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Early Bird Report: Falcons' approach to cutting down penalties; the offensive connection in Carolina

Dan Quinn, Head Coach

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Today’s Early Bird Report includes the Falcons looking to cut down on their penalties as well as the budding connection between Cam Newton and Norv Turner.

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The Falcons racked up 15 penalties in their season opener against the Eagles, which were the most by any team in the league in Week 1.

Suffice it to say Falcons coach Dan Quinn wants to see that number drop moving forward, and he was actually a little caught off guard that his team was penalized so often.

“I was surprised we had so many, to be honest with you,” Quinn said on Monday.

D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution caught up with Grady Jarrett on Monday and discussed the penalty he received for driving Nick Foles into the ground with his entire body weight during a sack that occurred in the end zone in the second quarter. The penalty gave the Eagles a first down and some breathing room.

“I don’t know what else I could do,” Jarrett told Ledbetter.

That version of the roughing-the-passer penalty is an addition to the rule book for this season, and it seems to have caused a bit of confusion around the league.

“When you go back to look at them, the one with Grady that’s one that they’re now calling,” Quinn said. “So, the hit on the quarterback, Grady and I just had that conversation, we’ve got to get a way so they can hit and at the last second, move. It’s going to be challenging when you’re going full speed one way and hitting, and how do I change and get off course.”

Here are some other articles for Falcons fans to check out today:

ESPN: Matt Ryan needs to help Falcons regain offensive swagger

Much has already been said of the Falcons’ offensive performance on Thursday night, and we don’t have to go into more detail on that here, but ESPN’s Vaughn McClure believes it’s quarterback Matt Ryan who needs to help the offense bounce back. Ryan did not have his typical performance in Week 1, but he’s confident they can change that moving forward.

"I really believe we're going to make those plays as we move forward," Ryan said. "It just comes down to making a play here or there. And I think when we get those changes again, we're going to come up with those plays. But we're going to continue to work at it and practice it. I think we are closer. We're disappointed that we didn't make those plays tonight. But I'm confident that we're going to make them moving forward."

MMQB: Cam Newton and Norv Turner off to a promising start

The Falcons have faced Cam Newton many times before, but they haven’t faced a Panthers offense engineered by Norv Turner. Carolina’s new offensive coordinator has drawn praise from Newton, and they helped lead the Panthers to a 16-8 win over the Cowboys in Week 1. Jonathan Jones of Monday Morning Quarterback wrote about the connection between Newton and Turner, a connection the Falcons will face on Sunday.

“I felt extremely comfortable with what he was doing,” Newton said of Turner, according to Joseph. “I understood the gameplan going into it. It’s still kind of give and take, knowing how he calls, the preparation process throughout the whole week. This was the first week that we really had to hone in.”

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