After their first win of the season, there is quite a bit to feel positively about in regards to how the Falcons offense is progressing as a whole. Coach Arthur Smith made it a point to get Kyle Pitts involved early and often, and as a result, the Seahawks had to respect the big play. That in turn softened up the box a bit for Cordarrelle Patterson to gash Seattle on the ground for 141 yards.
Coach Smith’s vision is becoming quite clear, in that he wants a physical team with big play ability. This coming Sunday, the Falcons play a team that’s loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball in the Cleveland Browns and will challenge Smith to execute that vision. How will they fare?
In the trenches
Led by the monster that is Myles Garrett, the Browns have a solid group across the board up front, even if we’re not sure if Garrett’s playing just yet. The Falcons offensive line took a bit of time to get going against the Seattle Seahawks. It should be mentioned that Elijah Wilkinson was an early scratch for personal reasons. Still, the unit managed to find a rhythm in the running game and began to wear the defense down.
In this game, it’s going to be important for Coach Smith to have the same mentality in regards to being consistent in the running game and taking shots in the passing game when they’re there to take. With a pass rushing unit led by Garrett and Jadaveon Clowney, it’ll be important to keep the Browns defense honest, again even if Garrett doesn’t play. Fortunately, this has been something that Smith has done well up to this point. While I do see the Browns having the advantage in the trenches talent-wise, I also can envision the offense taking some steps to offset that advantage.
The skill positions
Cleveland’s LB corps and back end unit is an aggressive unit with some good talent as well. Their safety duo, Grant Delpit and John Johnson, leads the defense in tackles, which isn’t a glowing endorsement of the front seven as a whole. While this is a physical group, they have also given up quite a few yards in the passing game, which should be of note for Arthur Smith as he game plans for this defense.
Lucky for Coach Smith, he has some current and future stars on his offense in Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Pitts and Drake London who are difficult for any team to cover in any situation. London has caught the eye of all teams in the league on a team given that not only do they have to account for the unicorn that is Pitts and slash player Patterson, but also a very talented rookie receiver. While it’s very early in the season, handling all these weapons has already become a daunting task for any defense.
This is quite an interesting matchup for the Falcons as a whole. While the Browns certainly have some notable talent on the defensive side of the ball, Coach Smith and the offense have been quite productive to start the season, which leads me to believe that they can move the ball on this unit as well. Minus some untimely turnovers in previous games, this offense has been pretty consistently productive.
The most important factors in this game for the Falcons are to involve their big three, to protect the ball more effectively than they’ve done to this point, and control the time of possession. They’ll need to do all this to keep pace, given how well the Browns offense has been playing early in the season. Again, how the offensive line performs will ultimately determine how this offense performs. While I’m giving the Browns the slight edge overall, this isn’t a game that is out of reach for the Falcons from an offensive perspective.