Defense Keeps Improving
Following Saturday's game, Ricardo Allen told AtlantaFalcons.com the defense took a big step forward over the last five games, adding that everyone's experience in the scheme has allowed them to "notice things faster" and communicate more effectively on the field. Head coach Dan Quinn offered a similar assessment on Monday.
"Over the last five or six games, I've felt that speed improve," Quinn said. "Honestly, the one thing I can really point to is our communication allows us to play faster. When those alerts happen, when we're communicating across the ball, it allows you to play that much faster, where I may have an idea that a play is coming or a formation, now I'm able to share it over to you, and you back to me. And so to have that accountability to each other has been really important.
"You have to go through some of that (adversity). You need the reps. Some of the things we struggled with early on, especially defensively, was that communication to make sure it could be on point. That part I think we're a lot closer to being who we can be."
Rodgers Presents 'Terrific Challenge'
On Sunday night, Green Bay pulled off the latest of many comeback victories during Aaron Rodgers' career. The veteran quarterback is playing some of the best football of his life, and given his knack for late-game heroics, the Falcons are preparing for a tight matchup that could go down to the wire.
"I think just through the years, there's been, in my own coaching against Green Bay, there's been a number of times where it totally comes right down to the finish," Quinn said. "So we expect that going in that it's going to come down right to the end. These kind of games usually do, and when they're evenly matched, two tough opponents, both teams battling for it. So we do expect it to go down to the end. (Rodgers) is one of the very best at that. For us, that's a terrific challenge."
OL Continuity Paying Off
As the FOX's broadcast team pointed out last weekend, the Falcons are the only team in the NFL to use the same starting five offensive linemen in every game this season. That consistency has helped the run blocking and pass protection reach new levels. And it made a big difference against a talented Seahawks front seven.
"As we go through it, I think it's been a real factor that we've been able to have these five guys line up at the same spot each week," Quinn said. "For us, that's been a significant factor. And we give Alex (Mack) a lot of credit, because he was new to this group, but also there's been a lot of improvement from our guards, (Chris) Chester and (Andy) Levitre, and then outside with (Ryan) Schraeder and (Jake) Matthews.
"Now a whole year in the offseason together, a whole training camp together, now through the season, you can imagine how all those reps, they accumulate. And the technique it gets sharper and sharper and sharper as you go. And we'll have a big emphasis on that again this week. … It's been an impressive group. You can see the connection they have for one another."