2012 NFL Film Review – Atlanta Falcons Run Defense Breakdown

I love NFL Game Rewind and the new feature “All-22” which lets fans like me dissect and look at the film that coaches use.

In this writeup, we’ll be looking at the Atlanta Falcons base defense versus the run, in Week 5 and Week 6 of the 2012 NFL Season. The Falcons gave up several big plays on the ground against the Raiders and Redskins, especially in their base defense and with Akeem Dent on the field.

The first play we’ll be looking at is from week 6, a 1ST & 10 @ the Oakland 20 – D.McFadden runs left end to OAK 34 for 14 yards tackled by T.DeCoud.

Akeem Dent the mike linebacker is highlighted here.

The running play is a counter with the guard and fullback ( in motion ) pulling to the weakside of the formation.

You’ll see that Sean Weatherspoon the WILL linebacker overruns the play, losing contain. Akeem Dent the MIKE attempts to attack the gap, but finds himself on the wrong shoulder of the pulling guard, only to be destroyed.

You can see here that Dent is simply overmatched, while DT Peria Jerry nearly gets a hand on the shifty Darren McFadden.

Dent – MIKE ( RED ) Jerry – DT ( BLUE ) Weatherspoon – WILL – (YELLOW )

The second play we’ll be looking at is from the Washington game in week 5. This play is another 1ST & 10 @ Washington 31 – A.Morris runs left end to WAS 47 for 16 yards tackled by T.DeCoud.

A simple stretch pitch play, with Akeem Dent (ILB) highlighted in white. While this may look like a 3-4, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is well known for his expertise in multiple fronts and comfortable in 4-3 or 3-4 looks. John Abraham is simply standing, giving a 3-4 feel to an otherwise offset 4-3 front.

While Stephen Nicholas tries to maintain gap integrity while following the play laterally, Dent shoots the wrong gap and is snuffed out in the wash, providing rookie Alfred Morris with a clear lane.

Annnnnnnnddd…. he’s off.

I’ve written in the Week 8 preview against the Philadelphia Eagles that the run defense must be prepared against LeSean McCoy, or they’ll be giving up huge plays like this all day.

The problem is, after losing Curtis Lofton to free agency the “Akeem Dent in the middle experiment” doesn’t look like it’s quite ready for the big stage. While the Falcons have been getting by with the extra defensive back, the Eagles may come out heavy and force the Falcons into a less desirable formation.

One thing is for sure, the Falcons will have their work cut out for them if they want to stay perfect in the 2012 season.

Go Falcons.

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