Both Eagles and Falcons secondaries could use some help...

Both Eagles and Falcons secondaries could use some help...


Both Eagles and Falcons secondaries could use some help...


Not an ideal time for the Eagles secondary to be so thinned out at cornerback by injuries—someone’s got to cover Julio and his fellow Falcon receivers down by the schoolyard this Sunday.

Cornerback Ron Brooks is out for the season with a torn quad… Leodis McKelvin is playing on one-and-a-half legs with a hamstring issue… Nolan Carroll has a hamstring problem right now, too… After McKelvin and Carroll, rookies Jalen Mills and C.J. Smith are the options, along with Jaylen Watkins.

Here come the Falcons, who rank No. 1 in total yards, passing yards and points per game (33.9).

“The Falcons are playing well, offensively, because they’re not a one-trick pony,” said Eagles DC Jim Schwartz. “You talk about Matt Ryan, talk about Julio Jones, but they run the ball very well. Their stats aren’t great running the ball, but they’re significant. They’ve got a running back [Devonta Freeman] that can break anywhere. It’s not just Julio Jones.”

“That’s our challenge this week. It’s not just about stopping the run; it’s not just about stopping one receiver; it’s not just about pressuring a quarterback that doesn’t have a lot of playmakers. They have a very good scheme. Shanahan [Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan] does a really good job of putting those guys in good positions. We’re going to have to play our very best.”

“We’re a little bit light on numbers,” said Schwartz. “Everybody’s beat up this time of year, they just have to find a way to get it done.”

It works the other way, too. The Falcons’ defensive secondary will likely be without its best cornerback on Sunday. Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said his Pro Bowl cornerback Desmond Trufant checked out OK after having a second opinion on his left shoulder, but Quinn stopped short of saying Trufant would be available for Sunday’s game at Philadelphia. Trufant suffered the injury in last Thursday’s 43-28 win at Tampa Bay. He was not on the practice field Wednesday.

If Trufant is unable to go against the Philadelphia Eagles, 2015 second-round draft pick Jalen Collins likely will step into a starting role opposite No. 2 corner Robert Alford. Collins, who was suspended for the first four games of the regular season for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, made a couple of nice plays in last week’s win over the Buccaneers.

“When Jalen was dressed and ready, we thought he would answer the bell, so to speak,” Quinn said of Collins. “He certainly did. So he’s someone that we have a lot of confidence in. And his teammates have a lot of confidence in him as well.”

“Early on, we didn’t have him dress at times, and he missed some ballgames. We thought [C.J.] Goodwin was participating on special teams better. But as it played down in the game, Collins had a really good ballgame — no bigger play for us than the really physical play he made down by the goal line.”

In other Falcons injury news, running back Tevin Coleman and defensive end Dwight Freeney seem to be recovering from their respective injuries. Coleman remains sidelined by a hamstring strain, while Freeney is coping with a Grade 2 quadriceps tear. Freeney expects to play against the Eagles, while Coleman’s status remains in limbo. Tight end Jacob Tamme continues to recover from a shoulder injury. Quinn said during a radio interview Tamme is likely to miss Sunday’s game, which would give Tamme extra time to heal up during the bye week following the trip to Philadelphia.

Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith says he is impressed by rookie QB Carson Wentz and is concerned about getting pressure on him:

“Generally, you can see they’re doing an excellent job in the pocket, outside the pocket. They gave him the whole complement of the offense. That’s usually what you look for in a quarterback: Can he handle the whole thing? And that’s certainly the case there. After a half a season in, you can tell he’s feeling the familiarity, the routes, the concepts. I’m impressed by his athleticism. I wouldn’t say he’s a quarterback that’s going to be a run-first option, but he certainly is athletic. And they can do some of the quarterback gun runs that makes him an extra player to defend.”

Tim McManus of dug up a parallel challenge scenario in his research: “The Falcons faced one rookie quarterback who was backed by a strong defense already this season when they traveled to Denver and defeated Paxton Lynch and the Broncos, 23-16. The Falcons put immense pressure on Lynch that day with six sacks, 3.5 of them by Vic Beasley Jr.”

“I think they’ve done a great job as a coaching staff, and [Wentz] has done a good job as a player in terms of managing that offense,” said Richard Smith. “[Wentz] has got an extremely strong arm. He can make all the throws. I think he’s doing a great job of managing the team; get the ball out of his hands really quickly. They do a lot of zone reads with him where, at times, sometimes he should hand the ball off but he elects to keep the ball at times, too. And he can beat you with his feet. We’ve been really impressed with him as a first-year player. I think he’s got a lot of talent.”

Nice things for Quinn and Smith to say about the Eagles and Wentz… But they’re diversions from where the biggest threat to Eagles success is going to come from on Sunday, and that is Matt Ryan’s passing attack. Just to brief us on how the receiving stats have been trending for the Falcons, here are the 9-game totals for Atlanta’s passing distribution:

Player Rec Yds Yds/Rec Long TD
Julio Jones 51 970 19.0 75 5
Mohamed Sanu 37 416 11.2 59 3
Devonta Freeman 28 220 7.9 27 2
Jacob Tamme 22 210 9.5 19 3
Tevin Coleman 19 330 17.4 49 1
Taylor Gabriel 16 227 14.2 47 1
Austin Hooper 14 241 17.2 44 2
Justin Hardy 10 83 8.3 22 2
Levine Toilolo 7 127 18.1 46 2
Aldrick Robinson 7 99 14.1 35 1
Patrick DiMarco 6 46 7.7 18 1
Terron Ward 1 11 11.0 11 0
  •   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *
    BRISUKSEGG Fantasy Football Update…
Oblong Nards 6 3 0 .667
The Amish Mafia 6 3 0 .667
BAD JEWS BEARS 5 4 0 .556 1
Bri Suks More Than Just Eggs 3 4 2 .444 2
Bri’s Fantasy Boys 3 6 0 .333 3
Blitzed … 3 6 0 .333 3
The Bri Slapper 7 2 0 .778
NFC East Mr. Jinks 5 4 0 .556 2
PRIME BEEF 4 4 1 .500 2.5
Sunny’s Missing Left Foot 4 5 0 .444 3
Squid’s Sleeves 3 5 1 .389 3.5
The White Boys 3 6 0 .333 4

Week 9 Results:

(3-6)Drew Funt
(4-4-1)T BONE
Top Scorer:
Top Scorer:
(6-3)Jeffrey Dotterer
Top Scorer:
Top Scorer:
(3-6)Brozer Eight
(5-4)Chris R
Top Scorer:
Top Scorer:
(5-4)Ben Gold
(4-5)J Hop
Top Scorer:
Top Scorer:
(7-2)Jared Nixon
Top Scorer:
Top Scorer:
(3-4-2)Rodney Vander Veer
(3-5-1)The Don Pardo
Top Scorer:
Top Scorer:

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