Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver had a rocky debut as a NFL starter against the Vikings on Sunday.
While in man-to-man coverage, he gave up a touchdown catch to the crafty Adam Thielen and then was called for defensive pass interference in the second quarter during the drive that ended with Minnesota taking a 21-0 lead.
Oliver finished with one tackle.
“I like teaching,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “For him, there were some good learning opportunities. How do you defend that one when he’s gaining separation on you?”
Also, on the touchdown pass, Thielen appeared to lean into Oliver and then run in the opposite direction to get open. If Oliver would have stayed on Thielen’s top shoulder he would not have been bumped out of the play.
He made a near save with a dive, but could stop Thielen, who scored 23 yards out.
The Falcons’ wide receivers are helping Oliver, who’s in his second season in the NFL and is taking over for Robert Alford at right cornerback.
“They work hard making the (highlight tapes) of the players they are playing against,” Quinn said. “Then during the week, a lot of the receivers will try to do that. This is what (Alshon) Jeffery likes best.”
Quinn likes for the defensive backs to look at receivers going against man-to-man coverages. When they are going against zone coverages, they are just working to get to an area where they can defeat the zone.
“In man-to-man, you’re trying to beat the person,” Quinn said. “So, in zone, the routes can feel a little bit different. When you are studying a guy, you want to see him in man to man.”
Oliver has been studying the Eagles receivers and getting help from the Falcons receivers in practice.
“Going against our receiving corps is obviously going to help you a lot,” Oliver said. “Going into the games, we have a lot of good receivers on this team. Every day at practice there is something you can learn going against Julio (Jones), (Calvin) Ridley and (Mohamed) Sanu, all of those guys.”
Jeffery, DeSean Jackson and Nelson Agholor are the Eagles’ top wide receivers.
“Alshon Jeffery is obviously a bigger guy,” Oliver said. “He’s not as fast down the field as the other guys on that team. But a bigger guy, stronger guy. Real physical at the line of scrimmage. Physical at the top of the route. Big catch radius. Doesn’t need the ball thrown that well for him to catch. He can kind of go get it wherever.”
Jackson caught touchdown passes of 51 and 53 yards in the Eagles’ come-from-behind 32-27 victory over the Redskins on Sunday.
“DeSean Jackson, he’s the fastest dude on the field,” Oliver said. “We have a good idea about what they like and how they like to get those guys the ball.”
Agholor caught two of five targets for 11 yards against the Redskins.
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