Julio vs MIA

By: John Wickham

On Sunday the Falcons will see some familiar faces in Tyson Clabo and Brent Grimes when they face the Miami Dolphins. In the off-season the Falcons made some tough decisions and decided to get younger (and cheaper) at both the RT and CB position and let Tyson and Brent find new places of employment.

The Miami Dolphins had a pretty successful first season with Joe Philbin as head coach and Ryan Tannehill at QB last year. With an eventful offseason that besides two former Falcons included the signings of WR Mike Wallace, LBs Phillip Wheeler and Dannell Ellerbe and drafting DE Dion Jordan in the Top 3.

The defense already had superb talent on the D-line in DE Cameron Wake, DTs Paul Soliai and Randy Starks. On the offensive side of the ball they lost Reggie Bush as the RB but have young talent in Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Ryan Tannehill leads the way at QB. His targets include deep-threat Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and unfortunately TE Dustin Keller suffered at knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the year but Charles Clay has so far stepped up in his absence.

The Falcons will be without several players, so in this spot I will focus on the players that will be playing and not elaborate on the awesome virtues of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and the such. Steven Jackson’s injury means more time for Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling. Also with Bradie Ewing out it means that Jason will see some time at both RB and FB like he did against the Rams. With Patrick DiMarco backing him up at FB it will allow for Jason to get some carries in a two-back set with a lead blocke and not him always being the lead blocker. Roddy has been slowed with an ankle injury and Harry Douglas has stepped up. On defense we will see a lot more new faces. Desmond Trufant already has one spot locked down but with Asante Samuel coming out it means that Robert Alford will see more time with Robert McClain manning the third CB spot. I expect to see more Robert Alford on the outside with McClain staying in the nickel spot in 3-WR sets. In 2-WR sets I think it will be Trufant and McClain for the most part with Alford giving them the occasionally breather. At LB Joplo Bartu will take over for Spoon but Falcon fans most loathed (Akeem Dent or Stephen Nicholas) will have to man the other LB spot in nickel situations. The Falcons signed two former Eagle LBs in Jamar Chaney and Omar Gaither but they will most likely not be used until they get more of the playbook down. Jonathan Massaqoi and Malliciah Goodman will get the first crack at Biermann’s DE spot. Massaquoi will get the pass-rush duties and Goodman gets the run-stopping duties.

I expect the game to be a tough game, but that is not anything new to Falcon fans. I expect a win and come home to face the Patriots on Sunday Night Football with a 2-1 record.