It's pretty obvious at this point the Atlanta Falcons are going through a major youth movement. They drafted a couple of pretty good rookies this year that will get plenty of time to play this year for them: LT Sam Baker and MLB Curtis Lofton. I watched and took notes of a preseason game they had with the Tennessee Titans earlier this year, and these were some of my observations.
#50 MLB Curtis Lofton: I liked watching this guy play at Oklahoma. He's short and is very comparable to a London Fletcher or for Falcon's fans a Jessie Tuggle. I remember reading Michael Lombardi not liking the fact the Falcons drafted him in the second round seeing as he was only a two-down player, and he indeed does come out on passing downs. While he quickly identifies plays and really explodes to the line of scrimmage with a good motor, he can get lost in the muck as well. He allowed himself to be cut blocked on a couple of plays and could have identified them better. If the Falcon's consider him that big a linchpin to their defense, they need to put a two gap system in front of him with two big D-Tackles so he can be allowed to move around unencumbered.
#72 LT Sam Baker: He went up against Kyle Vanden Bosch, one of the toughest match-ups for a rookie LT in the league right now. The Falcons called alot of three step drops during the game which allowed the quick Sam Baker to cut Vanden Bosch on a number of plays, and this unsurprisingly got Kyle Vanden Bosch pretty angry. Eventually Vanden Bosch was getting into scrums at the end of every play, obviously frustrated about not being able to get in the face of the rookie QB Matt Ryan and thats how I knew Sam Baker was doing a really good job. When Vanden Bosch beat him inside, he got help from the left guard. They didn't get burned by it because I don't think Albert Haynesworth was playing that night, so Matt Ryan was still allowed to step up into the pocket. If we still had Cullen Jnekins playing tackle on passing downs we could burn them when they do this, but we don't and they may just get away with it. The Falcons will also line up a Tight End on Kampman's side and have the Tight End chip Kampman. Sam Baker probably could have finished off blocks better on the second level, but it was still a pretty impressive performance as he had almost completely taken a very good player out of the game.
#20 CB Chris Houston: The Falcons left Chris Houston out on an island for most of the game, however he will gamble. He jumped a post corner route and the receiver was able to get behind him. However, we may not get a chance to do this if we can't stop the Falcons when they....
Line up DE's John Abraham and Jamaal Anderson on the the same side. This worked pretty well in the game and all of us know just how explosive a player John Abraham can be and so far has been this year. There has been some communication problems on the O-LIne so far for us this year, this is the game we really should start to get this stuff down. Oh yeah, and Grady Jackson makes his triumphant return to Lambeau.
Bottom Line: Even though, we have alot of guys out, this is a very winnable game upcoming against the Falcons.