Thursday, November 1, 2012
The Other Side: Darryl Ledbetter
By Calvin Watkins
This week's version of The Other Side takes us to Atlanta where we speak with Darryl Ledbetter, who covers the Falcons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Here's DLed's views on the Falcons.
Q: The Falcons are outstanding at home, why? Is it the crowd, or just the Falcons have focused on being good there?
A: Under head coach Mike Smith, the Falcons made it a point of emphasis to dominate at the Dome. They have been successful in part because of quarterback Matt Ryan’s ability to pull out games late. The crowd has played a role in the ascent and has been known to force a procedure penalty or two.
Q: Matt Ryan doesn't have a playoff victory, 0-3, no matter what he does this season is he getting judged on that alone?
A: Not really, I think can see that he’s improving in the regular season as the offense has shifted to more of a pass-oriented attack under new coordinator Dirk Koetter. He is flourishing as his numbers suggests. His continued improvement should serve him well in any future playoff games.
Q: The Falcons are undefeated, is this a big deal down there?
A: Yes, along with the fact that Georgia has a path to the BCS title game. Football -- Professional and Collegiate – is still king in the Peach State.
Q: How are the Falcons corners, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel playing?
A: Both are thriving in coordinator Mike Nolan’s scheme. Robinson is attacking more and playing more man to man, which fits his skill set better. Teams have stayed away from Samuel. His skills don’t seem to have diminished at all and he’s even coming up in run support.
Q: This appears to be Tony Gonzalez's last season. How has he played?
A: He has been phenomenal. Because of the wide outs, most teams have tried to single cover Gonzalez and he’s made them pay. With four more catches, he will have 50 catches for the season, marking the 15th straight season he’s caught at least 50 passes. As a rookie in 1997, he caught 33 passes. He caught 59 in 1998 and he had a career-high 102 catches in 2004.