FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Seemingly everyone has an opinion on what has gone wrong for the Falcons (3-3) during their three-game skid, but the team and coaching staff are taking steps to correct some of the issues they've seen. Coach Dan Quinn said during his Monday press conference that they would be adding additional third-down and red-zone periods to practices moving forward to help in those key areas.
Today's Early Bird Report includes some more analysis on what happened Sunday night as well as a plea for Steve Sarkisian to move back to the sideline.
FALCONS HEADLINES FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY
ESPN.com: What changed in Super Bowl rematch, and why Falcons are in trouble
For those who want something to blame for the Falcons' performance against the Patriots, ESPN's Bill Barnwell has a few things he believes fans can point to. The first, a lack of an interior pass rush. Atlanta generated some good pressure on the exterior, but Tom Brady was too often able to step up into the pocket where there was much less pressure. The second issue for the Falcons was their inability to stop the run, Barnwell says. Atlanta also negated a rare mistake from Brady with a roughing the passer call, which helped keep a Patriots' scoring drive alive. Barnwell's final two points were sub-par performances from Matt Ryan and the Falcons' kicking game.
*Sports Illustrated: *Falcons need Steve Sarkisian back on sideline
Falcons offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has spent the past two games up in the press box, but former NFL running back Tiki Barber told *Sports Illustrated Now *that it might be time for him to move back down to the sideline.
"I don't know if you take (the play-calling) out of his hands, but you do have to get him back on the sideline," Barber said on the show. "If you remember in the preseason, they were debating – are you going to be in the press box, or are you going to be on the sideline? Now, I have some experience with this in my playing years. John Hufnagel was our offensive coordinator; he used to sit in the box, and I remember there would be games where things would be happening on the field that the energy is just different down there. You've been in press boxes and you've been off of the field, it's chiller, right? It's quieter. You can't really feel the energy or the urgency of a quarterback or wide receiver or running back, whoever, telling you what's happening: 'This is what they're trying to do, let's adjust and do this.' If you're in the press box you don't feel that, and so getting him back on the sideline is the first thing they have to do."
NEWS ON THE FALCONS' OPPONENT: New York Jets
ESPN.com: Plenty of bad performances, but how 'bout those rookie safeties?
ESPN staff writer Rich Cimini published his stock watch of the New York Jets early Monday morning and he's very high on the team's rookie safeties. Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye had several plays in the Jets' loss to the Dolphins. Adams registered a sack and tipped a pass that was then intercepted, while Maye snagged his second interception of the season. Also on Cimini's "risers" list are defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and running back Matt Forte. The four "fallers" for Cimini are cornerback Buster Skrine, quarterback Josh McCown, receiver Robby Anderson and the offensive line.
BIGGEST NEWS FROM AROUND THE NFC SOUTH
*The Charlotte Observer: *Panthers coach Ron Rivera gives unequivocal answer on OC Mike Shula
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera was asked about his offensive coordinator, Mike Shula, on Monday, after his team failed to score more than three points against the Chicago Bears. According to Joseph Person of *The Charlotte-Observer, *Rivera gave Shula his vote of confidence.
"I'm happy with what we're doing," Rivera said of Shula, according to Person. "Again, just watch the game and see what's happening. OK?" Rivera said. "But I'm happy with what we're doing."
*The Times-Picayune: *Saints' confidence shows in win against the Packers
After a slow start to the season, the New Orleans Saints are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the NFL. The confidence they've gained in recent weeks helped them stay calm after falling behind early against the Packers, according to Amos Morale III of The Times-Picayune*. *
"When things don't happen your way, you don't panic," Saints running back Mark Ingram said, according to Morale. "You stay even-keel and you weather the storm and you just stay with that belief that no matter what happens throughout the game that you are going to get this done.
"And I think that's what we have as a team right now."
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