2012 Atlanta Falcons Weekend Mailbag: June 2 Edition

Scott CarasikContributor IIJune 2, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 02:  Stephen Nicholas #54 of the Atlanta Falcons against the Carolina Panthers at Georgia Dome on January 2, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The mailbag returns this week with five new questions about the Falcons. This will include one with special guest Darrell aka Poppa Falcon of ESPN Columbus's radio show Bobby Z's Press Box.

@scar988 OK, which defensive scheme will we see most from the defense, be that a 3-4 or 4-3 and will we see more nickle pkgs?

— Brian O'Hern (@BrianOHern) June 2, 2012

Honestly, the scheme the Falcons run the most will be the nickel. They may line up a lot in the 4-3 for a "base" look but their primary personnel grouping will be the nickel. You have to get the best talent on the field.

With Dunta Robinson they can run the "Big Nickel" and the regular nickel package plays with the same personnel. Not to mention, the biggest question right now about the defense will be stopping the pass, especially on third downs.


Brent Tabaka (@BTabaka8) asks the following:

 how does the latest injury to affect the defense and the development of massaquoi or robertson

Peters will be back by training camp. So this injury shouldn't affect the defense at all. Peters will be able to learn the new defense, and the only way it could affect the defense is if Nolan decides that he is impressed with Jerry enough to have him as the No. 3 rotational defensive tackle.

@scar988 #BRFalconsMailbag if the Falcons are one and done in the playoffs again do you think Smitty and Dimitroff could be on the way out?

— Josh Gamez (@straight_edge76) June 2, 2012


Not at all. People tend to forget that before Smith and Dimitroff came into Atlanta the win percentage was a paltry 40.5 percent in the regular season. But under the duo of Dimitroff and Smith, the team has been 43-21 and won 67.2 percent of their games in the regular season and been to the playoffs three times in the past four years.

Arthur Blank is right in saying there is no reason for these two to even be on the hot seat. The only way they even get on the hot seat is if they can't even get a winning season. And even then, their previous success will give them at least another year.

@scar988 Haven't heard much news on Steven Nicholas. How's he doin with recovery on the injurys an fitting into the Nolan scheme? #RiseUp

— Travis McCaslin (@Travis_Mccaslin) June 2, 2012

According to reports by the AJC's D. Orlando Ledbetter, it looks like Nicholas is in the same boat as Corey Peters is. He is out until training camp healing from injuries and it looks like he should still be a starter under Nolan's watch.

Nicholas does two things extremely well that will help endear him to Nolan, blitz and pass coverage. He will likely be the nickel linebacker next to Weatherspoon and his blitzing ability will make the Falcons scary to face on third downs.

@scar988 In your opinion, how will the depth chart for KR/PR look this season?

— ⏪ DaRReLL ⏩ (@Poppa_Falcon) June 2, 2012

This is the trio that has turned around the Falcons.
This is the trio that has turned around the Falcons.

It depends on how preseason rolls out. The Falcons have a lot of great options out there this year in Cody Pearcy, Jacquizz and James Rodgers, Dominique Franks and Harry Douglas. Honestly, it's hard to see a guy like Pearcy playing the return specialist role in 2012, as he is more of an all-around guy.

Expect to see Dominique Franks and Harry Douglas as the top candidates but the chart that makes the most sense is:

Kick returner: Dominique Franks then Jacquizz Rodgers

Punt returner: Harry Douglas then Jacquizz Rodgers

James Rodgers and Cody Pearcy have an uphill battle at receiver but expect them to contribute on special teams much like Eric Weems early on, where he wasn't a return man and worked his way into it.