Last year, the secondary for the Atlanta Falcons looked awful. Seriously, I think any of the local high school corners could have played better than the starters for the Dirty Birds. Well, I have to admit, so far it looks like a whole new secondary.
Five interceptions in two games is nothing to sneeze at. Three of those coming against Peyton Manning – who had played an incredible game the week before – was even better.
Truth be told, this looks almost nothing like the Falcons from last year. A wide open offense, an aggressive defense that’s playing with swagger – and the CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco described as “scary” – and a solid special teams means that this could be a very different year.
In the off season, there was a significant shake up on the ‘Bird’s coaching staff. It was needed, with Mike Smith still at the helm, but I still had concerns. A new coaching staff always makes me nervous. So far though, color me convinced.
Week one was clearly not a test. Kansas City lacks that real quality quarterback that could have made it one. Denver was a test, and the Falcons passed with flying colors. While many are criticizing Manning for those three picks, take a look at them for a moment. While they may not have been the best passes, it’s not like he just threw to the wrong jersey either. Those picks came from aggressive secondary play.
Another test comes this week against San Diego. Phillip Rivers is good. Very good. Another two or three picks this week may well change the content of conversations around the league. Rivers doesn’t have any rust like some content Manning must have. He’s also a much better quarterback than Matt Cassel. The secondary taking care of business again would enforce the idea that Atlanta’s defense really is “scary”.
As for the offensive side of the ball, we’re not seeing a lot of production out of Turner, and that has me concerned. However, improved pass protection and nice production out of Ryan are making up for it. The truth is, Michael Turner is one of the elite backs in the league, and there’s little doubt he’ll find his niche just fine. When that happens, I can’t help but feel a little pity for the defenses the Falcons will come up against. Not much though.
Two games in, it’s a much different season. I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Joe Sanchez (not his real name) is a lifelong Albany resident who knows how insane his friends and neighbors get about sports.