The Denver defense will have to contend with four former Pro Bowlers at the skill positions – one each at quarterback, running back, tight end and wide receiver.
That doesn’t include a second-year wideout — Julio Jones -- who went over 100 yards receiving with two touchdowns in Week 1.
“They can do it all,” defensive end
Similar to the Steelers, the Falcons have a Pro Bowl quarterback in Matt Ryan that has performed in big games. Linebacker
Ryan has started all but two possible games for the Falcons since being drafted in 2008. His quarterback rating has risen every year since 2009 and this year he follows up on a 2011 campaign in which he threw for 29 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions, guiding the Falcons to a playoff berth.
“Matt has shown the ability to make plays throughout his career,” quarterback
The receivers that Manning alluded to are four-time Pro Bowler Roddy White and second-year pro Jones, who nearly reached 1,000 yards in his rookie campaign while playing in just 13 games.
“Studying those guys, knowing what they like to do, knowing what they don’t like to do,” Porter said about his week of preparation. “Just being a pest around the ball, being a pest around those guys when the ball’s in the air, that’s pretty much all you can do. You can’t go in and try to out-physical a guy who is 230 pounds playing receiver.”
Another element of the Falcons’ attack that can present a challenge is the no-huddle offense. Ryan has utilized that strategy more and more, displaying its effectiveness in Atlanta's 40-point eruption in Week 1.
Broncos defenders acknowledge the difficulty in facing a well-run no-huddle offense – having the inability to substitute players on and off the field – but it won’t be the first time they’re seeing a fast-paced, efficient offense that goes straight to the line of scrimmage.
“We get a lot of work at that going up against Peyton and our offense,” Woodyard said. “It helps out a lot. Peyton is one of the best to ever play the game with that no-huddle offense. We get a lot of good looks at it. We’re ready for it and we just have to make sure we hone in on what the Falcons do.”
Head Coach John Fox said he is also grateful to be working against a no-huddle in practice to help Denver prepare for Atlanta’s offense. Still, the Broncos will face a stiff test in playing the Falcons on the road on Monday Night Football.
“Obviously the Falcons present a lot of problems because they’re well-coached and they’ve got very good football players,” Fox said. “We’ll have our work cut out for us in the Georgia Dome.”