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Winning season top of mind for Falcons players


"When I was in high school refereeing for little kids, 8 year olds, I saw this kid throwing darts," Redman said. "… I knew he'd be something good."
Nonetheless, Redman said grasping a new offense in a short amount of time is not easy.

"If [the offense] is similar it's not as hard, but it's still -- at any point -- to step in there and make your first NFL start, it's not going to be easy. We'll see what happens."

Fewell said the offense was not greatly similar to what Brohm's former team, Green Bay, ran and that the quarterback would have to do any translating of terminology from the Packers to the Bills on his own.

While the Falcons have had their own injury issues at quarterback, Head Coach Mike Smith said the fact Matt Ryan did not practice Wednesday had nothing to do with a possible setback of his injured right big toe.

Smith said the team planned to give Ryan the day off, knowing he would be sore if he played last week. One factor the Falcons must be mindful of against the Bills is Buffalo leads the NFL with 26 interceptions.

Fewell, who was the team's defensive coordinator before taking over for Jauron, is a former defensive backs coach and Smith credited him for instituting an "opportunistic" style that creates turnovers.

However, against the run -- statistically, any way -- the Bills would appear vulnerable.

They rank 32nd in the NFL in that category, allowing 165.6 yards per game.

Regardless, the Bills have some personnel who are top run defenders, including long-time Jacksonville defensive tackle Marcus Stroud, the University of Georgia product who played for Smith when he was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator.

Stroud, who is listed at 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, was a part of some strong Jacksonville defenses.

"He's a very, very big man," Smith said. "He's played a lot of good football in his career… You don't move him off the line of scrimmage. You don't move him out of the hole. You're going to have to get four hands on him because he's going to do something that's going to require two blockers."

This season the Bills have been victimized for some long runs, which is one factor in their poor statistical showing. Falcons right tackle Tyson Clabo said he thinks that unit has been affected by an offensive that keeps the ball for an average of only 27:19 per game.

"Well, I'll say this: when you're on the field all game long because of your struggles on the other side of the ball, it makes it very difficult to play at a high level for the amount of time that you're out there," Clabo said. "Time of possession hasn't been in their favor. It's difficult to hold up against the run in that situation... We see the talent on that defensive front…

"They're a good defense. I would anticipate that they are going to show up and play. If you watch on tape they play hard -- kind of similar to how we try to play on offense. One of our points of emphasis is to play hard, to and through the whistle. You can tell they've been coached to do the same thing, so it should be an interesting match-up."

One factor that should affect the Falcons' running game is the availability of starter Michael Turner. Turner re-injured his sprained right ankle on the first play from scrimmage last week and did not return. He did not practice on Wednesday and on Thursday morning in an interview on 790 The Zone Smith indicated that Turner would probably not play.

With Turner rushing for 7 yards, the Falcons totaled 86 last week against the Jets, who entered with the NFL's top defense.

"One of the big things is going 9-7 and trying to be part of back-to-back [winning] teams," Ryan said. "… I think it would be a milestone for the Atlanta Falcons. So we're excited to have that opportunity."


SCOUTING REPORT:John Manasso breaks down some of the key points * GAMEDAY LIVE:Pregame information, stats and coverage from * FALCONCAST:J. Mike and Matt break down Sunday's game * GAME CENTER:Stats and more in the Game Center * MULTIMEDIA:Video interviews and more to get you ready for Sunday * QUOTABLE:Locker Room | Smith Monday | Smith Wednesday * INJURY REPORT:Falcons injury news presented by Piedmont Healthcare * J. MIKE'S MISSIVES:Falcons news and commentary from the editor * TIME MACHINE:Falcons have provided share of holiday memories * NOTES AND NUMBERS:Some key figures and notes for Falcons-Bills * EXPERT'S TAKE:Ira Kaufman talks about the Falcons, NFL standings * WHAT TO WATCH:Some key factors for Sunday's game to keep an eye on * GAME INFORMATION:Important fan information for the final home game of 2009 * PREVIEW PACK:Stats and other preview information from the communications staff (PDF)

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