NFC South Running!

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NFC South Running!

Postby MarylandFalcon1 » Wed May 03, 2006 8:24 pm

Ok, we all know what our run defense is like and although we added Lawyer Milloy it is clear he has aged and didn't really help the run defense all that much. We didn't add the 'extra weight' up front and although Hartwell played hurt last season he was horrible stopping the run without support.

This brings me to the NFC south. With the addition of the 2 top running backs in this years draft, Bush to the Saints and DeAngelo Williams to the Panthers, and Carnell Williams in Tampa, are you all feeling as bad as I am about this season? It could get real ugly, real fast if these backs start running on us.

Any thoughts on how we are going to stop them?

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Postby mickvick302 » Wed May 03, 2006 8:26 pm

I have the same thoughts, but you really never know how well we are going to stop the run until it just happens. Someone can sit here and make their predictions on what our D will look like this year, ect ect, but truth be told, no one can truly predict what will happen, or anything of the matter.

but yes, i am worried about 3 top RB's in our Division.
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Postby DenimJacket » Wed May 03, 2006 9:20 pm

Definately concerned with our run defense, especially up the middle. Very concerned our backers will have o-linemen on them all to often.

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Postby Pudge » Wed May 03, 2006 11:17 pm

Yeah, there is concern. I'm one of the people that believes we don't necessarily need more size in order to improve against the run, but I'll say that it won't hurt. Don't give up on the notion of still signing a veteran player. Buckner is still available, and I think the main reason he's still unsigned is that there are no teams willing to pay his asking price. In June, I suspect that price will fall somewhat, and I might be reading a bit too much into it, but Buckner commented on NFL Network during the draft that he liked the Falcons pick of Jimmy Williams, so something tells me he's still very interested in playing for the Falcons.

Drafting a rookie wasn't going to make such a big splash, since as we saw last year and the year before, rookie DTs are unreliable.

I believe our run stopping woes can be solved by the players we currently have on the roster, but I definitely understand other people's reluctance to rely on those same players.

I'm hopeful that the team is done this off-season, and that's the only way I'm able to sleep at night.
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Postby dirtybirdnw » Thu May 04, 2006 12:09 am

I don't believe that Buckner is too expensive as much as he's waiting to see who has the better offseason. Kinda what Roger Clemens is doing in baseball. Once Buckner feels say the Falcons have good odds for a Super Bowl run.
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Postby PB21 » Thu May 04, 2006 8:59 am

Milloy will be a huge upgrade over Carpenter/Scott. Crocker will also be a factor in defending the run. True,...before Hartwell's season ending injury he wasn't impressing at all but he had no help behind him. It takes 11 guys playing well for a defense to be great.

I'm not as worried as most Falcons fans are about the defense. Boley gained valuable experience and Beck will be back. The starting front four are impressive even without the big body in the middle, IMO, and the only thing that worries me is depth,...again.

Bush will be a guy that won't be running up the gut for the Saints. He won't have that O-line at USC that probably was better than the Falcons line last season and I was surprised to learn he only carried the ball about a dozen times a game anyway. I wouldn't be shocked to see Bush play some WR or at least be catching lots of balls out of the backfield a la Westbrook for the Eagles.

Caddy worries me more than the Panthers' backs and Bush.

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Postby Pudge » Thu May 04, 2006 11:27 am

Well when you factor in Bush's kickoff and punt return duties, you can understand why he was so limited at USC. He only carried the ball 20 or more times 3 times in his career, and people I'm sure would be surprised to know that he only had 2 100-yard rushing games prior to this past year. As I've stated before, it wasn't until this past year that Bush became USC's top back.

But back to his return duties. Using rudimentary calculations saying that a 25-yard kickoff return is about equal in energy used as 5 5-yard normal carries, then one would see that Bush basically has "carried" the ball about 300 times each in the past 2 seasons. So his return duties limited how many touches he was going to get on offense, as well as the presence of LenDale White.

Also note that Ronnie Brown didn't have a 20-carry game over his final two years at Auburn, as Cadillac Williams got the brunt of the work over that time period. But it still didn't make him less of a player.

The Saints are likely going to use Bush in a variety of ways to create mismatches. Pairing him in the backfield with both Deuce and Bennett, lining him up wide, use him as a decoy, etc. It gives their offense a potential extra dimension. Many believe that Bush will be an afterthought in NO this year, but I disagree. I think Deuce is not far enough along in his rehab based off normal recovery times that indicate he's going to be trucking along right from the start of the season. Bush is probably going to get quite a bit of work early in the year, which is going to give him opportunity to shine and earn more carries as the year progresses.

Now what can throw a wrench into that is Bush's potential holdout, which will set him back in the offense for maybe 4, 6, or even 8 weeks as the season begins. Hopefully that is the case, because I'd much rather face a green Bush come Week 3 than one that has been through all of training camp.
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Postby PB21 » Thu May 04, 2006 3:43 pm

In the thinking of all-purpose carries,...touches and yards, return yards are a little misleading. This almost reminds me of people suggesting that Vick's rushing yards are the reason the Falcons led the NFL in that aspect the last two seasons. Sure, they count,...but you and I both know return yards and scrambling yards are gained in a totally different way than rushing yardage by a guy like,...Jamal Anderson, for example. I know this is semantics and I understand stats are concrete numbers that some say are over rated as to how to judge a team's or a player's success.

We have this guy on our roster, DeAndra Cobb that broke some school records in yards per carry and a record or two returning the ball, if I'm not mistaken. Bush doesn't scare me. Caddy is more a threat as well as Foster moreso than he. We'll see soon enough,...if as you say,...Bush doesn't hold out. If he does that?,...meat.

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Postby Pudge » Thu May 04, 2006 8:55 pm

Well if Bush doesn't scare you, then good for you. But he scares the bejeezes out of me. You sound like someone that has gotten so used ot the idea of the Falcons having the best athlete on the field that you can't imagine it being otherwise. Well, besides Julius Peppers, Bush is the next in line to contest Vick's hold on the most electrifying athlete on a football field.

I realize that returns and what not don't equate to rushing carries exactly, but the point was saying that because he was their full-time return man the past 2 years and having a player just as effective if not more in LenDale White is the reason why Bush never was a workhorse at USC.

But don't doubt that he can be one in the NFL. He's extremely strong, and when you look at him without a shirt on, I'm immediately reminded of Barry Sanders, who was 205 pounds of pure muscle, just like Bush is.

And comparing Bush to Cobb is just ludicrous if you ask me. The players Bush compares to the most currently playing are Dunn, Westbrook, and Tiki Barber. He has Barber's running ability, is beyond Dunn's speed (I don't believe Dunn ever ran sub 4.35), and Westbrook's versatility.
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Postby PB21 » Fri May 05, 2006 8:25 am

Well good,...if you're scared, say you're scared,...I can respect that. You sound like the typical, old fashioned Falcon fan that lives in the past. No, I don't think the Falcons have the best athlete on the field at any time. You can't paint a picture of me like that without knowing more about me Pudge.

How can you compare an unproven rookie to Peppers and Vick? That's what's ludicrous,...the guy hasn't proven anything except being one of the most eletrifying players,...in college. Hopefully we'll be around here during the season so we'll learn just how scary Bush is,...and you forget another factor,...he plays for the Saints(or will after his rumored holdout).

I disagree,...when a guy averages 20 yards a kick return, or 20 yards a punt return, it's very different from a guy that averages 5 yards a carry running through defensive linemen and linebackers. Allen Rossum, the diminutive one, would never be able to run the ball between the tackles even when he was arguably the best return man in the NFL.

You seem to forget that Caddy hit a wall last season. Sure he was injured but he never regained that initial splash into the NFL limelight he started the season with after a handful of games.

If Bush plays like you think he will,...I'll be the first to say you were right on,...until then, baby Barry Sanders has to prove to me he's worth scaring me. This oughtta be fun to watch unfold.

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Postby GSUTeke » Fri May 05, 2006 11:26 am

repsonding to the point of Bush being dangerous on special teams you have to take into account he was up against young men that lived in dorm rooms and had to worry about passing classes.

Bush won't see all those lanes returning kicks against professionals. on top of that everyone in the NFL is fast, ask Mike Vick. i don't see Reggie Bush revolutionizing the sport.

call me stupid but i am more worried about Deuce wearing down our Dline than I am about Reggie breaking the big one.

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Postby dirtybirdnw » Fri May 05, 2006 2:53 pm

The one thing that I haven't seen out of Bush that would make him comparable to Barry Sanders is that amazing dancing ability. Bush ran with some pretty beefy holes in the line on most occasions. He was never really forced to dance around to get his yards.

If Bush can dance like Sanders did God help us all.

Of course even with the great Barry Sanders Detroit was never a threatening juggernaut because they couldn't get everything on the same page. The Saints are the same exact scenario. I would be surprised to see Bush flameout until the Saints get a real O-Line in front of him. Deuce can run behind that line because he's a powerback, something Bush is not.
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Postby Pudge » Fri May 05, 2006 3:03 pm

It's not about what Bush will do, but what he can do. The very same thing we saw defenses do against us in 2001 when Vick was just a lowly rookie. Even in weeks that Chandler was going to start and take 90% of the snaps, defensive coaches reserved a chunk of practice time to stopping Vick, because they knew at any point in the game, the Falcons could plug him in.

The same wil occur with Bush now in New Orleans. He can be a very effective decoy, because whenever he steps on the field, the defenses efforts and focus become geared to neutralizing him. And that opens up the rest of the Saints offense to be even more potent.

PB21 wrote:How can you compare an unproven rookie to Peppers and Vick? That's what's ludicrous,...the guy hasn't proven anything except being one of the most eletrifying players,...in college.
And was not Vick the exact same as a rookie in 2001? I'm not saying Bush is definitely going to be the best athlete on the field automatically from the get-go, I'm just saying that he has that ability that we haven't see from a RB since Barry and Bo Jackson, that can make a defensive player go wow. There are a lot of good RBs in the NFL, but none of them have that type of potential that Bush has to just make guys jaws drop.

PB21 wrote:...and you forget another factor,...he plays for the Saints(or will after his rumored holdout).
Now who's living in the past? Have you watched a Falcon-Saints game over the past 5 years? Only 1 time since 1999 have the Falcons beat the Saints by more than 7 points. Although Vick never truly lost to the Saints in his career, our team rarely dominates them. Bush is exactly the type of playmaker that team needs to get over the "Vick hump."

Don't sleep on the Saints. Will they win more than 5 or 6 games this year? I would doubt it at this point. But that doesn't mean they won't steal a win from us, and that could very easily cost us the division title this year, which is expected to be a such a close race, that it may bounce us from 1st to the 3rd place, thus missing the playoffs.

I'll stop worrying about Bush the day I see the Falcons contain him. If last year's defense is our primary judgment, it bodes very poorly for the Falcons.
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Postby Steve-O » Fri May 05, 2006 4:55 pm

Caddy hit a wall last year, but even then he ran all over us...

I am scared of Reggie, but I would have been more scared of Mario Williams so I sleep a little better at night knowing we don't have to deal with him...

My opinion of Bush falls somewhere in between most of you guys. I think he's going to be a great back. I don't think he will be Barry Sanders because I think there is only one player like that every 50 years and I would be surprised to see a player like him in the NFL anytime soon. Sure Reggie is quick, fast, and has good vision, but Barry Sanders could have rushed for 1500+ yards with a high school offensive line in front of him....

Reggie had a great offensive line in college, and he got to play more than a few pretty bad defenses so I question what he will do in the pro's as a result. I've never seen him play behind a line that's not excellent against really tough opponents, when I see him do well in those circumstances I will be more willing to heap praise on him.

I totally agree with what Pudge is saying about him being a great decoy though, you really have a point with that one.

To be totally honest though, I am still more concerned with McAllister than Bush because I feel we have the team speed to contain Bush, but we are small and I think McAllister will run over us like he has every time we've played him. Having Bush as a third down back that spells McAllister could be trouble.

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Postby Pudge » Fri May 05, 2006 7:56 pm

My biggest fear of Bush resides in our ability to stop him in the passing game. Either we stop him or we don't. Right Demorrio is the only linebacker we have that has a chance of covering him out of the backfield. None of safeties could cover him if their lives depended on it. So it presents a difficult circumstance for the coaching staff, because when you play the Saints, you have to be even more mindful of which personnel you have on the field. J-Wil covered him in college and struggled mightily. D-Hall could cover him fairly easily, but taking him off Horn or Stallworth could spell disaster (unless of course J-Will and Webster are up to it, but I'm not holding my breath on that one).

Deuce doesn't scare me so much. He'll only be 11 months off his knee injury, and history tells us that it takes 18 months before a player can truly regain his older form from this injury. And considering Deuce hasn't been all that special the past 2 years. Nonetheless, he hsitorically has done very well vs. us (averages 114 total yards per game vs. Falcons), so he still should be effective, but I don't think we'll be seeing the same Deuce that has caused so many headaches over the past 5 years. Since he bulked up to 235, he's just not as dangerous. With the weight still on and the rehab, I'd be surprised if we didn't put the clamps on him.
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Postby PB21 » Sat May 06, 2006 9:00 am

You seem to be making this personal Pudge, and that's fine. Being so rigid when dealing with other's opinions is quite telling.

I tell ya what,...let's do use history here so maybe this bandying will cease.

I heard the EXACT same stuff when the Aints drafted,......Ricky Williams.LOL Exactly the same, "oh I'm so scared now."

So now Bush scares you more as a receiver when you earlier compared him to Barry Sanders? Let's get our story straight dude.

When you see Bush struggle,...I won't be the one to say I told you so,...if Bush rips the Falcons defense, I'll be the first to admit I was wrong. I'm wrong alot ya see,...I predicted the 1999 Falcons to go 12-4,...and we all know what happened that season. Have a wonderful day!

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Postby Pudge » Sat May 06, 2006 2:35 pm

PB, it rarely gets personal with me. Passionate, sometimes, maybe even often from others viewpoints, but I've been on various message boards for nearly 10 years. The personal arguments are long thing of the past. I disagree with someone, it doesn't mean they are stupid, just wrong and uninformed ;)

Also if you read my posts carefully, I never say Bush will be the same type of outstanding RB that Barry Sanders was. I compare them only in their ability to stop electrify defenders and their physique/athleticism. Let me clarify.

When Barry took the field, defenses had to focus on stopping him. Barry electrified by his uncanny ability to not be tackled and to turn anything into a TD, even if he was wrapped up 6 yards in the backfield, you never knew if he would break free and sprint 60 yards for a score. Bush has some of that too, but it remains to be seen if it approaches Barry's level. I doubt it does, since as others have stated, Barry is a once in the lifetime RB.

But Bush still can electrify. I think he will most of his success, particularly at this early point in his career in the passing game. An example would be him catching a simple screen pass, but just weave his way through a defense, across a field until he finds paydirt in the endzone. He'll spin, he'll jump, he jukes. He's going to break a few ankles, just like Barry did. Folks may be reminded of the opening week of the '95 season where Barry put a move on Rod Woodson that made Rod tear a knee ligament, costing him the rest of the season, and basically ending his career as a Steeler and elite corner in the NFL. That's another comparison to Barry in particular to their running abilities. Is he on the same level as No. 20? We'll see...

As for the times when the Saints drafted Ricky Williams, I'm sure many people were scared then just as they are now. I don't particularly recall being one of them. Mostly because I recall the Saints having absolutely nothing on offense besides Ricky. When you played the Saints back in 1999, you geared towards stopping Ricky and only Ricky. There was nobody else on the offense that would make you pay if you didn't. That's not the case now. Bush is purely complement as it stands in the Saints offense now. INstead of Billy Joe Hobert, they now have Drew Brees. Instead of Lamar Smith, its Deuce McAllister. Instead of Andre Hastings, its Joe Horn. All are Pro Bowlers that still have something left in the tank. If you focus on Bush too much, you may still get burned.

Not to mention the Saints have a big of extra motivation this year now that they are back in the Super Dome.

As I said earlier, I'm scared of Bush and the Saints because they are the X factor in the NFC South. Had the Panthers beat them on opening day they would have won the division title. Luckily for the Panthers the Falcons choked during the 2nd half of the season, so they were never challenged for their playoff spot. But had the Falcons won 3 more games, we may have been talking a much different story.

It's a "what if/coulda/shoulda/woulda" situation last year, but it clearly shows to me that the Saints can easily upset the balance of the NFC South with just a single win in the division. And when you factor in how close these Falcon-Saints games have been over the last few years, even with their bad defenses, with the changes offensively they've made this off-season, I don't understand why you can't be a little apprehensive at the potential of the Saints. In all those games, if Aaron Brooks doesn't throw that INT or maybe they make this big play there, perhaps they win those games. Now with Brees and Bush, they are in a much better situation to prevent those game-killing turnovers and/or get that big play that can be a momentum changer.

It seems to me the same attitude that I saw last year when the Falcons were playing the Panthers. Vick was 4-0 against them, and some fans looked down on the Panthers. Myself and a few others on this forum of course were of the more "practical" outlook that if the Panthers are going to get over the hump when it comes to beating Vick, it was going to come very soon. They did so, and quite handily. To me it's the same with the Saints this year. Especially with their offensive moves made, and that Monday Night matchup at home in front of the home crowd.
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Postby widetrak21 » Mon May 08, 2006 10:42 am

Well for the most part we've got the same "type" of backs to stop in this division. Caddy, Foster, DeAngelo and Bush are all smaller quicker shiftier backs. So while we all keep lobbying for the 330lb DT, we may be in better position than we think. Seems to me speed would be more important than gerth for stopping the run in our division. With the additions to our D, I probably feel better than if we would have added the on big DT. To me our bigger problem last year was tackling. If either the safeties or LB's could've made more of these plays, then pep like Foster and Caddy don't go for a buck fifty.

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Postby Pudge » Mon May 08, 2006 1:44 pm

Very good point. Having a massive DT is probably not going to make a huge difference when it comes to stopping these quicker runners. Sure, it won't hurt, but with some of these guys, your best bet is to have the DT slip a block and try to make the tackle in the backfield rather than worrying about your LBs chasing him all day. But it definitely seems like the Falcons made a smart move by picking up Milloy this year, a classic "in the box" safety. We'll need him in that role. Which will definitely put more pressure on Crocker and Wesbter to make plays vs. the pass.
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