Dave the Falconer is back, from the most excellent Falcons blog, The Falcoholic, this time with a scouting report on the Falcons players. It's a long one, so I split it up and you need to click "Read More" at the bottom to see it all. I'll be returning the favor on his blog sometime later today.
often, unless DeMarcus Ware can stop him early.
HB Jerious Norwood, 550 yards, 6.5 average, 2 TDs: Listed here because he is more likely to play than Warrick Dunn. Norwood is a lethal speed back with good agility and an amazing burst to the outside. His field vision is extremely promising. His compact frame makes him a decently difficult tackle, as well. The only question is of health and stamina. If Norwood's not ready to go, Justin Griffith will get many carries. He's a traditional power back who technically serves as a fullback most of the time. Does not have elite speed or great vision.
WR Michael Jenkins, 33 receptions, 371 yards, 11.2 average, 6 TDs: The class of what can only be called a very weak receiving corps. Jenkins has solid hands, a big frame, and good awareness on the field. His height makes him an ideal red zone receiver. Has had problems with drops, but his main issue is a lack of route running prowress, which often takes him out of the game entirely. Matches up well against smaller corners, but those who can stick close to him can stymie him very quickly. Will have a good game if he can get open. Roddy White and Ashley Lelie are behind him, and both have excellent speed, average route running, and giant blocks of granite for hands.
TE Alge Crumpler, 42 receptions, 618 yards, 14.7 average, 7 TDs: Maybe the best player on the team, overall. He has sure hands, blocks well, and runs routes like an elite wide receiver. Ranks among the best tight ends in the NFL. Is a big threat in the red zone. Absolutely abuses most linebackers and safeties who attempt to cover him. Only true weaknesses are the occasional drop and a tendency to get frustrated too easily, which tends to take him out of the game a bit.
DE John Abraham, 16 tackles, 4.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 pass deflection: Has been hurt much of the year. Abraham has an uncanny knack for knocking the ball loose with his jarring hits, and will often go for the strip. Takes excellent routes to the QB, and has enough moves to regularly get around blockers. Injuries have hampered his production since his return, but he seems to be bouncing back now. Will be the main pass rushing threat for Tony Romo, and figures to get a hand on him more than once.
DT Rod Coleman, 17 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 1 pass deflection: Not his finest year, but Coleman remains a threat. At 6-2 and 285, is not the largest defensive tackle, but uses his body well and has a knack for collapsing the pocket. Will rush the QB often, providing plenty of pressure. Has trouble keeping up with mobile QBs. Is not as strong against the rush as he once was, but can occasionally plug the line.
LB Michael Boley, 74 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 INT, 6 pass deflections: Keith Brooking has 37 more tackles and a half a sack more than Boley, but there is not a more well rounded performer on the Falcons' defense than Boley. He is a great pursuit athlete, tackles cleanly and explosively, and remains aware of the ball at all times. Always seems to be a part of the play. Boley is not an excellent coverage linebacker, but is still above average. You'll see a lot of him on Saturday.
CB DeAngelo Hall, 46 tackles, 4 interceptions, 14 pass deflections: His mouth is sometimes bigger than his talent. Hall has great speed and good ballhawk instincts. Loves to talk trash, even during plays, and his intensity sometimes gets the better of him. Still lacks elite coverage skills and consistency. Capable of shutting down WRs completely on one play and then allowing a 40 yard gain on the next. When he's on, watch out. When he's not, he's merely average and flashy.
K Morten Andersen, 18/21 FGs, 21/21 XP, 75 points: Ancient. Still has an accurate leg, built up aeons ago from kicking dinosaur eggs. Has been surprisingly consistent this year. Needs only one field goal to break the all time record. Falcons rarely try him from too far. Leg strength is not stellar. Very old.
P Michael Koenen, 62 punts, 42.2 yard average, 6 touchbacks, 23 inside 20, 36.1 net.: Has a very strong leg but is puzzlingly inconsistent. Has taken a step back from last year. Has good direction on his punts, but often not a lot of hang time. Will need to do better to pin Cowboys back.
Coach Jim Mora: Along with coordinators Knapp and Ed Donatell, serves as the unholy trinity of subpar coaches. Mora is a good motivator but stubbornly sticks by his coaches and his philosophies, even when they fail miserably. A couple more losses on the season and his job is in jeopardy. If he continues to coach the same way, begin lemming comparisons. Playcalling may determine the day.
Overall: Very talented but terribly inconsistent team. Has a bunch of flashy playmakers who serve as either hit or miss. Will need to untrack their offense to do anything meaningful against the Cowboys. The defense is steadily improving but still prone to the big play. Look for them to fall behind early, as is their custom, and then come surging back. Will put up a good fight.