Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been very clear all week about which areas on offense, defense and special teams have to be improved before Sunday's road contest in Baltimore. Among the most noteworthy corrections on defense involves limiting explosive plays, which plagued the Falcons in Week 6.
One week after facing Chicago Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, the Falcons secondary will be again tested by an explosive Ravens wide receiving corps, headlined by Steve Smith's 35 receptions for 573 yards (16.4 avg) and four touchdowns, including an 80-yard score, and WR Torrey Smith, who has 15 receptions for 227 yards (15.1 avg) and three touchdowns in 2014.
Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said Steve Smith's explosiveness and competitiveness are his biggest strengths, admitting "age does not seem to have caught up with him yet." Regarding Torrey Smith, Nolan instantly recalled the short slant the Ravens WR "took to the house against us three years ago in the preseason," leading to strict game-planning this week.
The entire Falcons coaching staff has said it needs to do a better job setting up the players for success; Nolan said for him personally, it starts with his ability to inspire his players with a plan that makes them believe "this is going to make me shine; I'm going to play well," beginning in the meeting room and carrying over onto the field.
"Every play, you have to communicate before the play begins to be on the same page," Nolan said. "You have a call in the huddle, coming out of the huddle, you confirm the call that was given, so when the ball is snapped, you hope to be on the same page."