The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s chats with CineSport’s Noah Coslov about the Josh Norman-Julio Jones matchup and the game plan to limit MVP favorite Cam Newton.
1. SURGERY AFTER SEASON?: Can’t imagine what a torn labrum feels like.
Certainly can’t imagine what playing football with one is like, but that’s what rookie defensive end Vic Beasley has been doing.
“He did have an injury to his shoulder way back in OTAs,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “He’s not missed anytime during training camp. He hasn’t missed anytime during the season. He missed a practice earlier this season because of a foot, but he’s been not limited in any way with his shoulder. He’s actually done a great job with it.”
Bealsey’s bid to get double-digit sacks as a rookie now has an asterisk next to it.
With the injury, Beasley had four pressures against Jacksonville. He has three sacks with two games to play.
2. JONES, FREEMAN TO THE PRO BOWL: Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s turning in a record-breaking season, and second-year running back Devonta Freeman were selected to Pro Bowl team on Tuesday.
Jones leads the league with 118 catches and 1,544 yards receiving. He also has seven touchdowns.
“He’s as professional as you get,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “He’s one of the best competitors I’ve ever been around.”
Freeman has combined to amass 1,450 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. He rushed for 907 yards on 218 carries and 10 touchdowns. He also has 68 catches for 543 yards and two touchdowns.
Freeman is the first Falcons running back since Michael Turner in 2010 to be named to the Pro Bowl.
In Week 5 against Washington, Freeman became the first player with eight or more rushing touchdowns in a team’s first five games of a season since LaDainian Tomlinson (nine) and Shaun Alexander (eight) in 2005.
After only rushing for 248 yards all last season, Freeman has more than tripled that amount this season.
3. CLAYBORN CORNER: Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was the highest graded defensive Falcon in Week 15, by profootballfocus.com. He was the eighth highest graded defensive tackle in the NFL.
4. JARRETT’S BRINGING IT: Rookie Grady Jarrett also had another good game. He was the 18th highest graded defensive tackle in Week 15. This was his fifth straight positively graded game.
Jarrett left the Jacksonville game with a shoulder injury. We should have an update today.
“We’re hoping he’ll be limited Wednesday with his shoulder,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “He’s as tough as you get so I would imagine if there’s a chance, he’s going to be ready to go Wednesday for practice. It would have to be something that would bother him quite a bit for him to be out.”
5. ISHMAEL BALLING OUT: Strong safety Kemal Ishmael, who replaced William Moore, had his second straight positively graded game. Over the last two weeks, he’s tied for the highest graded safety in the NFL.
6. TRUFANT LOOKING TO REBOUND: Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant was the lowest graded Falcon in Week 15. This was only his third negatively graded game in 2015. He allowed five receptions on six targets.
7. JULIO VS. JOSH: Falcons wide receiver Jones points out that this not a one-on-one matchup as Carolina cornerback Josh Norman gets help from safet in the Cover Two scheme
8. MIKE PERSON: Center Mike Person, who will need a strong game against the Panthers stout defensive tackles, had a strong game against Jacksonville. He had his highest graded game of 2015. He allowed just one quarterback hurry during this game and was third highest graded center during Week 15, according to profootballfocus.com.
9A. DEPTH CHART: Tyler Starr was placed behind O’Brien Schofield and Brooks Reed as the strongside linebacker on the depth charter. Starr played 16 snaps on special teams against the Jaguars. He didn’t play from scrimmage.
9C. MEET THE FALCONS CHEERLEADERS: Aleria