julio Jones.

    “I don’t think the Packers have anyone to match up with (Jones) so they’ll have to find a way to double him and still have enough in the box to stop the run. Atlanta’s tight end (Austin Hooper) is an issue for Green Bay, too.

    “Green Bay will put up points and make it close. Atlanta’s secondary isn’t very good.”

    An AFC personnel man indicated the Packers’ ground game might be the key to victory.

    “I honestly think the best way to (beat) Atlanta is establish the running game and go pound on them,” he said. “They’re undersized. That’s kind of how New England caught up in the Super Bowl. Wore them out.

    “To beat them, you’ve got to withstand the storm because they’re going to come at you early. Most of the times when they lose games it’s in the fourth quarter. They get worn out.”

    OFFENSIVE SCHEME

    Coordinator – Steve Sarkisian (first year).

    Key assistant coaches – Raheem Morris, assistant head coach/wide receivers/passing game coordinator; Chris Morgan, offensive line.

    Notes: Sarkisian. 43, replaced Kyle Shanahan, who became coach of the 49ers. He was coordinator at Alabama last season after head-coaching stints at the University of Washington (2009-’13) and Southern California (2014-’15). His only NFL experience was as quarterbacks coach in Oakland (2004). Shanahan received the lion’s share of the credit for the Falcons’ 540-point splurge in 2016, the seventh-highest scoring average (33.8) in NFL history. Atlanta ranked second in total yards (415.8), third in passing (295.3) and fifth in rushing (120.5). Sarkisian runs a diverse package built around play-action passing and a zone run game.

    What scouts said: “I think it’ll be relatively close to last year with Shanahan. That was part of bringing ‘Sark’ (Sarkisian) in. The main thing is they’re going to be able to throw to their running backs. That was one of the things that Shanahan did really well last year. They were able to isolate linebackers. That absolutely killed people. Starting out, Sarkisian will be a little bit conservative and allow (Matt) Ryan to utilize his weapons. As this thing moves on he’ll be a little bit more wide open and attacking” … “Sarkisian is West Coast. His background is a lot of what Pete Carroll did at USC. He cut his teeth there way back when. He also worked with Lane Kiffin.” … “Shanahan did some things that his dad (Mike) did.”

    WIDE RECEIVERS

    Starters – Julio Jones (6-2 ½, 220, 4.39 40-yard time before the 2011 draft); Mohamed Sanu (6-1 ½, 210, 4.58).

    Top backups – Taylor Gabriel (5-7 ½, 165, 4.41), Justin Hardy (5-10, 192, 4.56).

    Notes: Jones appears fully recovered from off-season foot surgery. The corps of wideouts is intact from last season.

    What scouts said: “Julio is an all-star. Big, fast, strong, aggressive, physical, catches, runs routes. He can be very difficult for any cornerback to cover one on one, and I don’t care if you’re Richard Sherman or Aqib Talib. He pretty much has everything you want. He’ll go get the ball. He’s in the top three or four in the league.” … “Sanu was a quarterback at Rutgers. He’s really a big, strong, smart receiver and has very good hands. He doesn’t have the speed to run away from you. That’s the one negative on him. Big, strong and tough.” … “Gabriel is an undersized slot receiver but has extreme speed. He beats you on speed and quickness. He’s one of those little guys that can just run away from you. You can run hitches and reverses with him, anything just to get the ball in his hands. He can make you miss and run away from you.”

    TIGHT ENDS

    Starter – Austin Hooper (6-3 ½, 254, 4.70).

    Top backup – Levine Toilolo (6-8, 265, 4.82).

    Notes: Hooper, a third-round pick in 2016, isn’t a physical blocker but will sneak deep. On Sunday in Chicago, he stiff-armed SS Quintin Demps and CB Kyle Fuller on his way for 128 yards (88, 40) on two receptions.

    What scouts said: “Nothing special about either one of them. Hooper actually had a pretty good game in Chicago catching the ball. I think it was the Bears struggling to tackle him more than anything. I think he surprised himself. They’re big-bodied guys who as blockers tie up the defender. They’re not really going to blow you off the line. They have adequate hands and run-after-the-catch ability. They’re steady, solid, tough guys but not even as talented as (Martellus) Bennett. In most offenses neither one of them would be the starter. They’d always be a No. 2 type guy.”

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    Starters – LT Jake Matthews (6-5 ½, 309, 4.85); LG Andy Levitre (6-2 ½, 303, 5.35); C Alex Mack (6-4, 311, 5.17); RG Wes Schweitzer (6-4, 300, 5.14); RT Ryan Schraeder (6-7, 300, 5.16).

    Top backups – T Ty Sambrailo (6-6, 311, 5.36); C-G Ben Garland (6-5, 308, 5.09).

    Notes: RG Chris Chester, 34, retired after the Super Bowl. Schweitzer, a sixth-round draft choice from San Jose State in 2016, won the job over veteran backup Ben Garland late in training camp. Schweitzer didn’t play a down as a rookie. He has short arms (32 5/8 inches), large hands (10 ½) and a score of 31 on the Wonderlic intelligence test. Chicago DE Akiem Hicks beat him like a drum Sunday at Soldier Field. Matthews was the sixth pick in the 2014 draft. Levitre, 31, has 129 starts for Buffalo, Tennessee and, since 2015, Atlanta. Mack received $28.5 million guaranteed in March 2016 to depart Cleveland for Atlanta. Schraeder, a former free agent from Valdosta State, is a four-year starter.

    What scouts said: “Matthews has great strength and pretty good feet and technique. He’s not the dominating left tackle you thought he was going to be coming out of Texas A&M. He’s a good, solid, dependable left tackle.” … “Levitre is a little bit of an aging player. He doesn’t have that strength to blow you off the line but is a good technician and a smart guy. Little bit of a descending player. He’s surviving on savvy. He’ll struggle against strength.” … “Mack is the bell cow. Everything runs through him. He takes a lot off the plate of the quarterback. He is a definite pro when it comes to playing offensive line. He’s got good enough strength and a little nasty to him. He’ll take some shots. He’s very tactful holding the nose tackle. He played very well last year.” … “Right now Schweitzer is trying to survive as a big-body guy with good strength upper body and lower body. You can’t just blow him over. He’ll hold and torque guys. Still just learning the position. If there’s a guy they’ll protect and help it’ll be him. He’s a tough guy trying to get by by holding and grabbing and mauling. He probably learned a lot from the first game (in Chicago). He’s stout as a pass protector but a defensive tackle who can move will give him fits.” … “They’ve groomed Schraeder nicely. Typical right tackle. Built more for the running game than the passing game. He has size. Figures he can make people run the hump as opposed to running through him. Not a great athlete but a competitive guy.”

    QUARTERBACKS

    Starter – Matt Ryan (6-4 ½, 217, 4.89).

    Backup – Matt Schaub (6-5 ½, 245, 5.03).

    Notes: Ryan is coming off an NFL MVP season when he led the NFL with a passer rating of 117.1; his previous career high was 99.1 in 2012. His record as a starter is 86-57. His Wonderlic was 28. Schaub, 36, owns a 47-45 mark.

    What scouts said: “If you give Ryan time to throw you’ll be in trouble. If he’s sitting back there and can pat the ball and scan the field and go from here to here, it could be a long day. He’s got good enough arm strength where he’ll take shots down the field. What he really has is guys that can make a play on the ball. His guys can win the 50-50 balls. You can’t relax if a guy’s covered. He’s still going to throw it.” … “Those first two series with him, it’s going to be fast-paced. Everything is kind of scripted so he’s going to be going like a son of a gun.” … “He’s really smart. People who seem to give him issues are the people that hit him. They get him a little bit squeamish back there and then he starts throwing a little bit early. He does not like to get hit.” … “Schaub ran the West Coast offense at Virginia. That’s why he always fit in a lot of those (NFL) schemes.”

    RUNNING BACKS

    Starters – RB Devonta Freeman (5-8, 206, 4.54); FB Derrick Coleman (5-11, 233, 4.51).

    Backups – RB Tevin Coleman (5-11 ½, 210, 4.39); RB Terron Ward (5-6, 201, 4.54).

    Notes: In the opener, Freeman played 36 of 59 snaps compared to Tevin Coleman’s 24. Freeman arrived in the fourth round in 2014. The Falcons selected Coleman in the third round a year later. Both were third-year juniors when entering the draft. Derrick Coleman replaced FB Patrick DiMarco, who in March signed with Buffalo for $4.8 million guaranteed.

    What scouts said: “Either one of them could be starters or in a pretty good rotation on any team except for teams with a superstar running back. They’re both really good runners. Freeman is more of the ball carrier, the every-down back. He’s got good burst, good vision, good compact strength. He can hurt you. (Tevin) Coleman has receiver hands and will split out in the slot. They both run good routes as far as isolating them on linebackers. That’s the big alert with them. When they’re split Ryan does not hesitate to throw the ball to them.” … “Every now and then they go with two backs and one tight end. That’s when they get (Derrick) Coleman in the mix. Nothing special. Just a solid lead blocker who catches the ball on occasion.”

    DEFENSIVE SCHEME

    Coordinator – Marquand Manuel (first year).

    Key assistant coaches – Jeff Ulbrich, linebackers; Jerome Henderson, passing game coordinator; Doug Mallory, defensive backs.

    Notes: Two days after the 34-28 overtime loss to New England in the Super Bowl, coach Dan Quinn fired second-year coordinator Richard Smith. Shortly thereafter, he promoted Manuel, the secondary coach and senior defensive assistant. Manuel, 38, was an NFL safety from 2001-’09, including the ’06 season in Green Bay. It’s a 4-3 “under” defense with primarily three-deep zone and man coverage. Last year, the Falcons ranked 25th in yards allowed (371.2) and 27th in points allowed (406).

    What scouts said: “Manuel will run Quinn’s defense better than Smith. He played in Seattle in the same scheme and coached in Seattle in the same scheme. Marquand coaches it a lot like he played it. He didn’t have great speed so he understood his limitations but he was very smart and very intense. He’ll understand the scheme.” … “What the Packers will get is pretty similar to what they saw this past week playing Seattle. Dan Quinn came from Seattle, and this is the defense he ran there. It all kind of comes from Pete Carroll.”

    DEFENSIVE LINE

    Starters – LE Vic Beasley (6-3, 246, 4.53); NT Dontari Poe (6-3 ½, 346, 4.91); 3-tech Grady Jarrett (6-0 ½, 305, 5.08); RE Brooks Reed (6-2 ½, 254, 4.68).

    Top backups – DT Jack Crawford (6-5, 274, 4.82); DE Adrian Clayborn (6-2 ½, 280, 4.80); DT-DE Courtney Upshaw (6-1 ½, 272, 4.75); DE Takkarist McKinley (6-2, 250, 4.60); DE Derrick Shelby (6-3, 280, 4.85).

    Notes: Poe took a one-year, $8 million deal in March to depart Kansas City. He was the 11th pick in 2102. Crawford departed Dallas in March for $3 million guaranteed on a three-year deal. McKinley, the 26th pick in the draft this year, played 14 snaps in the opener as he returns from shoulder surgery after the combine.

    What scouts said: “Seattle’s philosophy was always keep a good rotation. Dan Quinn used to be a D-line coach. He’ll push high-energy and give me everything you’ve got. It’ll be an all-effort group for as long as possible.” … “Jarrett’s short and compact but explosive and high-energy. He had three sacks in the Super Bowl. He can raise hell a little bit as far as inside pass rush. He’s very deceptive.” … “Poe is a wide body. He fits the role of thick run stopper. He can get leverage and run the guard or center back into the quarterback. Poe is surprisingly athletic for a 335-pound man.” … “Jack Crawford was a boxer and a soccer player growing up in England. He’s a big, naturally athletic guy who can run and chase. He’s finally figured it out.” … “Beasley plays the ‘Leo’ position and other times he plays linebacker. Same thing with Brooks Reed. Beasley led the league in sacks last year. His first year (2015) he was slow to come around because he lacked strength. Then he realized his speed, quickness and athleticism was what would save him, and it did his second year. He continues to get better. Just a run-and-chase guy. He’s not special. He’s not well-rounded. Just an undersized guy who can run and hit. Brooks will give you everything he’s got on every play. He’s a little bit of an overachiever.” … “Clayborn still kind of plays with one arm. His deal is playing hard. Probably not an ideal starter but a good, solid rotation guy.” … “Upshaw has put on weight and strength and can play inside or outside. He’s got good strength.” … “They’ll be careful how they bring McKinley along. He had the surgery but has rehabbed it. Not a whole lot of thought process with him other than go chase. He is big and athletic and can go get the quarterback.”

    LINEBACKERS

    Starters – SLB De’Vondre Campbell (6-3 ½, 234, 4.56); MLB Deion Jones (6-1, 222, 4.45); WLB Duke Riley (6-0 ½, 225, 4.60).

    Top backups – MLB Jermaine Grace (6-0, 215, 4.56); WLB-S Kemal Ishmael (5-10 ½, 206, 4.63).

    Notes: Riley, a third-round pick in April, started for just one season at LSU because he was waiting his turn behind Jones and Kwan Alexander. Jones, a second-round pick in ’16, also was a one-year starter only for the Tigers. In the opener, Jones played all 67 snaps, Riley played 49 and Campbell played 47.

    What scouts said: “It can take its toll if people just pound on Deion. But he’s very good dropping and he can close on the ball.” … “Campbell isn’t undersized but Duke and Jones are. They can all run like a son of a gun. Duke made a boatload of tackles in college. He can run and hit and tackle so there would be an attractiveness early on because of special teams. But now he’s getting a lot of play time.”

    SECONDARY

    Starters – LC Desmond Trufant (5-11 ½, 190, 4.43); RC Robert Alford (5-10, 186, 4.36); SS Keanu Neal (6-0 ½, 211, 4.60); FS Ricardo Allen (5-9, 186, 4.51).

    Top backups – CB Brian Poole (5-9 ½, 213, 4.50); S Damontae Kazee (5-10 ½, 174, 4.57).

    Notes: Trufant is back from pectoral surgery that ended his season after nine games. The other starter, Jalen Collins, must sit out the first 10 games because of a PED suspension. Alford and Poole would have competed for the nickel job. In 2013, the Falcons used the 22nd pick of the first round on Trufant and a second-round choice on Alford. Poole played at Florida when Quinn was defensive coordinator. Neal was the 17th pick in 2016. Allen was a fifth-round choice in ’14 as a cornerback.

    What scouts said: “Alford has really good feet and has gotten better each year. He kind of got taken advantage of early on because he just relied on his speed. He’s turned into a well-rounded cover corner. Very competitive. He can turn and run with most receivers and will be aggressive on underneath stuff. He’s going to jump routes. Little bit more of a gambler than Trufant. He has turned out to be a good corner.” … “Trufant also is undersized but he’s extremely quick. That’s his thing more than anything else. He’s aggressive. Neither one is just a blow-up tackler. They do fancy themselves as being cover guys. Trufant has better quickness than Alford but Alford has better long speed.” … “Poole plays inside. He’s aggressive as far as getting his hands on the receiver. He can lock you down when he does. He’s not a great cover guy. He can play the slot. He has good short quickness and change of direction.” … “Trufant seems more trustworthy than Alford, who is more of a gambler. Two pretty good guys.” … “Neal was a big-time hitter at Florida. Tough guy, takes his shots. Not great hips. Similar to Kam Chancellor. Guys like that aren’t necessarily there for coverage. They’re there to be enforcers. Allen is an undersized free safety. He doesn’t have Earl Thomas’ range but he can get everybody lined up. He’s a good tackler but doesn’t have great cover skills or speed.”

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    Coordinator – Keith Armstrong (13th year).

    Kicker – Matt Bryant (5-9, 203).

    Punter – Matt Bosher (6-0, 208).

    Long snapper – Josh Harris (6-1, 240).

    KO/punt returner – Andre Roberts (5-11, 195, 4.45).

    Notes: Bryant, 42, has made 85.8% of his field goals for five teams. Last year, he hit 34 of 37 for a career-best 91.9%. He hasn’t kicked off since 2008. Bosher, a seven-year regular, entered the season with career averages of 45.9 yards (gross) and 40.5 (net). He has had six blocked. This is also his seventh season kicking off. The Falcons gave Roberts $750,000 guaranteed in March to leave Detroit.

    What scouts said: “Matt Bryant has had a pretty good career. He’s made some clutch kicks for them. He’s still pretty solid even at that age. Bosher is dependable. Good directional punter, good hang time.” … “Keith Armstrong has been at it for a good long time. They’d change him out if they thought the guy was inadequate.” … “I’ve never really thought of Andre Roberts as being dynamic. This last game he started it off with a nice return (63 yards). He’s not a threat to score but he’ll get some pretty good returns. Ball skills won’t be an issue.”

    The post Opponent Scouting Report: Falcons going for the hat trick appeared first on Bob McGinn Football.

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  2. Backthepack4ever

    Backthepack4ever Member

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    They have a good team but they can be had like anyone. That superbowl loss could haunt them some this year.

    I would like to see the pack come out early in 2 TE sets. They will struggle covering our TEs and we can use monty out of this set a lot too.

    On D, Daniels should feast again. IF we can get after Ryan it will effect what they want to do. It will be a true test to our rising D.

    Big stage and emotional game. Should be a nice battle of NFC top teams.

    38-28 Pack
     
  3. TW

    TW Moderator

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    Question #1 - Can the Packers stop the Freeman/Coleman running back tandem? I don't think so. Between them, they'll put up at least 150 yards rushing. They're quck, big, powerful, and run behind an offensive line that will wear the Packers front three down. We're going to see a lot of Daniels on the sideline sucking for air, because he's exhausted. Temps will probably be in the mid 70s, and somewhat humid, making it even tougher. Missed tackles, as the game wears on, could end up costing us dearly. Tired arms don't make tackles in the NFL.

    Question #2 - Can we stop their passing game? Julio Jones will draw a lot of defensive attention making the field open for Sanu, Gabriel, and Hooper, whom I think may be an underrated TE. Our LBs are going to be scrambling, and the secondary burned enough to make it a tough game.

    Question #3 - Can we score enough to beat them in a shoot out? I don't think so. We're going to see McCarthy push to get our running game going for the entire first half. He won't use the short pass to offset the lack of yardage until the second half. By then, we could be in trouble. It depends on how long our defense can hold up, and not be exposed for their weaknesses.

    Question #4 - Will our special teams fail again? Yes. We can't cover kicks, and we have to quit blaming it on the punters and kickers. We can't cover them because the coaches don't seem to be able to convince their players that making a play isn't as important as maintaining lane integrity, to ensure long gains don't happen.

    Question #5 - Will the Packers come out of the locker room with a modified game plan that works? That's the big question. For the first time, in quite some time, the Packers did that, against the Seahawks. I guess we're going to see if that was an accident, or if they've finally discovered you need to have an "alternate plan," when the one you counted on is failing.
     
  4. 57packer

    57packer 2017 Draft Guru

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    While I care if we win or lose, I won't be too upset with a loss in this one as long as they don't stink up the joint on defense like they did in the playoffs. First game in the new stadium with some things to prove on offense after a slow start last week against the Bears might be too much motivation for Ryan and Co. on offense.

    Now if we can get pressure this could be a different game. Ryan is not nearly as mobile as Wilson and hopefully they can force him into some early throws and maybe a pick or two. Of course this OL isn't nearly as bed as Seattle's so we'll see. The telling thing for this game is that the #1 CB for that January game, the guy covering Jones, was just released yesterday. While I wouldn't even say this current version of the Packers secondary is even "good" yet, it is certainly going to be much healthier and faster than the group we trotted out there the last time.

    I'm thinking 31-27 Atlanta, but it would not be a complete surprise if the Packers are on the winning end of about the same score.
     
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  5. Backthepack4ever

    Backthepack4ever Member

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    you sure hold ATL in high standards, or just think our team is hot trash.

    1 while they have a nice duo at RB, they are by no means big powerful backs. both are listed at or under 210... that's on the small side. What about this ATL ol that makes you think they will wear down our front 7 (we are more then 3)?? Mike Daniels was a man among boys last week, and outside of Mack, the interior of the falcons cant hang with him this week. I feel our DL is being vastly underrated. Both Clark and Lowery have grown into solid players and with Dial getting up to speed, we have a nice group. Perry and now Brooks are solid run defenders. I don't see ATL running for 150. If they are going to hurt us with their backs, it will by passing to them. (Colman catching passes scares me more then him getting handoffs)

    Jones is a beast. Their passing game is dangerous. This will be our biggest challenge. Getting pressure on Ryan will be huge. Also with Burney playing LBer that should help us with added speed on the field.

    I do think we can score enough. Ill take AR and his boys over a Ryan led O any day

    It will be a battle no doubt. ATL is very good but I don't see a team that cant be stopped. The bares pushed them last week, Id like to think we are better then the bares
     
  6. eyecatcher

    eyecatcher Member

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    I said this in a different thread then came to this thread.

    Then I read the first line of the article and againd got smacked with the negative tone.


    Not sure who these two personnel men are but have they even looked at the Packers roster? Last year Gunter was covering Jones and he was just released so we have at least 4 corners that are better than Gunter.

    The Packers need to use Monty like the Patriots used White in the Super Bowl. Monty should be able to have a big game.
     

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