A busy Thursday of press opportunities gave us a few insights on the state of the Falcons heading into this weekend’s matchup against the Giants, and we’d be remiss to not jump right into them
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T.J. Green will be up Sunday
This is not the team’s words, but I’m reading between the lines here. The Falcons said, via Dean Pees, that Green is someone the Falcons planned to get in the game at corner and/or safety against the Buccaneers. With A.J. Terrell trending toward not playing due to a concussion and with Green having entered the game in his stead last Sunday, it’s logical to think he’s at least going to take on a major role against the Giants.
If the Falcons are excited about him and Green can hold down the fort capably, he’ll like maintain some kind of limited role once Terrell is back. Let’s hope he’s up to the task.
Dean Pees said TJ Green earned the right to go in and play on Sunday. It wasn't just because AJ Terrell got hurt and had to leave. Pees said they had packages together for Green at both safety and corner.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) September 23, 2021
Richie Grant may not play much
As I wrote in preseason, Grant looks like a critical special teams piece and has been used like one, being among the team leaders in special teams snaps. What he hasn’t had is a role on defense, which is frustrating when you’re talking about a talented second round pick.
Richie Grant will be a major factor on special teams even if he's not on defense this year— The Falcoholic (@TheFalcoholic) August 30, 2021
What gives? Per Pees, the team doesn’t feel he’s ready yet.
Asked Falcons DC Dean Pees about what Richie Grant needs to do to see the field, even rotationally:— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) September 23, 2021
"Just learn the defense better. He’s a rookie. It’s a lot of defense. It’s a lot of stuff. He just has to get to that point where he knows it and we know he knows it."
It’s more than fair to suggest that it would be disappointing if the Falcons didn’t find a way to get Grant on the field in a major way in 2021. They drafted him in the second round, he has playmaking potential nobody else really has in this secondary, and this year is already in rough shape. Clearly, Pees isn’t going to trot him out there until he feels he’s ready, and we’ll just have to hope that proves to be sooner than later.
The Falcons are focused on Daniel Jones
The more time I spend watching and reading about what Jones has done this year for the Giants, the more nervous I get about Sunday. The Falcons have a long-standing problem containing mobile quarterbacks, and Jones is also willing and able to push the ball downfield. Atlanta desperately needs to hit him and not let him get too comfortable, something they struggled to do against the Eagles and Jalen Hurts.
To that end, the Falcons are using Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks on the scout team to play the part of Jones. Franks, who has extreme mobility and a big arm if nothing else, will at least give the defense a rough idea of what they’ll be looking at, though Jones is much more capable of hurting them as a passer.
There’s no question, though, that the Falcons have to contain Jones or they’re headed for trouble and probably another loss.
#Falcons DC Dean Pees said Josh Rosen and Feleipe Franks have been playing Daniel Jones for the scout team. pic.twitter.com/wmhtewQd57— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) September 23, 2021
Dustin Colquitt may be here to help Cam Nizialek, rather than replace him
Big emphasis on may. The Falcons brought in Colquitt, who has been playing in the NFL forever, with an eye on making a decision on their punter toward the end of the week. It’s also true that you couldn’t ask for a much better mentor for a young, struggling punter than someone who has been through his fair share of ups and downs over the course of about 15 years in the league, something special teams coordinator Marquice Williams noted today.
Williams said Dustin Colquitt being in the room with Cameron Nizialek "invaluable" for the younger of the two punters.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) September 23, 2021
My guess at the moment is that so long as Nizialek practices well, he’ll get one more shot this weekend, with Colquitt standing by in case his struggles continue. It’s nice to see the Falcons not thinking just in terms of turning up the pressure on Nizialek, but also potentially helping him out.