It’s hate week Falcons fans as our beloved Dirty Birds host the ghastly Saints in the season opener. There will be plenty of ill words exchanged between the two fanbases and probably some of the players, particularly one that has been in New Orleans his entire career — Cameron Jordan.
Jordan has long trolled the Falcons organization, and rightfully so; he’s dominated Atlanta. In 22 career games, the former All-Pro has totaled 23 sacks, 40 QB hits, 25 tackles for loss, eight passes defended, and a 14-8 overall record. He’s terrorized the Falcons in recent years, probably in a way that not many defenders have in league history — totaling 15 sacks and 29 pressures in the last nine matchups, single-handedly wrecking the Falcons offense.
“With Marcus Mariota, now we’ve got to go back and watch some Vegas film, maybe watch some Tennessee film,” Jordan said. “We’ve got to break down who he is because he’s not a traditional pocket passer like Matt was. This is going to change up their game a lot.”
Jordan acknowledges what the Falcons already know: the offense is going to look much different with Mariota as the signal caller. Falcons fans can expect Arthur Smith to utilize his mobile quarterbacks in a fashion they haven’t seen since Michael Vick. This will come on broken plays, designed quarterback runs, and designed rollouts, which Smith didn’t really have the ability to do with Matt Ryan.
‘We had plays that – we’ll continue to evolve there, but it’s preseason, we’re not going to show our hand in a lot of other stuff,” Smith said in his postgame press conference. “But, when you have athletic quarterbacks and you’re able to move the pocket, they’re going to be able to extend plays.”
The Falcons use of their quarterbacks’ mobility is another dynamic element Smith will have at his disposal. Considering how poor Atlanta’s offensive line is at protecting the passer, the ability to play off-script will be vital for any success in 2022. The Falcons were at the bottom of the league in designed rollouts last season, but fans can expect them to be near the top in 2023. It’ll look like a much different offense, and it’s up to Smith to help cover up the deficiencies of Mariota and Ridder through play design and calling. With Mariota, Pitts, Patterson, and London, Cam Jordan knows this isn’t going to be the same ole Falcons offense.
“You’ve got Cordarrelle Patterson who took off last year, so I’m sure they’ll incorporate him,” said Jordan. “Throw in Kyle Pitts, who’s in my mind is going to be one of the top talked about wide receivers in the game. We’ve got somewhat zero film to work off of to prepare for what could be a lethal offense.”
Photographer: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire