Fox Sports analyst Charles Davis will handle the Rams (3-3) and Falcons (1-5) game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Here’s what Davis said in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday:
Q: Are you surprised by the Falcons’ 1-5 start?
A: “My major shock is defensively, the struggles that they are having. The head coach went all-in to be the DC. He’s a pass-rush specialist and they are not getting much in that (area). I think there was the thought that a lot of guys would come back to the numbers that we’d seen before i.e. Vic Beasley. We haven’t seen that so far yet. Just their struggles in stopping people. It was big news last week when they had the three straight stops, but that was following five straight scoring drives given up. That’s been a big surprise that it’s happened in that way. I really don’t have a great answer for it. I still have some more work to do and obviously, I’ll meet with them. But I’m as surprised as anyone.”
Q: As an old defensive back, it has to be hard watching the secondary. Why are a lot of teams completing deep passes over the zones?
A: “The number of explosives, the number of big plays, that’s a major surprise. You just don’t expect that especially with the style of defense that they have installed. That doesn’t usually lend itself to those kind of plays happening. When you think about Seattle, a lot of stuff stayed in front and you had a free safety that cleaned up things back there. You are just not seeing that. It’s a surprise. I don’t know how to put it. I don’t know how else to put it. I’m absolutely, surprised by the whole thing. You couple it with a lack of a pass rush as well, that’s a tough task for everyone.”
Q: How’s the offense performing?
A: “The offense is still the offense. Although I think, running it, I think they’d like to run it more. I do know that Dirk Koetter has talked about certain running plays that have turned into pass plays off the RPOS or the smoke routes and things of that nature. Which makes sense. But I do think they’d like to run it with a little more efficiency in terms of being consistent running. (Running back Devonta) Freeman ran it better last week and that’s what you want to see. But for the season they are 29th (73.5 per game). That’s not expected. Of course some of that is the guys up front. When you look at it, the only lost is (right guard Chris) Lindstrom. Every one else was expected to be there and they are there playing.”
Q: How do you explain them trailing by double-digits in four games at the half?
A: “That’s kind of crazy. You don’t expect to see that. Not those kind of numbers. The whole season is a major anomaly to me. That’s the best way to put it. There is just now way that I saw this coming. I thought they would be pressing New Orleans for the division lead right now. This is just, I just really don’t have a great explanation for it. There was a clunker in the opener, that’s OK because Minnesota is pretty good. They came back and beat the Eagles even though it wasn’t a great performance. I thought OK, they are starting to get it together. The Tennessee game was when you had the major alarm, ‘like what the heck is going on here?’ They just have not been able to find their way and find their footing so far.”
Q: Any chance they can rebound from the 1-5 start to make the playoffs? (The 2018 Colts, the 2015 Chiefs and 1970 Bengals are the only other teams to do that since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.)
A: “Well, the 1970 Bengals, that was Paul Brown with the Bengals. That was Virgil Carter playing quarterback…There aren’t many examples of it, but all they can do is give it a shot. Frankly, this is a Rams team that we didn’t expect to be a 3-3 either. They are coming in beat up. They’ve got a lot of injuries. This is a huge game for both sides for so many different reasons. If Atlanta wants to keep any hope alive, they have to win it. The Rams are trying to right the ship. Three and three isn’t miserable, but when you’ve lost three straight, one to Seattle and to San Francisco within their own division, yeah, this is a big game for them as well.”
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