DEFENSE ANALYSIS: VanGorder’s unit made major strides - Printable Version
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DEFENSE ANALYSIS: VanGorder’s unit made major strides - The Falcon Jedi - 01-07-2011 01:08 PM
DEFENSE ANALYSIS: VanGorder’s unit made major strides
11:05 am January 7, 2011, by D. Orlando Ledbetter
FLOWERY BRANCH – Under defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder the unit improved immensely in 2010.
The key areas of concern coming into the season were the pass defense and the third down conversion percentage.
The Falcons improved in both areas.
In 2009, the Falcons were ranked 28th against the pass and last in third down conversion percentage. The pass defense improved to 22nd and went from 32nd to 22nd.
The major improvement was in interceptions where they moved up 12 spots in the league, from 16th to fourth.
Here’s a look at the statistically comparison:
Points allowed: 18 (5th) –- 20.3 (14th) – Up 9 spots
Yards allowed: 332.4 (16th) – 348.9 (21st) – up 5 spots
Passing: 226.6 (22nd) – 242.1 (28th) – up 6 spots
Rushing: 105.9 (10th) — 106.8 (10th) – same
Sacks: 31 (20th) – 28 (26th) – up 8 spots
3rd Down: 39% (79 of 201) 22nd – 45% (97of 214) 32nd. – up 10 spots
Interceptions: 22 (4th) – 15 (16th) — up 12 spots
We checked in with VanGorder during the bye week to get his take on the defense heading into the divisional round of the playoffs.
Here’s what VanGorder had to say:
WHAT’S THE PLAN FOR THE PLAYOFFS? “We have got to play Falcon ball. We are about fundamentals and being fundamentally sound. Those are the things we have to take care. We have to make sure that our guys are going to do what we’ve been doing all year long. Play hard and fast. Just play good fundamental football.”
ARE YOU WORKING ON THOS MIS-DIRECTION PLAYS (REVERSE)?: “I think that is a reasonable statement and concern. We’ve had a number of reverses run on us this year where we didn’t play well, didn’t fit it right and it ended up in big explosive runs. That’s kind of been the story of our run defense this year, we’ve given up a number of explosive runs. We’ve played good run defense, but then you have explosive runs and it’s not going to look very good. It’s a concern right now.”
CAN YOU USE THE SAME GAME PLAN IF YOU FACE THE SAINTS: “I don’t think you can play the Saints like that because their offense is so multiple with what they do. The quarterback is so intelligent. It’s another coach on the field. You’ve got to have change-ups for him. Again, we’ve got to have changeups within our system.”
ANY OTHER CONCERNS? “I thought we were playing better pass defense as the year went on. We have got to keep concentrating on that. The gadget type plays, such as the reverses that you mentioned, is a concern. Third down, we played better here at the end again on third down, but here again we’ve got to really stay focused on that. That was really a big part of our success here at the end.”
YOU MISSED 8 SACK OPPORTUNTIES ON BREES, HOW DO YOU GET HIM DOWN? “We’ve got to have better rush angles. We were too far up field a number of times. We were too wide a number of times. Rush angles become very, very important. Understanding that Drew gets a lot of credit for being a drop back quarterback, but Drew is a good athlete. I coached against him when he was in college. He was a pretty good runner then too. He’s a good athlete. He does a good job of avoiding pressure and even more importantly he does a great job of keeping his eyes up field when he’s under pressure. He can really create explosive plays. We just have to do a better job of understanding angles.”
HOW’S GREEN BAY’S CHARLIE PEPRAH PLAYING? (He was with the Falcons for parts of 2009) “Charlie is a hard worker and I’m glad it’s worked out for him in Green Bay. He must be playing good ball up there because he’s playing a lot.”
ON GREEN BAY QB AARON RODGERS: “He’s excellent. Very intelligent quarterback. Now he’s very athletic in terms of being able to run the ball. Now he looks to run the ball up the field a little different than Drew. Aaron will take off and run on you. As a matter of fact, in the game with us, he really hurt us. I believe he was their leading rusher. Good athlete and a great arm.”
ON SEATTLE’S QB SITUATION: “We saw a lot of (Charlie Whitehurst) in the second half of our game (against Seattle). He’s a drop back guy. He seems to be really dialed into the opportunity that he has. I watched him (against St. Louis) and it seems like his concentration was real strong. He probably gained a lot of confidence.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter