Panther fans know their Panthers, but sometimes it’s knowing the skinny about our opponents. The C3 Scouting Report gives you the lowdown on this week’s opponent, the Atlanta Falcons.
Division: NFC South
Division Standing: 2nd
Streak: 1 win
Last Meeting: 17-19, Falcons hold on to win (11/16/14)
All-time vs Panthers: 24-15 Falcons (Panthers have won 3 of last 4)
Key Players: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Devon Hester, Roddy White
Hot Players: Julio Jones (7 rec 107 yds)
Devonta Freeman (5 rush, 36 yards, TD)
Tendencies: Four Vertical Attack
The Four Vertical looks could be devastating to a Carolina Panthers, but the Falcons offense seems particularly Julio Jones-centric as of late. Carolina’s pass-rush is much more potent than in their last meeting, and now with Bene Benwikere back, Norman can take Julio and that doesn’t open the field entirely to the other receivers in the Four Vertical. Not to mention Julio has not even practiced this week.
Most categorize this offensive scheme as a stretch the field to take what you can get system.
Execution Last Week:
Passing: Effective Ryan - (30/40, 322 yds, TD, 106.5 passer rating)
Rushing: Less than intimidating- Devonta Freeman (5 rush, 36 yards, TD)
Key Players: Kemal Ishmael, Desmond Trufant, Osi Umenyiora
Hot Players: Kroy Biermann (5 TKL, 1.5 sack, 2 TFL, 1PD, 3 QB hits), Paul Worrilow (10 TKL, 1 QB hit), Desmond Trufant (4 TKL 1 INT), Osi Umenyiora (1 FR, 89 yds).
Execution Last Week: Important. The Falcons forced the Saints to continue to implode. The Falcons didn’t do anything special on offense, and still blew out the Saints. Epitomized by a 89 defensive touchdown from Osi “the dinosaur” Umenyiora, the Saints beat themselves and got beat down at the same time. This was a big win for the Atlanta Falcons, and unlike usual, came at the hands of the league's worst defense.
Coaching: Valiant. Mike Smith and his staff have struggled this year. Most think they are coaching for their jobs, and many believe it’s really auditioning for new gigs. Mike Nolan threw out some creative schemes this past week that clearly confused Drew Brees and the Saints offense. Right now, the Falcons coaches are like wounded animals lashing out desperately for survival.
Head Coach: Mike Smith (66-45)
Offensive Coordinator: Dirk Koetter
Offensive Scheme: Air Coryell
Defensive Coordinator: Mike Nolan
Defensive Alignment: 3-4
Standing: The seat is actually a griddle, and it is hot! Mike Smith really is coaching for his job at this point. Sadly, it doesn’t matter. Current discussions among South Bound and Down analysts have questioned if Smith could maintain his job even if the Falcons found a way to win the division and make the playoffs with a win this week. Right now, nothing less than an NFC Championship appearance will likely save Smith’s job.