Your New York Giants are "on to Atlanta" this Sunday for their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons. After last Sunday's bitter loss to the Dallas Cowboys, and the NFL's admission that its officials blew a couple of critical calls, can the Giants rebound? Let's learn more about the Falcons by turning to David Choate of SB Nation's The Falcoholic for this week's "Five Questions" segement.
Ed: The Falcons are 1-0 and feeling good. What are your thoughts on Dan Quinn at this point?
David: I don't think there's a Falcons fan alive who isn't excited about Quinn right now. Some of that is just preseason hype followed by a quality one game sample, but he's an extremely competent coach, the team's scheming has looked pretty impressive thus far, and he's a guy players talk about as being genuinely inspirational.
We'll see how his tenure with the team winds up shaking out, but thus far, he's been exactly the hire the Falcons needed after two straight disappointing seasons.
Ed: If you were writing a scouting report on the Falcons for the Giants, how would you attack them? On both offense and defense.
David: If you're going after the Falcons offense, I think you have to try to fool Ryan. His timing is just a little bit off, he's picking up a new system, and the Eagles found success by disguising coverages a little bit and having defenders ready to lunge for the ball once it was in the air. If you can hit him, so much the better. None of that is all that useful if you can't take away Julio Jones, so put your best cover corner on him and bracket with a safety whenever possible. Nobody else on the offense can break the game open like he can, and while the rushing attack looks better than it has in years, it's not at the point where you gameplan around it just yet.
On the other side of the ball, use Shane Vereen. The Falcons are stout and aggressive against the run up front and they'll try to make you one-dimensional, and Desmond Trufant matches up very well with Odell Beckham Jr. Short crossing routes, play action, and dump offs to speedy players like Vereen are your best bet, because the Falcons have trouble defending them with their current corps of linebackers, and it gets a fast player in space.
Ed: Give us some of the under-the-radar guys Giants fans might not be familiar with who could have an impact Sunday afternoon?
David: The big one to know is Ricardo Allen. He was a fifth round rookie who actually was waived and added to the practice squad last year as a cornerback, and he made the switch to free safety this season. In the Eagles game, he was aggressive, came up with a couple of big hits, and made an athletic play for the game-sealing interception. He may be a household name sooner rather than later, but he's not yet.
On the offensive side of the ball, watch for rookie back Tevin Coleman. He averaged four yards per carry against the Eagles, which is a minor miracle given how bad the Falcons' rushing attack has been, and he has quality patience, great one-cut ability and frightening speed in the open field. He's not an elite running back just yet, but he's dangerous if he gets some space to work.
4. If you could take one player NOT NAMED ODELL BECKHAM off the Giants' roster and put him in the Atlanta lineup who would it be? Why?
David: I'd have to say Jonathan Hankins. He's so stout up front, he offers some interior pass rushing ability, and the Falcons' already useful stable of interior players would be incredibly formidable with him in the mix.
Ed: Eli Manning is such an enigma, even at times to Giants fans. What is your perspective on Eli? As a fan of an opposing team, is he one of those quarterbacks you fear?
David: I fear him primarily because I don't know what he'll do from game to game. I don't put Eli in the very top tier of quarterbacks, but what makes him scary is that he's capable of playing at that level in bursts, and he's got enough weapons to make him extremely dangerous. His lows can be pretty low, though, and for obvious reasons I hope to see those Sunday.
Thanks to David for dropping some Falcons' knowledge on us.