Falcons Daily Links: October 31, 2012

Rich Schultz

Your daily collection of Falcons and NFL news and notes from around the Web.

Good morning, everyone. My name is Andrew Hirsh, and I’m the newest writer here at The Falcoholic. Starting today, I’ll be bringing you daily collections of links pertaining to the Falcons and the rest of the NFL, with some of my own thoughts sprinkled in as well.

A little about myself: I spent the first few years of my life in Georgia and have been a Falcons fan as far back as I can remember. I currently reside in North Carolina, where I work as a credentialed member of the Carolina Hurricanes media. I also founded Sunbelt Hockey Journal, a site that puts hockey throughout the southern United States into focus.

You can follow me on Twitter, if you’d like.

Now, back to football. Sunday was easily Atlanta’s biggest win of the season thus far, and beating Mike Vick in the process only makes it that much sweeter. Given that the Eagles (despite their record) are a solid football team, this victory goes a long way towards proving that the Falcons’ success is a product of their talented roster—rather than an easy schedule.

I still find it somewhat baffling that Philadelphia was favored in this one, but nevertheless, it seems like the masses are coming around to the idea that Atlanta is an elite football club.

Sifting through some of the more popular power rankings—including ESPN, CBS and Fox Sports—it appears that our Birds have solidified themselves at the top of the NFL totem pole heading into Week 9. I could be wrong, but I don't believe the Falcons have ever garnered this much respect during the regular season in franchise history. While the opinions of the media and fans are ultimately pointless, it does feel nice to receive this kind of recognition.

And on that note, I present to you today's Falcons news:

Weatherspoon Uncertain Against Cowboys As you may have heard, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon’s injury has been deemed a "minor low ankle sprain," which he suffered in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Given the fact that he was carted off the field, it’s quite a relief to know that he won’t have to miss a significant amount of time—if any at all. For now he’s considered "uncertain" to play versus the Cowboys, according to Coach Smith. While the University of Missouri product is our best defensive player right now, I’m not all that worried about his potential short-term absence. With Mike Nolan running our defense so effectively, the likes of Stephen Nicholas, Akeem Dent and Mike Peterson should be able to compensate for the loss of Spoon if he can’t suit up against Dallas.

Falcons Used "Big Tackle Three" to Stop Eagles' Run Game The Falcons were able to remedy their run-stopping woes on Sunday by implementing a "Big Tackle Three" scheme in rushing situations. Jonathan Babineaux, Vance Walker, Peria Jerry and Corey Peters cycled through those slots—three playing at a time—and effectively shut down the talented LeSean McCoy—holding Philly to just 92 total rushing yards. That’s a nice improvement from what we saw over the first six weeks, in which Atlanta surrendered an average of 143.8 yards per game on the ground.

Source: Vick Still Eagles Starter It looks like our former quarterback Mike Vick may not be the top dog in Philadelphia much longer. The rumor mill has been swirling this week in the City of Brotherly Love, and many believe Andy Reid could be ready to put rookie Nick Foles under center in lieu of No. 7. While Vick will likely get the nod next Sunday against the Saints, he'll certainly be on a tight leash, so to speak.

Statistical Superlative on the Falcons Pat Yasinskas over at ESPN posted some thought provoking numbers on the Birds following Sunday's game. My personal favorite: Atlanta completed nine of 10 screen pass attempts against Philly, gaining 84 yards and a touchdown. With lightning-fast guys like Julio Jones and JaQuizz Rogers at Matt Ryan’s disposal, there’s no reason not to implement a heavy dose of screen passes into the offense’s repertoire. Kudos to Dirk Koetter for finally making this happen, and I think I speak for Falcons fans everywhere when I say that I hope it continues.

Matt Ryan's Family Hid Their Falcons Colors in Fear of Raucous Eagles Fans Sunday’s win had some extra significance for Matt Ryan, who grew up about an hour from Lincoln Financial Field in Exton, Pennsylvania. For the first time in his career, Ryan was able to celebrate a win in Philadelphia, having lost his first two matchups at The Linc. As always, a large contingency of Ryan’s family and friends were on hand in Philadelphia.


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