2016 Season Blog.

Super Bowl.

7-Things for Sunday: Part II.


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Most Important Thing For The Defense.


5. Offensive Explosion- The wizard who stirs the whole pot, and made it work better than any other offense this year, is Matty Ice. "I mean, he's a phenomenal player, obviously. The last time we played him it wasn't very good for us in that regard. Fortunately, the end was," Patricia said. "He's a very smart player, a guy that really does a great job of analyzing the defense and sees the reads and sees the plays. He does a great job with the offense that Coach Shanahan has put in place and he understands it I think very well. He does a good job of getting rid of the ball quickly.

"I would say that he doesn't take a lot of unnecessary risks. There are a lot of things, just from the growth of a quarterback at this point in his career, he's doing a great job of controlling the ball, not turning it over and not putting them in bad situations. He does an excellent job of moving in the pocket. He's very athletic and there are just times where he sees the space or feels the rush and he can get out of trouble and extend the play.

"And now he's got all of his skill players in a mode where the play is extended and the defense is trying to adjust based on the play being moved, whether he's out to the left or out to the right, whatever the case may be. Then he's got an ability to run the ball, too. I think you saw it obviously most recently in his ability to just take off, make a decision and run and get the yardage or get the first down or have that ability to move. So that's a whole other element from a trying-to-defend-a-quarterback standpoint. That's a huge problem." He also took some of the biggest hits I've ever seen a QB take at BC, and get up and complete the next pass.

He doesn't have the quickest release, but his ability to read it quickly and be decisive is what separated him this season. "I think it's exactly what you just said right there. I think he's a guy that goes back with the ball, does a good job of understanding the defense and sees the receivers, sees the coverage. He'll make a quick decision, he'll get rid of the ball," Patricia said. "He's not trying to hold it and get hit in the pocket or take any of those chances back there. He just sees it, analyzes it, gets rid of it and then moves to the next play very quickly. It's just that methodical kind of rhythm of an offense that when he's really in it, he's got it and he's rolling. He's got a tremendous arm, so he can throw short. He can throw deep. He can throw inside. He can throw outside. He can make all the throws. It's not any question of that at all, it's just him just kind of reading it, reading the coverage, understanding the routes, understanding where the weakness of the defense is, and getting the ball to his players as soon as he can." He consistently made the right calls all season long.

The Falcons really do have some serious offensive explosion. "Obviously with the quarterback position, Matt Ryan, and then Julio Jones and all the skill players that they have, they have tremendous dynamic weapons, but Julio Jones, we saw him a couple of years ago and studied him," Patricia said. "He's probably just one of the most dynamic players in the league. I usually don't wind up comparing him to other people. I wind up comparing other people to him just because of his skill set and his ability." Julio is a rare blend of size, speed, and dynamic abilities.

They like to move him around so that he is tougher to match up with. "The things that he does for them, and what he can do is he does a great job of moving around into different positions," Patricia said. "Coach Shanahan puts him in different spots. He'll try to get him working different positions to get a matchup that he likes, or a particular formation that gives the defense problems, and then they'll really use him in a variety of ways." He is tough to handle in the slot, and even tougher outside.

Julio is the most physically talented player in this game. "He can run underneath routes. He has great speed. He has great hands. He has great body control. And he's very, very strong. A bigger corner, smaller corner, whatever it is, he can push on the [DBs], lean and be able to play physical at the line of scrimmage," Patricia said. "Plus, [he's] physical downfield with them, and will still come up with the ball. He does a great job of tracking the ball in the air. [He] can go up and high point it and get it. He's got great hands and like I said, does a great job after the catch. Just his ability to get the ball, get vertical into the defense towards the end zone, stiff-arm a defender, break a tackle, run away from guys, it's just he's such a dynamic player in that aspect that he can give you a lot of problems." He is terrific catching the ball under his teammates, and running outside for a lot of yards.

When he is on, he can look unstoppable. "He'll go vertical. He'll run the intermediate routes. He's very good at the top of the route. He does an unbelievable job of stemming and using his skillset to get separation at the top of the route in both man-to-man, and he does a great job of seeing zone coverage and sitting down," Patricia said. "He and Matt Ryan have great chemistry where the route might be changed [because of] something that was called but because of the coverage, they've adjusted it and he's been able to work himself into open space and then Ryan will get him the ball. He's a great player." However, when he has been great this season they haven't always won.

He is the guy that scares me, but his stats have not led to winning for the Falcons. His five worst games statistically of the season where in wins, where he garnered: 60-yards, 35-yards, 29-yards, 29-yards, and 16-yards. He also had zero TDs in those games. He had seven 100-yard games (including an impossible 300-yard game!), eight including the Playoffs. They lost four of those games. Which tells me that when the Falcons are up, they will make a consorted effort to run the ball.

Freeman and Coleman combined to rush for over a 100-yards in 7 of the eleven games they won. They didn't rush for over 100-yards against Green Bay, which is odd because the game was over at Halftime, but garnered 148-yards combined rushing and receiving. They combined for 103-yards rushing against Seattle. So they rushed for over 100-yards in eight of their wins. They were also 2 and 3 in games that they rushed for less than 100-yards.

Which is about the only offensive stat where they have a losing record. "They do a great job of kind of identifying the fronts and getting the ball run through, I'll call it the space of the defense, and both of these backs have an explosive ability to see the scene, get downhill quickly, get into the defense quickly," Patricia said. "They run with good pad level, good body control, very good short-space quickness, and then some long speed too or speed you'd be able to get outside if you don't have the edge of the defense in a good force position.

"It's a one-two punch. They both have some good power. There are some slight differences between the two and some quickness and some short space stuff. They read the blocking scheme very well. Atlanta does a great job of just kind of running their runs. They practice the particular running style, the stretch game that they run. They do a good job of creating separation of the defense both horizontally and vertically. So as those backs take those angles and really get the defense to run kind of in a sideways manner [one blocking scheme]. They open up those holes where these guys, they stick that foot in the ground and they just come downhill and they hit that thing at 100 miles per hour. That's very difficult to defend, especially if the front may be a little bit light, depending on what you've got to put on the coverage aspect of it to handle the passing game.

"Then there are certain situations with the backs and their quickness, they do a good job of setting up the defenders where the defenders may throw off to a particular side and these guys can dip in and dip back out. They have that speed and burst to kind of dip back out into space, and when they're in space is when they're the most dangerous. They create mismatches in tackling and like I said, just their center of gravity and the way they can really get low to the ground, it's pretty unique." Coleman rushed for 520-yards and 8-TDs, and garnered 421-yards and 3 TDs receiving.

Freeman rushed for 1,079-yards and 11 TDs. "Personally for me, it's stopping the run and stopping their two running backs who are at the top of the league in what they do," Branch said. "They're fast, quick and are able to cut whenever they want. I feel like if we can do that, then we're taking a step in the right direction. Everything else is above my pay-grade." He also garnered 462-yards receiving and 2 TDs.

Whichever team runs the ball the best is going to have a significant advantage on offense. Not only on play actions, but also wearing down the defense, slowing down the rush, and getting the LBs and Safeties closer to the line of scrimmage and out of position in pass defense.

So the Pats are likely to try and stop the run game first. "Coleman is fast, I'll say that. He runs very strong. I think the thing about him is he trusts his speed," Hightower said. "I think a lot of guys aren't used to his speed. Whether it's a jet sweep, or him getting it out of the backfield, or running an out route or whatever route he's running. He just does a good job of getting separation. I'm not sure a lot of guys don't necessarily see that until game time, and by then, it's too late." This is going to be one of the most important aspects in the game.

The Pats D only gave up about 90-yards a game on the ground, while the Falcons rushed for about 120-yards a game. "Freeman is a great running back all the way around," Hightower said. "I think the best thing for him is his vision. He has great vision. Whether it's setting up a cut-back run or open field, he just has great vision and he's hard to bring down. You don't see too many backs with that height and agility. Hard to bring down. They have a couple guys like that on that team. That's definitely what sets Freeman apart." The Pats number two priority is to not let the RBs combine for over 100-yards rushing.

Plus, the RBs are dangerous in the passing game. "I think it's part of the system too if you look at Coach Shanahan and what he does with Matt Ryan," Patricia said. "In other words, there are a lot of skill guys that you've got to be alert for, obviously. They play a lot of receivers. Sanu is someone we have a lot of familiarity with. He's a great receiver for them. Julio Jones and Gabriel will be out there for them. And they'll spin the other guys through, Robinson and all those guys." They get the secondary moving backwards with threats down field.

Then they sneak the RB into the Box or flats, and they are wide open. "With as much attention sometimes, as you're watching the film and you take a look at it, that's maybe put on the back end of the coverage, you're going to see a lot of space underneath," Patricia said. "That's when it's a great opportunity for the quarterback to get rid of the ball. Get it down to Freeman. Get it down to Coleman. And now these guys have the ball in their hand in space. It could be underneath or it could be out wide. They'll get them the ball in different areas depending on the routes or how they scheme it up." They really hurt Green Bay under the coverages.

Catching the ball short and then running with great elusiveness and power out in space. "Like I had mentioned before, even in the run game when these guys get in space, well now you get them the ball in the passing game in space, and they're dangerous again because of the one-on-one tackling problems and their quickness and their speed that they have out there," Patricia said. "A lot of times it's really just very smart decision making by the quarterback. It's good scheme, but smart decision making by the quarterback to get the ball to these guys because he sees what the defense is [doing, moving backwards in coverage]. He understands what the coverage is and he knows that, 'Hey, I'm going to take a profit here. I'm going to take the shorter play because it's in a more manageable situation, keep the sticks kind of moving and keep the control of the game in favor of the offense." The front seven or front six is going to have their hands full.

But having Branch in the middle to fight Mack looks like it has become a big advantage for the Pats. "So there's a huge element of that which they're doing a great job of, of course, and then there are certainly some situations where they'll motion them out," Patricia said. "Coleman will get out there and they think they have a good matchup whether it's on a linebacker or whoever it may be. The quarterback understands the coverage, he understands what the look is and if he's got a favorable a look, he's going to put it up there. Obviously he has a lot of trust in these guys as receivers to go out and make a play." The LBs are going to have to cover these guys, and take them down hard in space.

Those two guys have combined for 24 total touchdowns, and combined for 16 rushing TDs in their 11 regular season wins. Freeman rushed for a TD against Seattle in the Playoffs. Coleman rushed for a TD in the NFC Champ game. They did not score a rushing TD in three of their five loses. So the Pats defenses number one priority is to not let the Falcons rush for a TD.

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Fascist is as Fascist does. Beware American. President Jerkballs is pulling the cowardly republican Senate closer and closer to the cliff. 

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