Good morning! Welcome to the Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly list of nine things at 9 a.m. Wednesday that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons.
1. Falcons pass on adding safety help: The Falcons sat out the trading deadline again this season.
They did sign veteran offensive lineman Zane Beadles, who was cut by the 49ers in May, but didn’t do anything to help out their injury-ravaged defense.
The Packers traded safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to the Redskins for a fourth-round pick.
Clinton-Dix would have certainly helped and would have been worth the fourth-round pick even if he was just a rental player for this season.
“I think it helps them in a big way because of the way (D.J.) Swearinger is playing back there (at safety),” said Fox analyst Charles Davis, who will call the game between the Falcons and the Redskins on Sunday. “You throw Clinton-Dix in there and now you really lock down the middle of the field. I think it probably allows Swearinger to be much more of what he does naturally, be more of a strong safety and let Clinton-Dix be the free safety.”
Davis wasn’t surprised that the Falcons didn’t make a move.
“They like to do it from within,” Davis said. “They believe the way they do their fundamentals and the Plan D (program) and every thing else that they do, that’s a better bet for them.”
The Falcons defense has been hemorrhaging yards and points, which has made every game a shootout. They had a chance to put the Buccaneers away and could not. They went up 20-6 over the Giants before the defense allowed a rally and needed a 56-yard field goal from Giorgio Tavecchio.
The Falcons have come up with plausible replacements for free safety Ricardo Allen in Damontae Kazee and a mixture of Duke Riley and rookie Foye Oluokun for Deion Jones, but the answer at strong safety needs to step up.
The Falcons sent a conditional seventh-round pick to the Patriots for safety Jordan Richards on Aug. 31. He’s been getting most of the snaps at strong safety.
We’ve been waiting for him to make a play and watching closely. Richards, who came to the Falcons with a reputation for being a good special teams player, hasn’t done much to impress.
One play can’t get erased from our game film reviews: Against Tampa Bay where he got ran over by Bucs running back Peyton Barber.
The box safety can’t get run over.
Clinton-Dix can play both safety positions and my Green Bay folks tell me that he’s better near the line of scrimmage, but was playing mostly deep for the Packers.
With the energetic Swearinger, Clinton-Dix will be free to torment the Falcons’ anemic rushing attack.
Before the trade deadline, the Falcons contended that they had “the players in the building” that they needed.
Falcons coach Dan Quinn went on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday and reiterated that point.
The Falcons think the can get better by splitting up the position.
Against the Giants, Sharrod Neasman played 40 defensive snaps (62 percent) at strong safety. Richards played 24 defensive snaps (38 percent). Neasman had three tackles and Richards did not have a tackle.
In the previous game against the Buccaneers, Richards played 65 defensive snaps ( 98 percent) and finished with one tackle.
“Yeah, we really tried to mix the position, almost like linebacker where we rotated him and Jordan some,” Quinn said. “We'll continue to do that. We liked how it went with Foye and Duke when we did that, and we increased Foye's reps significantly. And we did it with Neasman as well. So, we'll continue to work through that.”
Good for Neasman. He’s been a player trying to make it in the NFL.
After Allen went down, Neasman was signed to backup at strong safety and play on special teams. He was with the team in 2016 and 2017.
Neasman played in 11 games last season. He played in six games including three playoff games in 2016. He signed a one-year, $630,000 deal with the Saints after his contract ran out with the Falcons. He was released by the Saints on Sept. 4.
Quinn wanted someone familiar with the defense.
The Falcons tried him at both free safety and strong safety. Things started to click for Neasman after they moved him to strong safety in 2017.
2. Beadles signed: With both starters on injured reserve, the Falcons signed veteran guard Zane Beadles on Tuesday.
The Falcons released defensive tackle Michael Bennett to make room for Beadles, who played in all 16 games for the 49ers last season and made five starts.
Beadles, 31, was a second-round pick out of Utah by the Broncos in the 2010 NFL draft. He’s 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds. He’s played in 128 games, including 115 starts.
Beadles played for the Broncos (2010-13), Jaguars (2014-15) and 49ers (2016-17). He made the Pro Bowl in 2012.
Bennett was signed after Grady Jarrett suffered an ankle sprain. He saw limited action the past two games.
3. Series: This will be the 25th meeting between the Falcons and the Redskins, who hold a 14-9-1 advantage. However, the Falcons have won the last five meetings.
4. Rushing attack needs improvement: Because of injury, the Falcons will start their third different combination along the offensive line with Ben Garland taking over at right guard for Brandon Fusco. The unit will be charged with improving the rushing attack. The Falcons average 83.3 yards per game, which ranks 30th in the league. The Redskins, who held the Giants to 38 yards rushing in their 20-13 win on Sunday, allow 80.1 yards per game, which ranks second in the league.
5. Sack attack: Led by defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis (2.5 sacks), the Redskins had seven sacks against the Giants.
6. Peterson is aging well: Redskins running back Adrian Peterson, who’s 33, rushed for 149 yards, including 107 in the fourth quarter in the win over the Giants. He had a 64-yard touchdown run and was running 20.37 miles per hour, according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats.
7. Ryan climbing the charts: In the win over the Giants before the bye week, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed 18 consecutive passed to close out the 23-20 victory and completed passes to 10 different receivers.
Ryan, who’s played in the passing friendly era, moved up to 13th on the all-time completions list. He has 3,817 completions and moved ahead of Vinny Testaverde (3,787).
8. The fans voted: Here’s the twitter poll on whether the Falcons made a mistake by not going after Clinton-Dix.
9. Depth chart: The Falcons released their official depth chart for the game against the Washington Redskins.
WR 11 Julio Jones, 14 Justin Hardy, 17 Marvin Hall
LT 70 Jake Matthews. 74 Ty Sambrailo
LG 71 Wes Schweitzer, 72 Rees Odhiambo
C 51 Alex Mack, 71 Wes Schweitzer
RG 63 Ben Garland, 68 Austin Pasztor
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
LB 42 Duke Riley, 36 Kemal Ishmael
LB 54 Foyesade Oluokun, 55 Bruce Carter
LB 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
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