Here’s our weekly list of nine things that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons.
1. Matthews had a rough outing: While all of the pregame focus was on rookies Chris Lindstrom (right guard) and Kaleb McGary (right tackle), left tackle Jake Matthews had a rough outing against the Vikings and defensive end Everson Griffen.
But coach Dan Quinn didn’t want to single out Matthews.
“Really high standards for him, and so like a lot of the players that played -- really high standards for Matt (Ryan), so to have two interceptions I was disappointed with that,” Quinn said. “(Devonta) Freeman is one of our guys, to make the most plays, to have a turnover in the red zone, was bummed for that and Jake (Matthews) as well.”
Quinn is expecting Matthews to bounce back against the Eagles.
“Yeah, certainly wasn't his best game,” Quinn said. “But you know, it killed him, too, which is what I love about Jake, to say like he was so pissed about it because he is such a competitor and he has improved so much.”
2. Oliver had rough day, too. Second-year cornerback Isaiah Oliver had one tackle against the Vikings. He had trouble getting off blocks and was beaten by Adam Thielen for a touchdown.
“I thought the first play after the punt that, was the one that I thought was a difficult play for him and I thought we could do that one better,” Quinn said. “There's going to be allowed catches, but they don't have to be a score.”
He settled down.
“After that, I don't like the penalty that he had on the long one, but all the confidence in what we do and how we play is there for sure,” Quinn said. “So, I would say from -- on the defensive back side, it wasn't a game that they were tested a lot. We went in expecting a big run dose.”
2A: Harris named NFC defensive player of the week after stunting on Falcons: Minnesota safety Anthony Harris, after having a hand in all three turnovers, was named the NFC’s defensive player of the week.
Harris had two interceptions, recovered Devonta Freeman’s fumble and finished with five tackles against the Falcons. Harris, who was signed as a undrafted free agent out of Virginia in 2015, has started 17 games over his first four seasons. Looks he had a NFL breakthrough and found a spot next to Harrison Smith in the Vikings’ defense.
3. Last place: The Falcons (0-1) are in last place in the NFC South with the Panthers (0-1) and Bucs (0-1), which is also tied for second, after the Saints (1-0) pulled off a dramatic victory over the Texans on “Monday Night Football.” Former Northgate High and Georgia State (which is now a football school I’m told) kicker Will Lutz made a career-long 58-yard field goal for the victory.
4. Quinn is not happy: Falcons coach Dan Quinn addressed the media Monday after the Falcons’ listless performance in Minnesota, which saw them fall behind 28-0 before posting two late touchdowns to make the score look quasi-respectable. In his first game opening the season calling the defense, his unit let him down and “didn’t do what they said they were going to do.”
5. Koetter not happy, either: Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was not happy with the offense’s three turnovers. “You can’t turn it over in any game, especially on the road,” Koetter said.
6. On to the Eagles: The Falcons are set to host the Eagles (1-0) at 8:20 p.m. Sunday in the home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Eagles lead the regular-season series 17-13-1 and are 3-1 in the postseason against the Falcons. They have won the past three matchups, including a 15-10 win in the divisional round of the playoffs on Jan. 13, 2018.
7. Lindstrom to IR: The Falcons knew Sunday night that Chris Lindstrom had a suffered a fifth metatarsal injury and knew he was going on injured reserve, but didn’t let the fans know until Quinn’s news conference Monday afternoon. They were already talking to parties about Lindstrom going on IR with the possibility of returning and were comparing the situation with Deion Jones’ situation last season when he was injured in the opener and returned to play in the final five games. Jamon Brown will move into the starting lineup and tackle-guard John Wetzel was signed to the 53-man roster.
8. Philly weapons: The Eagles’ offense is led by quarterback Carson Wentz, who signed a lucrative four-year extension this offseason that could escalate to $166 million.
He has a new weapon in wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who went back to his former team as a free agent. The speedy Jackson caught touchdown passes for 51 and 53 yards in the win over Washington.
With those two scores, Jackson has 31 touchdowns of 50 yards or more in his NFL career. Only the legendary Jerry Rice has more with 36.
9. Depth chart: Here’s the official depth chart for the Eagles’ game:
WR 11 Julio Jones, 18 Calvin Ridley, 83 Russell Gage
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 75 John Wetzel
LG 68 77 James Carpenter, 71 Wes Schweitzer
C 51 Alex Mack, 71 Wes Schweitzer
RG 68 Jamon Brown,
RT 76 Kaleb McGary, 74 Ty Sambrailo, 73 Matt Gono
TE 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Luke Stocker, 87 Jaeden Graham
WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 14 Justin Hardy, 17 Olamide Zaccheaus
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub
RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 25 Ito Smith, 38 Kenjon Barner, 23 Brian Hill, 32 Qadree Ollison
FB 40 Keith Smith
DE 98 Takkarist McKinley, 99 Adrian Clayborn
DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 95 Jack Crawford
DT 96 Tyeler Davison, 94 Deadrin Senat
DE 93 Allen Bailey, 50 John Cominsky
DE 44 Vic Beasley
LB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 54 Foyesade Oluokun, 42 Duke Riley
LB 45 Deion Jones, 53 Jermaine Grace
CB 26 Isaiah Oliver, 27 Damontae Kazee, 20 Kendall Sheffield
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 33 Blidi Wreh-Wilson, 28 Jordan Miller
S 37 Ricardo Allen, 41 Sharrod Neasman
S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael
K 3 Matt Bryant
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
LS 47 Josh Harris
H 5 Matt Bosher
KOR 38 Kenjon Barner
PR Kenjon Barner, (Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy in practice)