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Falcons apparently opening the season in nickel defense

Paul Soliai, Mike Smith AP

All offseason the Falcons ducked questions about whether their base defense was going to be a 4-3 or a 3-4.

But when they released their first depth chart of the year, there’s still no answer.

The Falcons’ official/unofficial depth chart shows their nickel defense, with just two linebackers (Paul Worrillow and Joplo Bartu) along with five defensive backs.

Josh Wilson, Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford are listed as the starting cornerbacks in this arrangement. And at least when they’re playing the Saints, that’s likely how they’ll line up.

The chart does list four defensive linemen, with Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai as the tackels and Kroy Biermann and Jonathan Babineaux the ends (with Osi Umenyiora a backup there).

But both Jackson and Soliai are base 3-4 players, and the fact the Falcons went and signed them in the first hours of free agency should tell you which way they’re leaning.

There are no real surprises on the offensive side of the ball, as they decided to leave incumbent Sam Baker at left tackle and use first-rounder Jake Matthews at right tackle.

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42 Responses to “Falcons apparently opening the season in nickel defense”
  1. saints12013 says: Aug 5, 2014 3:48 PM

    ATL better open the season in a Dime or Quarter “D” cause Brees is gonna light them up…….

  2. purpleguy says: Aug 5, 2014 3:50 PM

    I thought maybe they’d be opening up in the UFC formation given all the training camp fisticuffs.

  3. 303bucs says: Aug 5, 2014 3:51 PM

    The Falcons Defense is their Offense. Shootouts every week won’t get you consistent wins in today’s NFL!

  4. micknangold says: Aug 5, 2014 3:53 PM

    Considering every team spends more time in Nickel or Dime packages than anything else it really is every team’s base package.

  5. sb44champs says: Aug 5, 2014 4:04 PM

    Will the Falcons be able to hang with an improved Top 4 Saints offense and Top 4 Saints defense? I highly doubt it!

  6. crawfish2011 says: Aug 5, 2014 4:11 PM

    C’mon son, stop trying to be like the Saints and Rob Ryan

  7. tlw109 says: Aug 5, 2014 4:12 PM

    Why can’t I read a story about the Falcons without multiple smart aleck remarks from Saints fans?

    Oh wait… They’re Saints fans.

  8. bigwalt2990 says: Aug 5, 2014 4:15 PM

    What’s it matter if it’s 3-4 or 4-3…the NFL is accustomed to both. There aren’t any surprises. Preseason will give away their scheme.

  9. tennesseeoilers says: Aug 5, 2014 4:26 PM

    Tennessee fans were amused at the chemistry between the Falcons and the Titans during yesterday’s scrimmage in Atlanta. I’ve been to Titans’ scrimmages before, and I don’t recall ever seeing our head coach yell at an opposing defender for getting too physical with our QB (a big no-no) or our WR’s coach yelling at Falcons DBs.

    Perhaps there was a little extra mojo in the mix for the “Hard Knocks cameras which were everywhere?”

  10. tvjules says: Aug 5, 2014 4:27 PM

    Be thankful ATL… you could have a 75 year old DC running the Tampa 2 defense like what’s being done in Dallas.
    Not everyone can hold that 32nd ranked defense title!

  11. flexx91 says: Aug 5, 2014 4:29 PM

    Very interesting. The Saints’ offense has been practicing against this type of defense for two years now. They (the Falcons) are going to get lit up like a Christmas tree on Sept. 7.

  12. jimb031 says: Aug 5, 2014 4:34 PM

    Why can’t I read a story about the Falcons without multiple smart aleck remarks from Saints fans?

    Oh wait… They’re Saints fans.
    ——————————————————

    Could be worse. Seahawks fans feel the need to comment on EVERY team’s articles.

  13. dubbski says: Aug 5, 2014 4:36 PM

    Don’t worry about the Pelicants there won’t be much say when that Atl D flood burn face Brees. You’ll see.

  14. yippiekyyaymf says: Aug 5, 2014 4:38 PM

    Dosent matter until the clock hits zero aints fans I hope you bring your bags you gonna need them …ALL RED IN THIS DOME

  15. jkaflagg says: Aug 5, 2014 4:39 PM

    Wonder if the depth chart reflects the number of plays a team runs out of a particular set….as some other folks have pointed out, most teams play more more nickel than their base defense in the the NFL these days.

    Based on the mix-and-match Nolan has shown in the past, this kind of thing does not mean a lot….the acid test will come in the 4th quarter of close games, when the gimmick formations and trick coverages are gone and the team simply needs to hold a lead.

  16. thegreatgabbert says: Aug 5, 2014 4:44 PM

    Except in Atlanta it is known as the “plugged nickel” defense.

  17. winningisabrees says: Aug 5, 2014 4:44 PM

    ATL will always be the SAINTS little brother

  18. kathleenturnersoverdrive says: Aug 5, 2014 4:48 PM

    dubbski says:
    Aug 5, 2014 4:36 PM
    Don’t worry about the Pelicants there won’t be much say when that Atl D flood burn face Brees. You’ll see.

    New Orleans leads that series 13-3 since 06. We own you.

  19. jbones77 says: Aug 5, 2014 5:05 PM

    When did “releasing a depth chart” become a thing? Maybe Mark Cuban was right…

  20. greenwhodat26 says: Aug 5, 2014 5:11 PM

    Haha go ahead and run your little nickel. Falcons fans are gonna have nightmares about Khiry Robinson for weeks.

  21. madddogg365 says: Aug 5, 2014 5:33 PM

    tlw109 says:Aug 5, 2014 4:12 PM

    Why can’t I read a story about the Falcons without multiple smart aleck remarks from Saints fans?

    Oh wait… They’re Saints fans.

    Just because the Saints made Gonzales cry @ the end of last season’s 1st game don’t blame the Saints’ fans. Wait…GO RIGHT AHEAD!! LOL

  22. madddogg365 says: Aug 5, 2014 5:36 PM

    dubbski says:Aug 5, 2014 4:36 PM

    Don’t worry about the Pelicants there won’t be much say when that Atl D flood burn face Brees. You’ll see.

    #1. Wrong sport. Pelicans are basketball. #2. What’s flood burn face? ATL fans…Rise up…your I.Q. that is.

  23. madddogg365 says: Aug 5, 2014 5:37 PM

    yippiekyyaymf says:Aug 5, 2014 4:38 PM

    Dosent matter until the clock hits zero aints fans I hope you bring your bags you gonna need them …ALL RED IN THIS DOME

    It was all red last year…until the ATL fans left early because of that butt whipping in the your dome. lol

  24. slick50ks says: Aug 5, 2014 5:47 PM

    A defense that will rival Dallas for the bottom.

  25. drunkwino says: Aug 5, 2014 5:56 PM

    I hope they’re ready to see their opponents open up in the I and run the ball up and down that nickel all day.

  26. riseup89 says: Aug 5, 2014 6:31 PM

    It’s funny how people think ATL is going to be bad this year but what they fail to realize is that ATL is healthy this year and a lot bigger and stronger on defense and offense. Good luck stopping Julio and Roddy this year.

  27. wwttww says: Aug 5, 2014 6:37 PM

    Saints fans…y’all are 13-3 vs ATL last 8 years. This cuts ATL’s overall advantage to 47-43….so your dominance recently has only made the rivalry even, being it was 44-30 ATL before Payton/Brees saved the city from relocation. Thanks for finally showing up guys.

  28. destinationfl says: Aug 5, 2014 6:42 PM

    sb44champs – last years rankings have no bearing on the upcoming season.

  29. steviaquinn says: Aug 5, 2014 8:19 PM

    What’s with all the Saint trolls? You couldnt find one Saint fan 5 years ago ( without a paper bag over their face)

  30. burtmurphy1 says: Aug 5, 2014 8:44 PM

    Because for the saint fans, football didn’t exist before 2006.

    That’s why they love to say “13 – 3″. Because it’s embarrassing to mention that, even with their recent success, they still don’t lead the head to head.

  31. saints12013 says: Aug 5, 2014 9:14 PM

    I live in Mass and been a Saints fan since I’ve been 11 years old so don’t play that ” where were the Saints fans before 2006 stuff ” ? We own ATL, we made Vick flip off his own fans, we made Tony G. cry, we made Bobby Petrino quit, we have a SB ring, and we have fans that fill up that Dome every Sunday. That’s more than what you ham and egger Falcons fans can say……

  32. saintsfansince2009 says: Aug 5, 2014 10:07 PM

    In my best Jeff Foxworthy voice….

    If you say you’re a Saints fan you’re whole life, but you don’t have a paper bag with Saints colors/logos painted on it in your closet somewhere…..

    YOU MIGHT BE A SAINTS BANDWAGON FAN.

  33. saints12013 says: Aug 6, 2014 7:13 AM

    Let me be more specific for all of you low IQ Falcons fans, I’ve liked the Saints since I was 11. The year was 1991. I am 34 years old. There’s no bandwagon jumping over here “Falcants” fans. I guarantee I have forgotten more about the Saints history than most of you phony ATL fans will ever know about the mediocre Falcons football team. Get ready to get swept yet again by New Orleans……

  34. sb44champs says: Aug 6, 2014 10:40 AM

    destinationfl says:
    Aug 5, 2014 6:42 PM
    sb44champs – last years rankings have no bearing on the upcoming season.
    —————————————-
    Oh how convenient… Failcons will lose Week 1 in ATL

  35. sb44champs says: Aug 6, 2014 10:41 AM

    destinationfl says:
    Aug 5, 2014 6:42 PM
    sb44champs – last years rankings have no bearing on the upcoming season.
    =============================
    It’s very convenient for you to forget about last years Saints ranking number 4 in both offense and defense which has been vastly improved in the offseason which you will see on display Week 1 in ATL

  36. madddogg365 says: Aug 6, 2014 12:42 PM

    burtmurphy1 says:Aug 5, 2014 8:44 PM

    Because for the saint fans, football didn’t exist before 2006.

    That’s why they love to say “13 – 3″. Because it’s embarrassing to mention that, even with their recent success, they still don’t lead the head to head.

    Like the Falcons have ALWAYS been a GOOD team?!!! LOL @ least we don’t leave our team during HALFTIME if they are behind. LOL

  37. madddogg365 says: Aug 6, 2014 12:44 PM

    steviaquinn says:Aug 5, 2014 8:19 PM

    What’s with all the Saint trolls? You couldnt find one Saint fan 5 years ago ( without a paper bag over their face)

    You also couldn’t find 1 Falcon fan w/o bird crap on their faces. Oh my bad. That was LAST SEASON TOO!!!!!!!!! Rise up now. LOL

  38. madddogg365 says: Aug 6, 2014 12:47 PM

    wwttww says:Aug 5, 2014 6:37 PM

    Saints fans…y’all are 13-3 vs ATL last 8 years. This cuts ATL’s overall advantage to 47-43….so your dominance recently has only made the rivalry even, being it was 44-30 ATL before Payton/Brees saved the city from relocation. Thanks for finally showing up guys.

    8 years is a long time. lol Maybe your team can now start showing up…& make sure the fans stay the whole PLEASE. lol

  39. saints12013 says: Aug 6, 2014 1:42 PM

    I find it funny that these delusional Falcons fans really think their team is on our level. Your squad hasn’t been even in the same stratosphere as New Orleans for almost a decade. Oh yeah, y’all had a better year than us in 2012 and won the division by default cause half our organization was suspended. But remember who gave you your first loss of that season.

  40. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Aug 6, 2014 3:41 PM

    I’m surprised that top pick Jake Matthews is not at the very important left tackle spot. Thought that was the whole idea of picking a tackle early in the draft.

  41. jacktumlinson says: Aug 7, 2014 11:56 AM

    we change from a 4-3 to a 3-4 and then so did the Failclowns. We play in a nickle most of the season and now so are the Failclowns. Difference is our nickle was with safeties and your will be corners. You know you are good when your little red headed step brother wants to emulate you. rise up and look at the rest of the division.

  42. robryanisthedude says: Aug 8, 2014 1:26 AM

    Jake Matthews running from Cam Jordan I see. Have fun with Galette instead. LOL.

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