The Falcons’ secondary will be on the hot seat Sunday against Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who’ll be playing his second game since returning from a broken thumb. The teams meet at 1 p.m. at the Superdome in New Orleans.
The Falcons, who only have two interceptions on the season, have given up 261.1 yards passing per game, which ranks 23rd in the NFL. The secondary has allowed 17 touchdown passes (28th in the NFL), and the team has given up 31 plays of 20 yards or more (23rd).
Brees was sharp in his return against the Cardinals before the bye week. He completed 34 of 43 passes for 373 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
“Drew is such a phenomenal player,” Falcons defensive passing-game coordinator Jerome Henderson said. “You watch him and how he does everything. He’s so meticulous in his preparation. He has command of their offense and can get them in and out of trouble based on his information and time in the system.”
Brees guided the Saints to two victories over the Falcons last season.
“You can see him at the line of scrimmage identify looks, expose a defense and then take advantage of them,” Henderson said. “Moving guys around and doing that extra step to get the exact setup or match up that he wants, to manipulate the defense, it will be a tough challenge for us.”
While wide receiver Michael Thomas is the main target in the Saints’ passing attack, Brees spreads the ball around to his other weapons, too.
“It’s a big challenge, that’s how the Saints’ offenses have been so dominant over the years whatever guy they have at the time whether it is (Alvin) Kamara, Michael Thomas or Latavius Murray now,” Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver said. “They always have weapons. They just have a good system.”
The Falcons are hoping to cut down on their blown coverages.
“Everyone has to win their matchup and focus on what they have to do for that play and we’ll be good,” Oliver said.
Oliver, who is in his first season as a starter, said he’s getting more comfortable.
“It’s just little things that we have to keep working on and get better than we were the last week,” Oliver said. “Just keep on moving.”
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