“Now, I know he gets a lot of attention, it creates a lot of opportunity for (Mohamed) Sanu and other guys, but it’s never made any sense,” said Collinsworth, who starred for the Bengals from 1981-88 after playing at Florida. “It’s just never made any sense to me, either. I just can’t explain that one. I have no idea.”
The Atlanta Falcons open the season against Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles (Sept. 6 @ 8:20 p.m., NBC). Nine games in the 2018 regular season will feature a rematch from the 2017 postseason. The Falcons lost to the Eagles in last season's conference Divisional Round. Thursday night's season opener features a matchup of the past two NFC representatives in the Super Bowl. The Eagles have won their past two openers and six of their past seven. Matt Ryan's 448 passing yards and 3 TDs against New Orle
Collinsworth is excited about the Falcons’ defense.
“Defensively, it’ll be good to see them back with Deion Jones,” Collinsworth said. “They obviously missed him greatly watching that game the other day (exhibition against the Jaguars). He’s that sideline-to-sideline presence. Although I will say, I thought from a sure, physical presence, it was fun to watch him because it was almost like they were two different teams (from the exhibition game against the Chiefs).”
Collinsworth likes the Falcons defensive line rotation.
“Jack Crawford and Terrell McClain coming over are those sort of run-stuffing guys along with Derrick Shelby, and so they’ve got that sort of run-stopping, Brooks Reed helps the unit, and then you’ve got the pass rushers, right. ... So a little bit like Philadelphia last year, these guys are going to be incredibly fresh,” Collinsworth said. “When you get Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett and some of these guys that can really get after the quarterback, like Takk McKinley. (Because of the rotation) they don’t have to play 60 downs.”
There are some concerns about the defense. With the lost of massive defensive tackle Dontari Poe, the run defense may be an issue.
“I still get a little nervous watching them stop the run,” Collinsworth said. “You know, I just — that’s one for me, this is a team that we know they can run the ball, and I think they’re just going to have to make sure they can stop the run.”
Collinsworth has already deeply prepared for the game. He wants to see the Falcons get reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on the field.
“The one guy that I don’t know how they’re going to get (on) the field, and I know he’s had some penalties and all that stuff, but that Damontae Kazee, he’s a headache waiting to happen,” Collinsworth said. “That is a dynamic player, and we all know Keanu Neal and those guys back there, but if they start getting stuck on trying to stop the run, Kazee is a force. That dude is a hitter.”
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