Atlanta Falcons Making Needed Adjustments Before Week 7


The Atlanta Falcons will play their first football game in ten days when they take on the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon at 1 PM ET at Nissan Stadium in Nashville.

Atlanta has had ample time to recover from Week 6’s Thursday Night road loss to the New Orleans Saints. In all honesty, it was better for the Atlanta Falcons to lose earlier in the season, rather than rattle off a lengthy undefeated streak. The necessary adjustments that come following a loss will only help this football team, as the Atlanta Falcons push for a playoff berth for the first time in three seasons.

-= Related: Atlanta Falcons: Can DBs Spark Deep Playoff Run? =-

Other than beating themselves with a multitude of careless turnovers, three things became obvious in Atlanta’s loss to the New Orleans Saints, 31-21: 1. The offensive line is not the same when C Mike Person does not start. 2. Atlanta continues to get beat on the 8-12 yard pass routinely on defense. 3. The pass rush, where is it?

Although ball security is always a major concern for any team, especially when the starting quarterback has not looked sharp in recent weeks, these three primary issues for the Atlanta Falcons have hopefully been rectified on the team’s mini bye.

More from ATL All Day

C Mike Person has been sensational as a first-time starter this season. While Tackles Jake Matthews and Ryan Schraeder are the offensive line’s foundation and Guards Chris Chester and Andy Levitre are the catalysts for the line’s rapid improvement, it is Mike Person’s stellar play that has transformed the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line into one of the best in the NFL.

Person was a full participant in yesterday’s practice at Flowery Branch. After missing the team’s Week 6 game, expect Person to start at center against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

With Atlanta’s inability to adequately defend the medium passing game, the Falcons cut DB Charles Godfrey and signed LB Philip Wheeler. Wheeler is a former standout with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. His signing gives the Atlanta Falcons some flexibility on defending the pass at inside linebacker. The UDFA duo of Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu are better at stopping the run, so Wheeler should come as a welcomed addition to the roster.

As for the pass rush, HC Dan Quinn has recognized the unit’s ineffectiveness and believes that rookie OLB Vic Beasley‘s work ethic will ultimately pay off. Beasley has only two quarterback sacks, three quarterback hits, and ten hurries according to Pro Football Focus. Keep in mind Beasley has rushed the passer 164 times in his first six games as a professional.

Quinn said the following about the Atlanta Falcons’ pass rush: “Close doesn’t really count in this. It’s all about the finish. The hits are there, batted balls–those are good. But how often do we move the QB off the spot? And really let’s make sure we’re all rushing together all four games.”

Quinn added another part to this thought, specifically with Beasley. “He’s a huge factor in what we are going to do. For sure he’s really working hard to get better and play at a really high level. Although the numbers aren’t there like we’d like for him, there is no decline in the attitude and the work.”

Since Dan Quinn specializes in developing the pass rush, he should have a better understanding of what he can do with this roster to most effect the quarterback. By adding ILB Philip Wheeler into the mix as OLB Justin Durant recovers from his elbow injury, maybe this provides Atlanta with enough cover skills in the LB corps to allow the pass rush an extra second or so to disrupt the passer.

More from Atlanta Falcons

The mini bye aids the Atlanta Falcons in so many ways. It allows the team to make a necessary roster move, to analyze film to better serve the pass rush. It also gives injured players like Mike Person, Justin Durant, and even guys who have played through pain like Julio Jones ample time to get back to full strength before playing the Tennessee Titans.

Initially, I would have preferred having the Thursday night game after the mid-season bye, but it seems that it came at the right time for the 5-1, 2015 Atlanta Falcons. Fortunately for the club, they will play a near road game against a 1-4 opponent in the Tennessee Titans, who will likely not have QB Marcus Mariota as he deals with an MCL sprain suffered in Week 6 versus the Miami Dolphins. Rise Up!

Next: Roddy White: Future with Atlanta Falcons in Question?

More from ATL All Day