CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons points out the Chicago Bear defense before taking the snap at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Atlanta Falcons made a a major investment in their offense in this year’s draft when they sent five draft picks to the Browns for the right to move up and take Alabama WR Julio Jones. Given that they had the fifth highest scoring offense in the NFL last season and already employ one of the best WRs in the game in Roddy White, the Falcon offense was looking scary coming into the season. Week one, however, ended up as a disaster. Atlanta was blown out by the Bears in a game where they did not score an offensive touchdown, turned the ball over three times and had Matt Ryan sacked five times.
Despite their awful start, Eagles defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is still wary of the threat the Falcons pose, particularly future hall of fame TE Tony Gonzalez who needs just five catches to pass Terrell Owens for 6th place on the all time receptions list.
"Well, he’s a great player." said Castillo. "I remember I was coaching tight ends when Tony came out [of college]. And you know, he’s a Hispanic, too. So I know Tony, but there are different ways that people have dealt with him whether it’s double covering him, you know, but just making sure that you have a couple people on him."
Castillo even hinted that there was a chance they would assign Nnamdi Asomugha to cover Gonzalez on certain plays.
Also always a threat is the Falcons ability to run the ball with Michael Turner. Castillo was asked this week if the Eagles, who played a lot of nickel last week, would stick to their base defense more on Sunday night to defend against the threat of the run.
"It just depends on how we get going. You know what it is is people try to match up personnel. Now sometimes, we’ll play base versus, really versus anything, down and distance, or sometimes we’ll try to match it up. The thing is you want to be able to dictate, you know you don’t want the offense to dictate, too. So we want to be able to play base versus anything that they have and we’re capable of doing that."