break in thinking between locker rooms and executive offices

break in thinking between locker rooms and executive offices
01 pa 2017 - 10:27:25
The Atlanta Falcons have played only once in their new stadium, but already it might provide the greatest homefield advantage in the NFL. The designation has nothing to do with crowd noise, or mystique, or any factor other than the roof over their heads and the turf under their feet. Put the Falcons indoors, anywhere, and they become a force, probably the best team in the league.

Woe unto the Buffalo Bills, who will play the Falcons on Sunday at Mercedes Benz Stadium. The Falcons might be the fastest team in football, and playing indoors allows them to unleash their barrage of offensive weapons and their aggressive defense. They?ve built a team, not all by design, suited ideally for their home environment.

In their past 13 games playing indoors, the Falcons are 10 3. The stretch, as you might have heard, includes blowing a 28 3 lead in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. In those 13 games, they have cracked 40 points four times and scored at least 28 in every game. They have outscored opponents by an average score of 36 27 and gained at least 400 yards nine times. Those three losses have come by three points in overtime, one point and six points in overtime.

[Politics dominated Week 3 outside the lines. Inside them, there was some spectacular football]

When the Falcons hired Coach Dan Quinn early in 2015, team architects Thomas Dimitroff and Scott Pioli asked him a guiding question What do you need? He told them he needed fast defensive players to run his defensive scheme, the one he learned under Pete Carroll as Seattle?s defensive coordinator. With the Patriots, Dimitroff and Pioli had always gone for big, strong defenders. Bill Belichick wanted tanks. Quinn wanted race cars.

Quinn?s style happened to meld perfectly with playing indoors. The echoing noise gives pass rushers an edge, and the turf makes the sideline to sideline linebackers and safeties even faster. Atlanta has targeted the fastest players they can find in the draft. In the first two rounds in 2016, the Falcons took linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal. This year, they took Takk McKinley, who had the third fastest 40 yard dash time among defensive linemen at the combine, in the first round. They followed with linebacker Duke Riley, who had the fastest 40 time among linebackers aside from Jabrill Peppers, who is more of a hybrid player.

The Falcons became dominant and launched their NFC title run last season as the young, speedy defensive players gained a better feel for Quinn?s scheme. On offense, Matt Ryan?s precision and quick release blends with a variety of skill players. Devonta Freeman is a bulldozer. Julio Jones is a physical outlier among even other NFL players. Taylor Gabriel is one of the fastest receivers in football. Together, with Ryan pulling the trigger, they have been the highest rated offense in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

[Ravens anthem singer resigns]

Last year ended bitterly for the Falcons, but the start to their season suggests they could make it back to another Super Bowl, for another chance to finish the deal. If they chose to peak ahead, the Falcons would be comforted to know the location. The Super Bowl will be played in Minnesota, indoors, where the Falcons become the best team in football.

>>> Carolina Panthers players are upset with Owner Jerry Richardson and met with him Tuesday to discuss their concerns, Joe Person reports. Richardson, the only current owner to play in the league, was the 31st owner to release a statement in response to President Trump?s comments, and the statement seemed to suppress potential demonstration.

The frustration in the Panthers locker room suggests owners and players are probably not as unified as many wish to believe. The fact that Colin Kaepernick is not signed also shows a break in thinking between locker rooms and executive offices.

>>> In a major breakthrough, researchers took a major step toward being able to diagnose CTE among the living Jermaine Grace Jersey, as Rick Maese reports. ?This was the first finding of a really unique component in this disease compared to others and compared to controls, so yeah, it?s a eureka moment, but we don?t think it?s the end ,? Dr. Anne McKee said. ?We think it?s the beginning.?

>>> Giants Owner John Mara is ?very unhappy? with Odell Beckham after Beckham?s bad dog touchdown celebration, Mike Vaccaro reports. The Giants are terrible. Beckham is their best player, by far, but also the most frustrating.

>>> John Harbaugh doesn?t want to play in London again after the Ravens were blasted, 44 7, by the Jaguars on Sunday , Jonas Schaffer writes.

>>> Through three weeks, Chris Thompson has been one of the NFL?s most prolific offensive weapons. Thompson ranks fourth in the NFL ? behind only Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley and Dalvin Cook ? with 350 total yards. He ranks 14th in receiving yards, having gained more yards receiving than any running back and any non wideout other than Rob Gronkowski.



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