Falcons defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux, the senior member of the starting unit, was not too concerned about the first-team defense’s poor showing against the Dolphins.
Members of the first-team defense played 12 or 13 snaps before leaving the game. Miami’s opened the game with a 10-play, 73-yard touchdown drive. On the next series, the starters got a three-and-out against backup quarterback Seth Lobato.
“The fact of the matter is that in the (exhibition) season we just don’t do a lot of game planning,” Babineaux said. “We just go out there and play and that’s what we did, especially in the first series. We made a few mistakes as a unit in terms of executing, but luckily we made the necessary adjustments in the second half.”
On the first play of the game, linebacker Joplo Bartu missed a tackle. Also, Falcons coach Mike Smith was not pleased that the unit didn’t pick up a receiver on a simple crossing route that turned into a 36-yard gain.
“We were in a coverage that we should be able to stop that,” Smith said. “We’ll see it, and we’ll be better in that area.”
The Falcons are making some major scheme adjustments on defense and are incorporating new players on the line and at free safety. Bartu, who played mostly outside linebacker last season, is playing inside in the team’s nickel and 3-4 defenses this season.
“We’re just out there trying to get better as a team and individually,” Babineaux said. “It’s been awhile since we competed with another team on the field at a high level. Every week we need come out with a goal to improve.”
Once the reserves came in, linebacker Prince Shembo and cornerback Javier Arenas made big plays.
Shembo finished with three tackles and had the team’s only sack. Arenas busted up a wide-receiver screen with a strong open-field tackle.
“There were a lot of young players that stepped up tonight and made plays for the team,” Babineaux said. “It creates great competition for the defense this year. We have a lot of youth on defense and we’re expecting them to help us win ball games.”
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