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Falcons Flyover: December 7, 2012

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


Matt Ryan Off His Game Recently
While Matt Ryan has continued lead the Falcons to victory over the past few weeks, he hasn't exactly been playing the best football of his career. With seven interceptions in the last four games (five of which were against Arizona), the 27-year-old quarterback has struggled more than we've seen in quite some time.

But, in typical Matt Ryan fashion, he doesn't seem to be concerned.

"I don't worry too much about the statistics or those types of things," Ryan said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "We have to do a better job on third down. If we can convert third downs better, we'll have a better chance."

Going up against the worst pass defense in the NFL last week, Ryan threw for just 165 yards and a 54.5 completion percentage—both of which are season-lows for the five-year veteran. The Panthers, despite their record, are stronger against the pass than most people know—ranked eighth in the league. Still, Ryan through for 369 yards and three touchdowns against Carolina in Week 4.

"You're trying to find ways to be better," Ryan said. "I think we have target areas where we need to be more productive. I think our red-zone touchdown percentage can be better than what it is. That's an area that we've been striving to get better at."

Rodgers Could Take Lead for Falcons
With Michael Turner's productivity nose diving this season, the time will soon come for another running back to lead the Falcons offense. Could that man be Jacquizz Rodgers? Perhaps.

Coach Smith stated this week that the Oregon State product is capable of being the lead back if necessary.

"Jacquizz is one of many guys we feel like deserves to get touches on our offense," Mike Smith said. "If need be we think he can take carries that other guys may get in other games."

The one thing that could (and likely will) hold Rodgers back from taking on a starting role is his size. With a 5' 6'' frame, it's hard to imagine he could handle 20-plus carries a game without breaking down, which is unfortunate given his skill level. That said, there's no reason he can't succeed in a platoon situation, and I believe that's what we'll see down the stretch.

"I'm just making plays when I'm in there so my number can be called more often," Rodgers said. "That's the main thin, taking advantages of my small opportunities that I do have when I get the ball."

Rodgers has 274 yards on the ground thus far in 2012 with a 4.0 average.

Could NFL Get Rid of Kickoffs?
Word out of league headquarters yesterday is that Commissioner Roger Goodell is mulling over the idea of eliminating kickoffs. While this concept on its own is a radical one, it gets better.

"After a touchdown or field goal, instead of kicking off, a team would get the ball on its own 30-yard line, where it's fourth-and-15," TIME's Sean Gregory writes. "The options are either to go for it and try to retain possession or punt. If you go for it and fall short, of course, the opposing team would take over with good field position. In essence, a punt replaces the kickoffs."

As ridiculous as this may sound, it would certainly make close games more interesting in the fourth quarter.

Falcons Secondary Facing Injuries
While Atlanta, as a whole, is fairly healthy at this point and time, its secondary is pretty banged up.

Dunta Robinson and William Moore are both listed on this week's injury report. Samuel has been out all week since aggravating a shoulder ailment during the first series of last Thursday's game. Meanwhile, Moore, the reigning Defensive Player of the Week, missed his second straight day of practice on Thursday with a bum hamstring.

While the Panthers aren't a lethal passing team—16th in the league in that regard—the Falcons would be severely undermanned if neither Samuel nor Moore can suit up.

However, Atlanta isn't in a must-win situation right now, and resting hurt players makes more sense than forcing them into action.

Some Falcons players had a chance to respond to Greg Hardy's recent comments, and as expected, they took it in stride.

"What else is he going to say at this point? They haven’t won that many games," Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez told Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "And you know they are going to compete. They always compete.

"That’s part of the fun. That’s why we play the game. We have got to go out there and see if we can prove him wrong."

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