The Falcons defense better bring the “A-Game” in the Super Bowl. It’s going to take an impressive performance to slow down Tom Brady. Some say this Patriots offense is set up for success against the scheme Quinn’s defense plays.

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brian Poole (34) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brian Poole (34). (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Falcons play a lot of zone. The Patriots short passing game normally gives the Cover-3 zone scheme a lot of trouble. Amendola & Edelman both excel finding the soft spots to sit down in. Also, RB James White is a dependable receiver out of the backfield too. The ball gets out quick and it’s thrown accurately. All this makes it tough to defend. Neal, Jones, Campbell & Poole are going to get targeted, from short to intermediate.

The Patriots passing game operates smoothly against man coverage too. Against man, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola & RB James White are darting inside and out, on short to intermediate routes. Instead of sitting down in zones, they are running away from coverage. These are high-percentage throws for Brady and again, the ball gets out quick.

This is going to be a big challenge for the rookie space-tacklers! Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, De’Vondra Campbell & Brian Poole have been playing some ball lately, but this is a special challenge. This Patriots offense is a well-oiled machine, with all the bells and whistles against man or zone coverage.

So, what’s the smart play by Q & Richard Smith? Do they sit back in Cover 3 Zone and get carved up like the Steelers? Or do they bring some heat and play some press man? The Falcons showed some of that press man against the Packers.

They better mix it up against Brady. Need to see some plays made by the “Space-Tacklers” on 3rd down, so they can get Brady off the field some. Sure hope Coach Cox has the D-Line practicing and planning on getting their hands up, so Brady doesn’t have a clean lane to throw all that short stuff. Get those big hands up and let them stay there! Might deflect a few.

Brady gets the ball out quick, so a traditional pass rush just isn’t going to be effective. Bringing heat off the edge is almost useless. Now if Hageman, Babineaux or Grady Jarrett could collapse the pocket on the inside that would be HUGE. Or maybe one of those Falcons D-Line stunts will get home.

Is it asking too much for the Falcons defense to get a couple stops, force a couple turnovers or just find a way to hold them under thirty. If that happens, we’ve got a shot at a Super Bowl championship. This is going to be awesome.

– Buck Belue
Co-Host of “Buck and Kincade”
680 The Fan – Atlanta