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Coordinators Offer Keys to Success in Week 7

While the sun didn't make much of an appearance in Atlanta on Tuesday, it did in fact rise and with it came a new opportunity for the Atlanta Falcons coaching staff to as head coach Mike Smith said Monday, "move forward and get prepared to put these guys in the best position that they possibly can be in."

Smith said that righting the ship ultimately falls on him, but that indeed it's a "shared responsibility," embraced by the players and his entire coaching staff, including its coordinators, who met with the media, following Tuesday's staff meeting.

Fittingly, the first phase of the media session was conducted by Falcons special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong, who said he plans to do a better job of putting his players in position to provide the Falcons with better starting field position on Sunday, facing a Baltimore Ravens team that, like the Falcons, has a potent return threat, WR Jacoby Jones.

"He's fast," Armstrong said. "He flat out can run and then, he's got the quickness of a little man. He can make you miss and boom, be gone. He can accelerate too, not only long speed, but he's quick; that's where he gets you."

Next to the microphones was Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, whose group was plagued in Week 6 by penalties, leading to a handful of third-and-long situations, which are converted less than 15 percent of the time, on average. In the coming week, Koetter's group will look to correct the miscues that prevent the offense from achieving the success it wants on early downs. 

The Atlanta Falcons are coming off a three-game losing streak and will be taking on the Baltimore Ravens away during Sunday's match-up. Keep an eye on these storylines heading into this week's game.

"Whether it's a run or a pass, we look at a 4-yard pass on 1st-and-10 as a win, anything less than that, you're behind the chains," Koetter said. "You'd love to be in 3rd-and-5 or less in a perfect world... You still have to take your downfield shots, sometimes which might involve a checkdown, sometimes not. It may be a max-protect, where it's all or nothing."

When Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan watched Sunday's game film, he saw his group's performance include three QB sacks, five TFLs (tackle for loss), six QB hurries and three PBUs; he also saw areas that need immediate correction, including the eight explosive plays his group allowed against the Chicago Bears; five of the plays came via the pass, costing the Falcons 197 yards.

To the average fan watching the explosive plays being made, they appear to be the fault of the final player making the tackle; that's not the case. Nolan said each of the 11 defenders needs to communicate and collectively impact the play.

"Everybody has a piece of this," Nolan said. "The pressure on every play, on an explosive play in particular, and one where he (QB) can throw it that far down the field, you want to make sure you get near the quarterback, so that you can minimize those opportunities.... There are 11 guys out there, somebody has a chance to affect it (the play) in a positive way."

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