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2018 Regular Season
Preview: Cards @ Atlanta

Setting the Stage
Cards lost a dismal contest - 17 to 3 - to the Lions. The 4 & 9 Falcs lost to the Packers 34 - 20. According to Atlanta beat writer, Will McFadden, "With three games remaining, Coach Quinn is getting evaluations on everybody. (including his staff):

“...We have four wins. So you’d better believe we’re evaluating everything and doing anything to get it right.”

Falcs are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and are coming off a 34-20 loss to Green Bay... Atlanta had 13 penalties along with a few other mistakes.. Lack of consistency has been noticeable...but it’s also been more:

"...We haven't played to the level that we’ve needed to for a while...To have some of these inconsistencies show up over an extended period of time has been definitely something that’s been at the front of my mind....”

Quinn made it clear that a focus on evaluating younger players will likely continue over the final three games. It's also clear that players aren’t the only ones who will be getting looked over in the coming weeks.

The Cards are in similar circumstances, with Steve Keim's and Steve Wilks' jobs said to be on the line.

Falcons' Last Game
They lost to the Pack 34 - 20. Green Bay broke open a 7 - 7 tie in the 2Q, scoring 27 unanswered points in the 2nd & 3rd quarters and using the 4Q to coast to a 14-pt win.

First quarter Scoring:

Atlanta - Ju Jones - 16 yd pass from Ryan (XP Good) Falcs 7 - Packers 0

Green Bay - D Adams - 7-yd pass from Rodgers (XP Good) Falcs 7 - Packers 7

Second Quarter Scoring

Green Bay - Crosby - 50-yd FG Packers 10 - Falcs 7

Green Bay - Breeland - 22 yd Pick-6 (XP Good) Packers 17 - Falcs 7

Green Bay - Crosby - 48 yd FG Packers 20 - Falcs 7

Third Quarter Scoring

Green Bay - Cobb - 24-yd pass from Rodgers (XP Good) Packers 27 - Falcs 7

Green Bay - A Jones - 29-yd Run (XP Good) Packers 34 - Falcs 7

Fourth Quarter Scoring

Atlanta - Ju Jones - 12-yd pass from Ryan (XP Good) Packers 34 - Falcs 14

Atlanta - Hardy - 19-yd pass from Ryan (XP Good) Packers 34 - Falcs 20

Final Score: Packers 34 - Falcs 20

Last Week's Game Notes:
(Game notes were not posted as of Tues 12/11)

Last Week's Stats

Comp/Att/Ints - 28/42/262 yds & 1TD

Sacked - 2

Sacks - 4

Fumbles/Lost - 3/1

Penalties/Yds - 13/101

Rushing - Smith: 11 for 60. Coleman: 10 for 45.

Receiving - Ju Jones: 8 for 106. Sanu: 6 for 54. Hooper: 4 for 37

Missed FG: Bryant: 1 from 53 yds

Season Player Stats

- 354 of 502 for 4076 (70.5%), 8.1 YPA, 28 TDs, 6 Ints, Sacked 38 times Rating 108.29

(Coleman) - 138 carries for 559 yds (4.1 YPC), 2 TDs
(I Smith) - 81 carries for 281 yds (3.5 YPC) 4 TD''s
(Ryan) - 25 carries for 101 yds (4.0 YPC) 2 TD's.

(J Jones)
94 for 1429 yds,(15.2 YPC), 5 TD's
64 for 557 yds, (8.7 YPC), 4 TD'sYPC

(Ridley 51 for 657 (12.9 YPC), 8 TD's.
(Sanu) 51 for 637 (12.9 YPC) 3 TDs.

(Campbell) - 74 Tackles
(Oluokun - 74Tackles
(Kazee) - 67 Tackles
(Poole) - 58 Tackles
(Riley) - 57 Tackles

Kazee - 6 (Three others with one each)

Crawford, Mckinley
- 5.5 apiece.

Beasely, Irvin, Jarrett - 4 apiece

Field Goals
Bryant - 15 for 16. Talveccio - 5 for 5.

Net Punting Yards
Bosher - 41.3

Team Season Stats

First Downs - Falcs 286 - Opp 306

Rushing 1st Downs - Falcs 63 - Opp 97

3rd Down Conversions: Falcs 77/167 - Opp 81/158

4th Down Conversions: Falcs 10/19 - Opp 8/9

OffensiveYards - Falcs 4875, /Opp 5030

Off YPP -Falcs 5.9/Opp 6.1

Rushing YPP Falcs 3.9/Opp 5.0

Sacks By - Falcs 27 /Opp 38

TD's - Falcs 37 - Opp - 45

Time of Poss - Falcs 31:24, Opp /28:36

Falcs in a Nutshell
More a passing team than a running team offensively.

Falcon Offense

QB ..02 Ryan...08 Schaub

Running Backs
RB....26 Coleman...25 I Smith...32 B Hill
FB.....30 Ortiz

Wide Receivers
WR....11 Ju Jones...14 Hardy...17 M Hall
WR ...12 Sanu...18 Ridley...83 Gage

Tight Ends
TE.....81 Hooper....82 Paulsen...85 Saubert

Offensive Line
LT.......70 J Matthews...74 Sambrallo
LG    .71 Schweitzer
OC   ..51 A Mack
RG.....63 Garland
RT    ..73 Schraeder....69 Beadles...77 Gono

Cardinal Defense

Defensive Interior Line
DE - 44 Golden, 91 Mayowa, 94 Malveaux
DT - 98 Peters, xx Valentine
DT - 95 Gunter,
DE- 55 C Jones, 59 Zach Moore, 54 Dora

SAM - 43 Reddick, 92 Gardeck, xx J Andersdon
MLB - 51 Hodges, 47 Zeke Turner
WILL - 20 Bucannon, , 59 J Walker

Defensive Backs
LCB - 21 Peterson, 26 B Williams, 28 D Johnson
RCB - 38 Amerson, 27 L Johnson...23 Rollins
SS - 36 Baker, 30 Ford
FS - 41 Bethea, 38 Boston
, 40 Tillman*

Matchup: Falc Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
The Atlanta passing attack should give the Cardinal pass defense all they can handle. Ryan has experience, accuracy and a strong surrounding cast of receivers that (include Julius Jones (more than a bundle for Patrick Peterson) and Sanu (who combines a TE build with WR hands). Ridley and speedster Hardy round out the cast of characters along with their TE (Hooper). Falcon pass blocking is their one area of vulnerability (allowing 38 sacks compared with 27 by the Atlanta pass rush).

Key Matchuups - Ju Jones vs. Peterson. Sanu vs. Beasley. Amerson and L Johnson vs, Hardy and Ridley. Bethea vs, Hooper. C Jones and M Golden vs. Matthews and Schweitzer

Matchup: Falc Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Atlanta's passing attack is their offensive strength, but they don't run nearly as well (gaining a total of 3.9 ypc while giving up 5.0 ground ypc to their opponents). Cardinal Front Seven starters include a front-four of Golden, Gunter, C Peters and C Jones and LBs Reddick, Hodges and (oft' injured) Bucannon; with practically no experienced depth behind them, we don't know what the matchups will be like (except that our defendersd are likely to wilt late in games).

Key Matchup: Atlanta OL vs Cardinal DL. Coleman and I Smith vs. Reddick, Hodges and Bucannon

Cardinal Offense

03 Rosen, 07 Glennon

Running Back
23 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 22 Logan, 32 Coleman

Wide Receivers
WR - 11 Fitzgerald, 16 Sherfield, Tolliver
WR - 16 C Williams, 14 Nelson

Tight Ends
TE1 - 86 Seals-Jones, 84 Gresham, 82 J Phillips

Offensive Line
RT- 69 Holden, 75 Golditch
RG- 70 Aboushi , 63 Odhiambo
OC- 64 Cole, 62 Munyer
LG - 78 Gossett,
LT - 79 Cunningham, 60 Barksdale,

Falcon Defense

Defensive Line
DE.....44 Beasley Jr....56 Means
DT.....99 McClain...94 Senat...92 Zimmer
DT.....97 Jarrett...95 Crawford
DE....52 Irvin....98 McKinley...50 Reed

LB.....42 Riley...36 Ishmael
LB....54 Oluokun...45 D Jones...55 B Carter
LB....59 Campbell

Defensive Backs
CB....23 Alford...20 Oliver...33 Wreh-Wilson
CB....21 D Trufant...34 Poole...28 Bethel
S......29 Richards...41 Neasman...40 Neal
S......27 Kazee

Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Falc Pass Defense
You never know if or when the lightbulbs will go on for a rookie QB; but what seems to be emerging as a logical pattern is that, Josh Rosen is batting around .500 in the "good play/bad play" dept. This is reinforced by play calling that focuses on getting Josh reps without exposing him to a lot of physical or executional risk. Adding to Rosen's challenges is a depleted WR corps featuring Fitz on an island supported by such questionable characters as slippery-fingered speedster, JJ Nelson and rookie upcomer Trent Shirfield. Even Cardinal TE's (Gresham and Seals-Jones) are members of the Iffy Hands Society, with up and down playmaking ability. Cardinal starting OL consists of guys you never heard of in: Holden, Aboushi, Cole, Gossett and Cunningham. That leaves the RB's - each week Coach Wilks announces a reinvigorated commitment to "get the ball to RB's" (Johnson and Edmonds). And, after, just about every game, Wilks expresses regret that "he didn't get the ball to his RB's enough").

Atlanta has sacked opposing QB's 27 times (Opponents have sacked Ryan 38). Pass D has Trufant in its secondary, and Kazee (6 interceptions) is having a Pro Bowl year. Atlanta's pass rush success comes pretty much from its interior line - DT Crawford and DE McKinley are the two leading Falcon pass rushers and DE's Beasley and Irvin can be a force of the edge.

Key Matchups:
Trufant vs. Fitz. Kazee vs. D Johnson, Edmonds, Gresham or Seals-Jones. Atlanta DL vs Cardinals OL.

Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Falc Run Defense
D Johnson is having a disappointing season (partly because McCoy and Leftwich aren't calling his number. Partly because opposing defenses are taking away that option). And, oh yeah, partly because the Cardinal OL isn't run-blocking very well on a consistent basis.

Atlanta's run defense has givien up 5.0 ypc (compared to 3.9 ypc generated by the Falc running attack; so maybe this will be David Johnson's opportunity to shine.

Key Matchups:
D Johnson vs. Campbell, Oluokun, Kazee, Poole & Riley. Cardinal OL vs. Falcon Front Seven.

Special Teams

Falcon Special Teams
K       04 Tavecchio...03 Bryant 
KO/P 05 Bosher    
H       05 Bosher
LS     46 Condo...xx Harris
KR    14 Hardy
PR    14 Hardy

Cardinals Special Teams
P - ...02 Lee
K- ....05 Gonzalez
H - ...02 Lee
LS - .46 Brewer
KR - 22 Logan
PR - 14 Nelson

Matchup: Falcs Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Bryant and Talvecchio have high FG-Made percentages. Gonzalez has the leg but not the consistency. Bosher has a 41.3 Net Average, but we prefer Lee. Dunno much about Hardy as a returner. With Kirk out, Cards used Patrick Peterson as our PR (That worries us - Patrick and his position are too valuable to risk). Logan continues to wait his chance to shine.

Key Matchups:
With the exception of Lee over Bosher, Atlanta enjoys an edge.

Coaching / Intangibles
Dan Quinn is on the Atlanta hot-seat. Funny - so's our guy. Can't knock the Atlanta HC since he's a (Morristown) NJ guy. He was previously an assistant with Seattle and originally joined the Seahawks in 2009, after spending the previous six years coaching the defensive lines for the San Francisco 49ers (2003-04), Miami Dolphins (2005-06) and the New York Jets (2007-08). He previously served as the Seahawks assistant head coach/defensive line coach in 2009 under Jim Mora. As a coach, his three seats of emphasis are:

The Ball is everything in our program. The offense must have regard for it and protect it while the defense must strive to take it. It is drilled into the team every day. It’s not just a practice or game objective. It is a mindset.

Battle; - how we do anything is how we do everything. Quinn instills this through competition at every opportunity and challenges his players to obsess the details in everything. How something is done in practice or meetings is how it will be done in the heat of the moment, so the Falcons will battle every day to be prepared for the moment.

Brotherhood - the connection to one another that separates us from others. Quinn strives to build the best culture in sports and the bond that is created between brothers is what makes that possible.

In three seasons, he has compiled a 29-19 regular season record with two postseason appearances

How to Beat the Falcons
Cards will have to match the Falcons in effort all along its roster-spots, stay focused on executional efficiency, keep mistakes to a minimum, hope to catch a couple of breaks and ride the momentum of a Josh Rosen breakout performance.

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Copyright 1996 Gollin & Associates. Last modified: 03/25/2013