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Dan Quinn’s “Dirty Birds” are torching the NFL with an offense that features a red-hot quarterback, a dynamic 1-2 punch at running back and a premier WR1 who is just about unstoppable on the perimeter. Plus, the Falcons have assembled an offensive line that’s beginning to own the line of scrimmage while providing plenty of protection for Matt Ryan to direct an explosive aerial attack that’s creating problems for defensive coordinators.
Skeptics might doubt the Falcons’ nice start after watching the team jump out to 5-0 in 2015 before stumbling to the finish line with a .500 record. But this year is different. The Falcons are a more balanced unit, and their diverse attack makes them a nightmare matchup, particularly when they are taking care of the ball.
Taken No. 17 overall last Thursday, the 20-year-old Florida product boasts NFL size and supreme athleticism. A big hitter with range against the run, Neal has been compared to Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor. Neal should immediately upgrade a run-of-the mill Falcons run defense.
As coach Dan Quinn attempts to imitate the success of Seattle’s defense, the Falcons needed to add toughness and nfl jerseys cheap and Neal fits the bill. Atlanta used three of its first four picks on defensive players in last week’s draft.
The Falcons signed former Bengals wideout Mohamed Sanu in the offseason to play opposite Julio Jones. But behind Atlanta’s two starters, receiver slots are up for the taking. Moore will be battling Justin Hardy, Aldrick Robinson, rookie Devin Fuller, Eric Weems and a cavalcade of no-names for a spot on the roster.
Atlanta’s hoping the addition of Moore will help the Falcons’ offense reach its goal of scoring 30 points per game, as asserted by team leader Matt Ryan this week. We’ll see if Moore is there in September to see Ryan’s fantasy play out.
Lynch’s footwork was a mess and his overthrows and misfires ruined any chance the Broncos had of capitalizing on the league’s 30th ranked defense, including the NFL’s next-to-last pass defense and a patchwork linebacker corps.
Unlike Siemian, Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler, all of whom did enough to allow Denver’s stout defense to secure the win during an NFL-best nine-game winning streak, Lynch couldn’t avoid mistakes that doomed his team to defeat. He constantly held onto the ball too long and too often didn’t make decisions or moves fast enough.
Coach Dan Quinn said Thursday that he wanted to see Jones “explode pain-free” before green-lighting him for Sunday. That obviously didn’t happen, leaving Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel to operate as the team’s top two receivers against the Niners.
If there’s a week to sit Jones, this would be it. The 49ers are allowing more points per game than any team in the league while the versatile Falcons are scoring more per tilt than anyone else. With Jones out of the lineup last week, the Falcons still dropped 42 points on the Rams.
It was certainly different Sunday, with Matt Ryan just barely outdueling Aaron Rodgers in the season’s best quarterback matchup. Ryan, playing with a banged-up Julio Jones and without Jacob Tamme (who injured his shoulder early in the game), completed 28 of 35 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Most critically, he did not throw an interception, even as Falcons fans covered their eyes on that game-winning drive, after Rodgers’ fourth touchdown pass of the day (and a successful two-point conversion) had given Green Bay a six-point lead with less than four minutes remaining. A soft team would have stumbled here, maybe Ryan would have had another turnover. It would have been so easy to let this one slip away, too.
During the offseason, the Falcons worked with Navy Seals on a program that asks the participants how they can get one percent better. On the day after games, the Falcons have “tell the truth” Mondays in which they go through, with excruciating candor, things they did well and things they have to work on. Quinn begins the meetings by telling his players to talk to the person next to them and ask them what they can do to get better. This week, one of the problems was that the defense did not communicate well against San Diego, and so, Quinn said, rookie linebacker Deion Jones stated he would improve in this area. He did it all week, Quinn said, and he did it Sunday. There were bad plays on Sunday, certainly — a defense that gives up 32 points at home is still one to worry about, and the penalties were there, too — but even in the dark place that Quinn said his team was in after those two losses, the coach tries to reach for the other side.