Falcons' Bold Draft Move Came With Packers In MindPosted:Oct 5th, 2011 4:20 pm
After witnessing Aaron Rodgers' finest hour and official coming out party in their own house in January, the Falcons' braintrust made a bold, daring draft day decision: If you can't stop 'em, try to score along with them.
They traded two #1s, a number two and two #4s to move from 27th to sixth in April's draft to select former Alabama stud receiver Julio Jones. Yes they had the sturdy, above average runner in Michael Turner and Pro Bowl receiver Roddy White. But missing was someone to go deep, to remove all the attention from White and to open up the middle for ageless tight end Tony Gonzalez.
Matt Ryan needed another toy, because the Packers offense only figured to be better this year with the return of Finley and Grant. So the Falcons plucked Jones from the draft and the returns are already in. They love him. Last Sunday in Seattle, Ryan targeted him 17 times. 17! In a game they led throughout. He caught 11 passes for 127 yards and is the early favorite for offensive rookie of the year. You can argue they've gone too far away from Turner, but they know they need to be able to put up 30 points against the Packers and Saints.
They also recognize that their defense is not going to send offensive coordinators running for the hills. There are some nice pieces, but even the addition of for Viking defensive end Ray Edwards has done nothing to improve the pass rush. They're defense gives up 26 points per game, 27th in the NFL. The Pack are now #1 at 37 points per game.
This game feels like a shootout. And Thomas Dimitroff and the Falcons feel like they are better equipped to score with the Pack, with Julio Jones lined up opposite Roddy White. Expect Dom Capers to show some things he's been holding back. The offensive line is the Achilles heel of this team. They've been a bit better the last two weeks, but Chicago almost knocked Ryan into retirement in the opener and this is the best defense that line has faced this season.
Is it Sunday night yet?