On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jan. 20, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFLPA Collegiate Bowl NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.
  • Sat., Jan. 20, 2018 12:00 AM MST East-West Shrine Game East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Sat., Jan. 27, 2018 12:30 PM MST Senior Bowl Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
  • Tue., Feb. 27, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Mon., Mar. 12, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs may negotiate with unrestricted free agents March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
  • Wed., Mar. 14, 2018 2:00 PM MDT 2018 league year and free agency period begin

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

    Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 25, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meetings begin March 25-28: Annual League Meetings, Orlando, Florida.
  • Mon., Apr. 16, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 6:00 PM MDT 2018 NFL Draft begins April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Print
RSS

Falcons Defense Helps Set Tone

Posted Sep 13, 2012

While the Atlanta offense garners much of the attention, the Broncos know the defense presents a formidable challenge as well.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Matt Ryan. Roddy White. Julio Jones. Michael Turner. Tony Gonzalez.

Those are the first names that typically come to mind when people think of the Atlanta Falcons.

One thing they have in common — they all play on the offensive side of the ball.

But that doesn’t mean Atlanta’s defense will present any breathers for a Broncos offense fresh off a showdown with a Steelers defense long recognized as one of the league’s best.

“I think they have good players, to start with,” quarterback Peyton Manning said. “They have a new defensive coordinator (Mike Nolan). Their head coach (Mike Smith) is a defensive guy. They’re well-coached. They’re sound in what they do. I think (defensive end John) Abraham gives you a lot of flexibility in what they can do in the pass rush. Their secondary is so active they can play a lot of different coverages. They’re just sound overall.”

The Falcons boasted the NFL’s sixth-stingiest run defense a year ago, and also finished seventh in the NFL with 29 takeaways in 2011. Last year, Atlanta’s defense was at its best when at home in the Georgia Dome, as only one team broke the 30-point barrier in the Falcons’ home venue.

“They’ve got a lot of playmakers over there,” wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. “They’ve got a great defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan. They present a lot of problems. They show you a lot of different looks, kind of like Pittsburgh a little bit with different looks. You never know what to expect. You’re playing in the Georgia Dome and it’s loud so, yeah, a lot of different obstacles this week. It’s going to be another tough test.”

With two interceptions and a fumble recovery, all in the second half of their season-opening win over the Chiefs, the Falcons D once again looks like a unit with a nose for the football.

Holding a 27-17 lead late in the third quarter against Kansas City in Week 1, Atlanta defensive end John Abraham sacked Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel, forcing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Stephen Nicholas. The sack was No. 113 for Abraham, who has recorded at least 9.5 in four of his past five seasons.

Atlanta’s offense capitalized with a quick touchdown, and the Falcons added interceptions by safety William Moore and Nicholas on the Chiefs' next two possessions as Atlanta opened up a 40-17 lead that was never in jeopardy.

“Really, it was close in the first half, but their defense took over in the second half,” Manning said. “Abraham forced a sack-fumble then forced the quarterback into an interception, so defense kind of set the tempo from there.”

Though the Falcons lost cornerback Brent Grimes for the season to an injury during the victory, the secondary remains formidable with cornerbacks like Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel.

“They had a significant injury losing (cornerback Brent) Grimes,” Manning said. “Not many guys can lose an All-Pro corner and still have a couple other top-notch starters, Pro-Bowlers, to replace him with Samuel and Robinson, so I still see them being an extremely tough defense.”