Sunday, October 27, 2013
Locker Room Buzz: Atlanta Falcons
By Vaughn McClure
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Observed in the locker room after the Atlanta Falcons' 27-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday:
No rush: Steven Jackson, in a burgundy sport coat, was dressed to impress following Sunday’s game. But during the action, he was all dressed up with nowhere to go after rushing for just 6 yards on 11 carries in his return from a hamstring injury suffered in Week 2. "It was tough sledding today," Jackson said. "The Arizona defense came out there, did a really good job against the run. Definitely not the production that I wanted to see out of myself."
Big-play problem: There were a lot of long faces in the locker room, and the defensive players seemed to be sulking a little more after surrendering an 80-yard touchdown run to Cardinals running back Andre Ellington. "Leverage is the name of the game," safety William Moore said. "You’ve got to hold leverage. He got outside the defense, and that’s it." Ellington finished with 154 rushing yards on 15 carries. The Falcons also surrendered a 51-yard pass play.
In the rotation: Starting defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux was not on the field for Ellington’s touchdown run. Neither was fellow veteran Osi Umenyiora, the starter at right defensive end. True, the Falcons have been using a rotation along the defensive line while working in young players, but the move seemed a little curious at the time. "You know, we have our rotation on the D-line. I just wasn’t in that series," Babineaux said.
Protection issues: Being behind forced Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan to attempt a career-high 61 passes. The high number of dropbacks meant more opportunities for Ryan to get hit, of course. He was sacked four times, and the Cardinals were credited with 11 quarterback hits. Asked if the offensive line took those stats personally, left tackle Lamar Holmes responded, "You’ve got to. Once we go back and watch the film, we need to see just exactly what happened. We just have to come to practice and work on things that seem to break down."