Welcome to the Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly list of nine things that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons.
1. Praise for Campbell: Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell is thoughtful and articulate when answering questions from the media.
He speaks his mind and tells the truth.
That’s all he was doing in a post game interview with David Archer on 92.9 The Game, the team’s flagship radio station, on Sunday.
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Campbell bemoaned the team’s lack of energy in a loss to the 2-6-1 Browns.
He discussed how they didn’t handle some of the un-scouted looks very well.
“We didn’t take them seriously,” Campbell said.
He circled back around to the team’s lack of energy several times.
It might be a “Brotherhood” violation to speak the truth.
Quarterback Matt Ryan and Julio Jones were both given opportunities to discuss what happened on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland of Ohio.
Both of them offered up Brotherhood-speak.
“I don’t think so,” Ryan said when asked if they took the Browns lightly. “I think we have a group of guys that prepare really well week in and week out. We just did not play well enough. The mindset was there throughout the week, the execution on Sunday and the performance was not what we needed.”
Jones was asked if the Falcons were flat.
“No, I wouldn’t say we were flat, we just didn’t attack cover two the way we were supposed to,” Jones said. “That’s all. We went out there and competed; they were the better team today, but we’re a better ball club than that.”
So give Campbell credit for telling the truth.
2. Coleman wants to come back: Running back Tevin Coleman had the perfect opportunity to showcase his talents to the league and hit it big in free agency.
But through nine games, it looks like the Falcons will have a shot to retain him. Coleman told the Dukes and Bell show on 92.9 The Game that he wanted to return.
Coleman has rushed 106 times for 442 yards and two touchdowns. He has 23 receptions for 224 yards, including four receiving touchdowns.
3. Kazee was moving: Falcons free safety Damontae Kazee intercepted Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield and returned it 33 yards last week. Kazee leads the Falcons and NFL with five interceptions this season. According to Next Gen Stats, Kazee hit 19.86 miles per hour on the play.
4. Series history: This will be the 26th regular-season meeting between the Falcons and the Cowboys. The Cowboys lead the series 14-11. The Falcons have won the last three meetings including last season’s 27-7 victory when defensive end Adrian Clayborn had six sacks.
The teams meet twice in the playoffs with Dallas winning both times, including the dramatic 30-27 victory when Danny White tossed a touchdown pass to Drew Pearson with 42 seconds to play. The Falcons blew a 24-10 lead in that game.
5. Alabama receivers: The Falcons have Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, while the Cowboys recently traded for Amari Cooper. All of the former Alabama receivers will be on display.
In the previous game against Cleveland, Jones became the fastest player in NFL history to reach 10,000 receiving yards, surpassing former Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson's previous record of 115 games.
Jones is 769 yards behind wide receiver Roddy White (10,863) for the most yards receiving in Falcons history.
Ridley and Cooper are the same age.
While we’re on receivers, Calvin Johnson’s “Going Purple” Event is set for Saturday, Nov. 17. It’s a strike out pancreatic cancer bowl-a-thon fundraiser.
6. Ryan remains hot: Matt Ryan completed 38 of 52 passes for 330 yards, including two touchdowns and had a fumble against Cleveland. He finished with 102.2 passer rating. Ryan is 3-1 against the Cowboys.
7. Hooper is dependable: Tight end Austin Hooper had his fourth 50-yard receiving game this season. He had 10 catches for 56 yards and one touchdown. Hooper has 46 catches for 418 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace to catch a career-high 82 passes.
8. Vander Esch is for real: Seven picks before the Falcons selected Ridley, the Cowboys drafted Boise State linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with the 19th overall pick.
Cowboy fans booed the pick. They wanted Ridley.
Vander Esch had his first career interception in the 27-20 win over the Eagles last week. He made a game-saving tackle for a loss on a key third down and led the team with 13 tackles.
9. Depth chart for Dallas game: The Falcons released their official depth chart for the Dallas game on Tuesday.
The Falcons (4-5) are set to play the Cowboys (4-5) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
WR 11 Julio Jones, 14 Justin Hardy, 17 Marvin Hall
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 74 Ty Sambrailo
LG 71 Wes Schweitzer
C 51 Alex Mack, 71 Wes Schweitzer
RG 63 Ben Garland
RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 69 Zane Beadles, 77 Matt Gono
TE 81 Austin Hooper, 82 Logan Paulsen, 85 Eric Saubert
WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 18 Calvin Ridley, 83 Russell Gage
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub
RB 26 Tevin Coleman, 25 Ito Smith, 32 Brian Hill
FB 30 Ricky Ortiz
DE 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 90 Derrick Shelby, 56 Steven Means
DT 99 Terrell McClain, 94 Deadrin Senat
DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 95 Jack Crawford
DE 98 Takk McKinley, 50 Brooks Reed, 52 Bruce Irvin
WLB 42 Duke Riley, 36 Kemal Ishmael
MLB 54 Foyesade Oluokun, 55 Bruce Carter, 45 Deion Jones
SLB 59 De’Vondre Campbell
CB 23 Robert Alford, 20 Isaiah Oliver, 33 Blidi Wreh-Wilson
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 34 Brian Poole, 28 Justin Bethel
FS 27 Damontae Kazee, 35 Keith Tandy
SS 29 Jordan Richards, 41 Sharrod Neasman
K 3 Matt Bryant, 4 Giorgio Tavecchio
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
KR 14 Justin Hardy, 18 Calvin Ridley
PR 14 Justin Hardy,17 Marvin Hall
LS 47 Josh Harris
H 5 Matt Bosher