Moore has one eye on Ferguson, other on the defense

Falcons safety William Moore has been keeping one eye on the developments in Ferguson, Mo. and the other on the blending together of the team’s revamped defense.

“Definitely, that’s where I grew up at in Ferguson,” said Moore, who played in college at Missouri, after practice on Monday. “I’ve got a lot of family there and a lot of friends… . I’ve also talked to them.

“What’s going to be done is going to be done. I wish (the Brown) family the best and I pray for all of them.”

Moore spent his later years in Hayti, Mo., before going on to star with the Tigers.

At the back end of the defense as the strong safety, Moore has a different vantage point of the Falcons’ retooling efforts.

It could be telling that he’s not alarmed by the first-team defense giving up two long touchdown drives in each of the exhibition games.

The Falcons had several questions coming into this training camp and have done very little to show that they’ll be able to stop the run or rush the passer.

While some see those outings as some trash graffiti effort, Moore sees a Rembrandt being crafted by defensive coordinator Mike Nolan.

“Back there in the secondary, we are gaining chemistry between me, (free safety) Dwight (Lowery) and the corners,” Moore said.

You can’t blame Moore for having the utmost faith in Nolan.

In his first season under Nolan in 2012, Moore played well enough to earn Pro Bowl status as an alternate.

Moore believes that all of the moves will start fitting together soon. He expects the unit to try to pull it all together against Tennessee in their third exhibition game at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome.

Moore plans to do his part.

“From a defensive standpoint, it comes down to setting the tone,” Moore said. “I’m the veteran in that back group, so I’ve got to set the tone for the games and from here on out.”

The Falcons spent a lot of money in free agency to re-construct the defensive line. Defensive tackle Paul Soliai was lured from Miami with a $33 million contract and defensive end Tyson Jackson was signed for $25 million after playing five seasons in Kansas City.

While the results have not been identifiable in the exhibition season, Moore lauds the additions.

“Paul does things that people don’t see like clog the hole up for a linebacker to scrap through,” Moore said. “That’s what we brought Paul in to do. He and Tyson do an excellent job of that. They are run-stop guys.”

The Falcons ranked 31st against the run last season.

If the Falcons can stop the run, they believe that will aid the pass-rush. Moore said the Falcons will rely heavily on their scheme to create pressure and won’t be shy about blitzing.

“The way our defense is set up, we bring safeties, we bring linebackers, it’s no secret, we bring corners,” Moore said. “We bring it all.”

The Falcons were tied for second-to-last in the NFL with only 32 sacks last season. They also had an NFL-low 19.3 pass-rush productivity grade with a four-man rush, according to profootballfocus.com.

Moore is not discounting what the defensive line can contribute to the pass rush.

“We brought Paul and Tyson in to stuff the middle, but we also have Osi (Umenyiora) on the outside,” Moore said. “We have (Jonathan Babineaux) who can play everything on the defensive line.”

Moore is also counting on getting a boost from young ends Jonathan Massaquoi and Malliciah Goodman. Massaquoi had a strong training camp and Goodman was cited by Nolan as a player to watch.

“They are going to give us a good pass rush,” Moore said.

The Falcons plan to play a rotation of six to eight players along the defensive line and were elated to get defensive tackle Corey Peters back from his Achilles surgery on Monday.

Now, Moore just hoped things calm down in his former home town and the defense can crank up its efforts.

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