Blog Entry

extra details from Falcons vs Bengals

Posted on: August 17, 2012 12:00 pm

The big fuss last week against the Ravens was that Atlanta used starters and potential starters on special teams, losing Bradie Ewing for the season and Akeem Dent for an unknown amount of time.

Mike Peterson took Dent's place as the starting MLB.  And like Dent, Mo Pete is playing those special teams units.

The first unit KR team:  Jacquizz Rodgers, Mike Cox, Antone Smith, Robert James, Kevin Cone, Cliff Matthews, Peter Konz, Johnathan Massaquoi, Kroy Biermann, Shann Schillinger, and Mike Peterson.  Massaquoi and Matthews flanked Konz as the deep blockers, and two of them would form the wedge (depending on the direction of the return).

The first unit punt coverage team:  Kevin Cone and Antone Smith played as the gunners, with Matt Bosher punting and Joe Zelenka alternating with Josh Harris as the long snappers.  Spencer Adkins, Chris Hope, Shann Schillinger, Suaesi Tuimaunei, Mike Peterson, Kroy Biermann and Mike Cox made up the rest of the unit.  

(I thought it interesting that Tuimaunei was in this group instead of Charles Mitchell.  I'm wondering if the idea was to have Tuimaunei on the field at the same time as Schillinger for direct comparison.  Otherwise, I can't see the reason for putting a likely practice squad prospect in with the first unit.)

The first punt return unit:  Dominique Franks as the return man, with Kevin Cone, Thomas DeCoud, Cliff Matthews, Antone Smith, Shann Schillinger, Jacquizz Rodgers, Robert James, Robert McClain, Darrin Walls, and Spencer Adkins.

The first kickoff coverage unit had Chris Hope, Mike Cox, Cliff Matthews, Robert James, Shann Schillinger, Kevin Cone, D.J. Davis, Antone Smith, Lawrence Sidbury and Dominique Franks, with Matt Bosher as the kicker.

The offensive line units were similar to the Ravens game. The first unit line, from left to right:  Baker, Blalock, McClure, Reynolds, Clabo.  Last week, McClure came out early and Joe Hawley worked with the first unit.  This week, McClure remained with the group throughout the first quarter.

The second unit line had Svitek, Jackson, Hawley, Konz, and Johnson.  For the second week in a row, Johnson only played right tackle.  In minicamp and OTAs, he was in his usual spot as the second unit left guard.  In training camp, he played some at left guard, right guard, and right tackle.

When Konz briefly came out with what appeared to be a hand injury, Philipkeith Manley came in at left guard and Jackson moved to the right side.

The third unit had Bryce Harris, Jackson, Hawley, Konz, and Johnson.  This is a change from last week, when Konz slid in to center, flanked by Manley and Jackson.  If he did bang up his hand, the coaching staff might have opted not to have him handling the ball.

The fourth unit had Harris, Manley, Tyler Horn, Konz and Johnson.  Apparently Konz and Johnson are getting as many reps as possible on the right side.  They worked pretty well together.

Noteworthy line mishaps:  on that pass from Matt Ryan to Jacquizz Rodgers for a loss (the one Ryan should have simply thrown away), Garrett Reynolds was getting beaten on the line, and Quizz helped him out with a double team.  Unfortunately, he didn't spot the outside man coming around to the middle on the stunt.  That defender came free, forcing Ryan to flee the pocket.

And yes, that was our old pal Jamaal Anderson who was in Ryan's face when he threw the ball.  Interesting to see him reunited with Mike Zimmer, who was our defensive coordinator when we drafted Jamaal.

The second unit line also had trouble picking up a stunt, but the Bengals came with a six man rush on that particular play, so it's not too surprising.  Andrew Jackson got beaten on that play (he whiffed badly on a block last week that led to Redman getting decked), but this time his man wasn't the one that delivered the hit.  The outside man who rolled inside on the stunt was the one who leveled Rojohombre. 

Svitek also got beaten on one play, with Redman taking a hit.  That play came immediately after Svitek had been called for a false start, so it might have still been in his mind.  Otherwise, Svitek has played well in both games.

The left side of Harris, Manley, and Horn on the fourth unit is still shaky, which is about what you'd expect from a trio of undrafted rookies.  The big sack on Davis came when Manley was beaten first, leaving Harris facing a hopeless one on two situation.  Davis dug himself into a hole by scrambling backwards rather than outside (where he could have thrown the ball away).  But to his credit, he did convert the first down.

For the second week in a row, Max Gruder came in as the second MLB, ahead of Pat Schiller, though Schiller got more time at the position.  Spencer Adkins and Robert James played the outside LB spots for both of them and remained on the field in the nickel package, with the MLB prospects coming off.

Jerrell Harris and Rico Council were the third pair of OLBs, and both Gruder and Schiller had reps working with them.  James and Adkins continued to play as the nickel package linebackers, replacing the prospects.

Dominique Franks and Darrin Walls came in as the second unit cornerbacks.  Robert McClain joined them for the nickel package, with Franks moving into the slot while McClain took his place outside. Chris Hope and Shann Schillinger played safety with this group. 

Charles Mitchell came in for one series with Hope.  He returned in the final two minutes, paired with Suaesi Tuimaunei. 

That was the only series Tuimaunei had at safety, which is why his appearane with the first unit punt coverage group stands out.

The various DB units are still trying to get it together as groups, having occasional mishaps with communications.  One play had a receiver left wide open for an easy touchdown.  Dominique Franks had released the receiver to the safety in order to cover another receiver in his zone - which is pretty standard for cover two.  But Chris Hope wasn't behind him to pick up the man.  There's no telling who was responsible, but it was a clear miscommunication between the two.

Another pass in the fourth quarter had Orson Charles all alone over the middle for a big gain.  Jerrell Harris started on Charles in the short zone but released him to the safeties - who weren't there.  More than likely Harris was supposed to stay with Charles, but again there's really no telling what the play call was and who had what zone of responsibility. 

The defensive line didn't rack up sacks, but they had consistent pressure throughout the game.

Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews were the second unit DEs (not counting Biermann, who rotated in as part of the first group).  Massaquoi later came in for Sidbury and paired with Matthews for the remainder of the game.

Travian Robertson paired with Vance Walker as the second DTs.  Robertson would continue to rotate in with the third unit, pairing at times with each of Micanor Regis and Elisha Joseph.

Kevin Cone and D.J. (Drew) Davis paired as the second WRs.  Marcus Jackson eventually replaced Cone, working one series with Davis (and with Tim Toone as a third receiver) before James Rodgers replaced Davis.  Kenny Stafford also rotated in during the final two minutes.

Tommy Gallarda had the third TE spot behind Gonzalez and Palmer.  Newly arrived Chase Coffman only made a brief appearance, with LaMark Brown finishing the game.  Dominique Davis apparently got over Brown's tip for an INT last week.  Brown was his favorite target during the fourth quarter scoring drive, including the touchdown pass.

Davis still had subpar play from his teammates, with frequent pressure and four dropped passes.  But at least this week he has a stat line that reflects his stellar play:  11 of 18, 121 yards, 1 TD, and a QB rating of 99.5.  Marcus Jackson dropped one of his passes, Kenny Stafford dropped one, and James Rodgers dropped two, including the one that ended the game for the Falcons.

Odd moment:  the replacement officials called a personal foul on "number 76 in white" at the end of the first half.  Neither team had a #76 on the field for that last play.

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