Cover 9@9: T.J. Yates on Patterson: ‘He’s an absolute Swiss army knife’

Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Credit: AP

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Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) runs against the New Orleans Saints during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Credit: AP

(Here’s our weekly nine items at 9 a.m. Wednesday on the Atlanta Falcons, otherwise known as the Cover 9@9 blog!)

1. The no-spin zone: Falcons passing game specialist T.J. Yates spends most of his time with the wide receivers in practice, but he has the freedom to bounce around to different position groups.

He has been captivated with the play of wide receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who has amassed 101 touches, 737 yards and seven touchdowns through eight games.

“He’s an absolute Swiss army knife,” Yates said. “He can do just about everything. He obviously comes with receivers when we’re running routes sometimes. He’s with the backs and with the quarterback. I mean, he’s all over the place because we lined him up in so many different positions.”

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Patterson caught the big 64-yarder to get the Falcons into field-goal range for their 27-25 win over the Saints on Sunday.

He’s rushed a career-high 73 times for 278 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also caught 38 passes for 459 yards and five touchdowns. He had a career-high 52 catches in 2016 and a career-high in yards receiving of 469 in 2013.

After being drafted in the first round by the Vikings in 2013, Patterson turned into one of the league’s top kickoff returners and is a four-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro pick.

“On the sheet, he’s a running back, right,” Yates said. “You know, but he splits out wide. He will run the ball. He’ll block. He will do just about everything. Going into it, we didn’t really realize how much of a blessing in how good he can be and how many multiple things he can do.”

The Falcons will continue to lean on Patterson.

“Obviously, he’s had a very good amount of production so far this year,” Yates said. “We hope to continue that in using his abilities all over the field.”

2. Player of the week: Quarterback Matt Ryan, who led the Falcons to a stunning 27-25 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, was named the NFC’s offensive player of the week for Week 9 on Wednesday.

Ryan completed 23 of 30 passes (76.7 percent) for 343 yards and two touchdowns and he ran for another score. He finished with a passer rating of 135.8.

After the Falcons blew an 18-point fourth quarter lead, with 1:01 left in the game, Ryan tossed a bomb to wide receiver/running back Cordarrelle Patterson that went for a 64-yard gain to immediately put the Falcons in field goal range for the victory.

It was Ryan’s 41st game-winning drive and 33rd fourth-quarter comeback, just a week after having one of the worst performances of his career against the Panthers (67.8 passer rating and two drive-killing interceptions).

This was Ryan’s 10th NFC offensive player of the week honor, the most in franchise history.

The Falcons opened as 9-point underdogs to the Cowboys on

The Falcons (4-4) are set to play the Cowboys (6-2) at 1 p.m. Sunday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

3. Fowler eligible: Outside linebacker Dante Fowler (knee) is eligible to return to practice

He could be activated from the short-term injured-reserve list this week.

Getting Fowler back would boost the anemic pass rush.

“We’ll just have to see,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said. “We’ll take it day by day. There’s a chance.”

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Quarterback Matt Ryan got the Falcons in position to kick a field goal to beat the Saints.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

4. Series history: This will be the 28th regular-season meeting between Dallas and Atlanta. The Cowboys lead the series, 16-11.

The Cowboys have won the last two meetings, including last season’s 40-39 victory over the Falcons on Sept. 20, 2020. The Falcons blew a 26-7 lead and did not recover an onside kick that would have secured the victory.

5. Coach of the week: Meet the Atlanta Falcons’ coach of the week winners.

6. Quinn on time with Falcons: Dallas defensive coordinator Dan Quinn became only the second coach to guide the Falcons to the Super Bowl. He won the NFC South in 2016 and made two trips to the playoffs. After two consecutive 7-9 seasons and an 0-5 starter, Quinn was dismissed last season.

“I have great memories from there and I always will,” Quinn said to the Dallas media on Monday. “I think a lot of the really cool things that we accomplished there – and there were a lot of them – versus how it ended. That’s an important declaration. I’ll certainly forever be grateful to (owner) Arthur (Blank) for giving me the opportunity there and to all of the players I had the privilege to coach.”

Quinn wanted to acknowledge his time in Atlanta, but was clearly concerned about his Dallas unit, which turned in a poor performance in a 30-14 loss to Denver on Sunday.

“You guys saw the performance (on Sunday) so there is no time to take a stroll down memory lane,” Quinn said. “We got some (things) to fix. So, I’ll be right where my feet are, right where I’m supposed to be going after it as hard as we can. Worry about the jerseys I coach now all throughout the week.”

7. Quinn’s attacking defense: Quinn’s defense is led by rookie linebacker Micah Parsons. He leads the team with 38 tackles and five sacks. Also, defensive end Randy Gregory has five sacks.

Former Falcons safeties Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee followed Quinn to Dallas. Kazee has started all eight games and has 20 tackles, an interception and three passes defense. Neal, who’s moved to linebacker, had played in six games and made two starts. He has 24 tackles and two tackles for losses.

Kazee, who’s playing strong safety, played 43 of 78 snaps (55%) against Denver and had one tackle. Neal played 34 snaps (44%) and had six tackles and a tackle for a loss.

Quinn wants to have his unit ready to finish off plays against the Falcons.

“To have 14 missed tackles, that’s a lot of missed tackles,” Quinn said of the performance against Denver. “If you’re going to play defense, you’d better be good at tackling. This game, there were just too many one-person tackles for our liking. That, to me, was the story of it.”

8. Cowboys have a lot of weapons: Dallas has the most talented offense that the Falcons have seen since they faced Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 2 of the season.

Offensively, the Cowboys are led by quarterback Dak Prescott, who returned last week after a calf injury.

Prescott has completed 69.4% of his passes and has thrown 18 touchdown passes and five interceptions. He has a passer rating of 108.7.

Running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard have rushed for 1,025 yards and are averaging 5.1 yards per carry. Elliott has five rushing touchdowns and Pollard has one.

Wide receivers CeeDee Lamb and Amari Cooper are both having strong campaigns. Lamb has 41 catches for 632 yards and four touchdowns. Cooper has 40 catches for 532 yards and five touchdowns.

The Falcons will also have a challenge in covering tight end Dave Schultz, who has 37 catches for 424 yards and three touchdowns.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Falcons defender thinks of his grandfathers in the military after the win over the Saints.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

9. Depth chart: Defensive tackle Anthony Rush, who was added to the active roster, was listed third behind Ta’Quon Graham, but since Rush played and Graham was inactive, we put Rush in the No 2 spot behind Tyeler Davison at defensive tackle.

The team has made several minor moves over the past two days, in addition to promoting Rush, they also promoted cornerback Chris Williamson and released outside linebacker Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and punter Cam Nizialek.

Here’s the Falcons’ official depth chart for the Cowboys game:


WR - Tajae Sharpe, Christian Blake, (Calvin Ridley is on the non-football injury list)

TE - Kyle Pitts, Lee Smith

LT - Jake Matthews, Jason Spriggs

LG - Jaylen Mayfield, Josh Andrews

C - Matt Hennessy, Drew Dalman

RG - Chris Lindstrom, Drew Dalman

RT – Kaleb McGarry, Jason Spriggs, Colby Gossett

TE - Hayden Hurst, Keith Smith (has lined up as traditional TE), Feleipe Franks (was part of TE/QB package vs. Giants)

WR - Russell Gage, Olamide Zaccheaus, Frank Darby

RB - Mike Davis, Cordarrelle Patterson, Wayne Gallman

FB - Keith Smith, Cordarrelle Patterson (added to reflect that they played the position in the opener.)

QB - Matt Ryan, Josh Rosen, Feleipe Franks


DL - Grady Jarrett, Marlon Davidson

NT - Tyeler Davison, Anthony Rush, Ta’Quon Graham

DL - Jonathan Bullard, Mike Pennel, John Cominsky

OLB - Steven Means, Brandon Copeland

ILB - Deion Jones, Mykal Walker

ILB - Foyesade Oluokun, Daren Bates

OLB – Adetokunbo Ogundeji, James Vaughters, (Dante Fowler is on injured reserve but could be activated)

LCB - A.J. Terrell, Darren Hall, Chris Williamson

FS - Erik Harris, Jaylinn Hawkins

SS - Duron Harmon, Richie Grant

RCB - Fabian Moreau, Avery Williams, Kendall Sheffield


K - Younghoe Koo

P - Dustin Colquitt

LS - Josh Harris

H - Dustin Colquitt

PR - Avery Williams, Olamide Zaccheaus

KOR - Cordarrelle Patterson

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Next four games

Falcons at Cowboys, 1 p.m. Sunday

Patriots at Falcons, 8:20 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

Tampa Bay at Atlanta, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5

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