The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter is in Seattle and joins Noah Coslov to compare this year’s start to last year’s and get into how the Falcons will attack the Seahawks’ defense on Sunday.
Good morning from Seattle! The Cover 9@9 is a weekly blog of everything you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons, we published 9 items at 9 a.m. each Wednesday morning.
1. SHOW SCHRAEDER THE MONEY: The game against the Denver Broncos and Super Bowl most valuable player Von Miller was a big one for Falcons right tackle Ryan Schraeder.
The former undrafted player from Valdosta State took a major step forward to earning a long-term contract with the Falcons.
Schraeder, who battled Miller and held him to one sack and four hurries, showed his worthiness against top-flight competition.
“It was a good battle,” Schraeder said. “He’s a good player. I felt good all day. He threw that spin move on me. He had a good move, but I felt good about what we did as a unit. Coming out, I felt we ran the ball well at times. We protected really well overall. I felt really good coming out of it.”
Schraeder, 28, signed a one-year $2.553 million contract last season after the Falcons placed a second-round tender on him.
It’s going to cost some cash to lock up Schraeder.
Philadelphia signed right tackle Lane Johnson to a five-year, $56.2 million deal in 2016. Kansas City signed right tackle Mitchell Schwartz to a five-year, $33 million deal and San Diego signed right tackle Joe Barksdale to four-year $22.2 million deal.
Schraeder was signed in 2013 and has started 35 games over four seasons. He’s played in 47 games.
The name of the game in the NFL is to get young players for cheap, but it doesn’t make sense to not reward those players after the team has invested in their development.
Schraeder knew it was a big day in Denver and he’ll have another big challenge in Seattle’s Michael Bennett on Sunday.
2. MATTHEWS UPDATE: Falcons left tackle Jake Matthews believes the team is just getting started
on a big run.
“There’s still more that we can get better at, that’s the exciting part,” Matthews said. “We just have to continue doing that.”
3. TAMME’S FANTASY UPDATE: Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme nearly scored on the Falcons first possession against Denver.
“I wish I would have been about three inches back when I caught that ball, but Devonta (Freeman’s) fantasy owners will be pleased with me,” Tamme quipped. “They’ll be happy. That was a big drive. We wanted to (play Denver) and compete. Show what we are about. That first drive really set a big tone for us.”
4. VIEW FROM THE SECONDARY: Right cornerback Desmond Trufant is excited about the defense’s improving pass rush, which netted six sacks against Denver.
“They were hunting up front,” Trufant said. “They did a great job. The defense as a whole that was probably our best game. We just have to keep building on what we did.”
Defensive end Dwight Freeney talked about pass defense being synced up. He pointed out you need the rush from the middle and the outside to go along with the coverage from the secondary.
“I’m so excited,” Trufant said. “That’s how it’s supposed to be. We’ve got great talent up front and great talent on the back end. It’s like the first time that we put it all together and showed what we can do. We just have to keep staying consistent with it.”
5. PRACTICE SQUAD MOVE: The Falcons added linebacker David Tull, who played at Chattanooga, to the practice squad on Tuesday.
Left-footed punter Michael Palardy was released to make room.
Tull, who a three-time Southern Conference defensive player of the year, had a tryout with the Falcons on Sept. 20.
With punter Matt Bosher nursing a right hamstring injury last week, the Falcons signed Palardy to the practice squad.
Parlardy handled punts, field goals and kickoffs as a senior at the University of Tennessee in 2013. Coaches voted Palardy second-team All-SEC as a kicker that season.
6. FALCONS LEGIT: Our Michael Cunningham handle’s the AJC’s power rankings. He has the Falcons up to No. 7. “I don’t care that the Broncos had at Paxton Lynch at QB. It’s impressive that the Falcons went to Mile High and put that D on skates.”
7. REPEAT OF LAST YEAR: Some folks are not getting riled up about the Falcons. They know the Falcons went 5-0 and 6-1 last season before falling off a cliff and finishing 8-8. Cunningham tells us why this year’s team is different.
8. TALE OF THE TAPE: Here are some numbers to ponder:
9. DEPTH CHART: Falcons linebackers De’Vondre Campbell (ankle), Deion Jones (ankle) and Paul Worrilow (groin) are set to return to practice on Wednesday coach Dan Quinn said on Monday.
“We are going to start practicing them on Wednesday,” Quinn said. “They were able to do a good participation in the run today as opposed to walk-throughs, which they did last week. They’ll participate in practice on Wednesday. Then, we’re going to take them all the way through the week….we’re going to take all the time that we need to determine if they can help us over the weekend.”
(The team calls it an ‘unofficial’ depth chart. But if they are releasing it, for our purposes that makes it pretty official.)
ATLANTA FALCONS’ DEPTH CHART
WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 14 Eric Weems
LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton
LG 67 Andy Levitre, 68 Mike Person
C 51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland
RG 65 Chris Chester, 71 Wes Schweitzer
RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 76 Tom Compton
TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Levine Toilolo, 82 Joshua Perkins
WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 19 Aldrick Robinson, 18 Taylor Gabriel
QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub
RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman
FB 42 Patrick DiMarco
DE 50 Brooks Reed, 99 Adrian Clayborn, 93 Dwight Freeney
DT 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 90 Derrick Shelby
DT 97 Grady Jarrett 91, Courtney Upshaw
DE 94 Tyson Jackson, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman
LB 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 41 Philip Wheeler
LB 45 Deion Jones 55, Paul Worrilow, 53 LaRoy Reynolds
LB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 54 A.J. Hawk
CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 32 Jalen Collins
CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 34 Brian Poole
S 37 Ricardo Allen, 27 Robenson Therezie
S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 38 Dashon Goldson
K 3 Matt Bryant
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher
KR 26 Tevin Coleman, 14 Eric Weems
PR 14 Eric Weems, 16 Justin Hardy
LS 47 Josh Harris
H 5 Matt Bosher
GAME FIVE: Falcons 23, Broncos 16
GAME FOUR: Falcons 48, Panthers 33
GAME THREE: Falcons 45, Saints 32
GAME TWO: Falcons 35, Raiders 28
GAME ONE: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24