There is a lot of talk out there about Coach Belichick scheming defensively to take away All-World Falcons receiver Julio Jones. As you know, Belichick has a history of limiting the other team’s top playmaker.
The Falcons have been able to flourish this season, when the other team tilts coverage towards Julio. Matt Ryan has quickly identified the Julio “double” and taken advantage of other individual match-ups. Gabriel & Sanu have been able to win some match-ups.
Matt Ryan also has two dangerous running backs and they are both normally a mismatch advantage in the passing game. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are constantly making big plays.
The Patriots have two linebackers who can cover, in their dime package. Dont’a Hightower & Kyle Van Noy do a solid job in coverage. Belichick could utilize another DB to cover Freeman & Coleman sometimes too. But, if they plan to double Julio, then the Falcons backs will be getting single coverage.
Freeman & Coleman need to win their battle against the Patriots linebackers. Matt Ryan will be looking to take advantage of this match-up in the passing game.
The Patriots will be mixing zone and man coverage. Probably will see a lot of Malcolm Butler pressing Julio, with McCourty helping over the top.
I’ve recorded a video that’s up on 680 The Fan, which highlights routes you can expect to see Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman executing in the Super Bowl: the wide route, screens, flat, arrow and seam. Coleman can execute the wheel route, or line up wide and run a go. All of these will be on Shanahan’s laminated play sheet (sure hope that SF writer didn’t photograph the gameplan, when he walked off with Kyle’s backpack).
Devonta is averaging 5.5 yards per touch. Falcons need to get him the ball, both in the run and in the passing game. Obviously, a big game might help him get that big contract he’s looking for!
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