Mike Nolan's Atlanta Defense May Need Re-Thinking, and More NFC South News

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterSeptember 12, 2012

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Wide receiver Dwayne Bowe #82 of the Kansas City Chiefs is tackled by cornerback Brent Grimes #20 of the Atlanta Falcons after making a catch during the game at Arrowhead Stadium on September 9, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

With the season-ending injury to cornerback Brent Grimes, John Manasso of Fox Sports South wrote that, not only do the Falcons have decisions to make in finding a replacement, but new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan's new attacking style may have to be re-thought.

With Grimes out, Asante Samuel and Dunta Robinson will play in Atlanta's base defense. But the team only used its base package on 11 plays Sunday against Kansas City. Since there is a huge drop-off in talent from the top three corners to what's left on Atlanta's roster, will the Falcons play more base (4-3) defense moving forward?

They might do, but that's only if second-year linebacker and first-year starter Akeem Dent can prove he's worthy of being on the field more.

Because of the quality of quarterback play in the NFC South and the pass-happy shift of the entire NFL, Atlanta may have to stay in its nickel package and hope for the best with Grimes' replacement.

Manasso's point, and it's a good one, is that Nolan was able to be more aggressive with player movement and blitz packages because he knew he had three top-quality cornerbacks on the field when the Falcons were in their nickel package.

Now that Atlanta will only have two top-quality corners and a questions mark, will Nolan have to dial back his aggressiveness?


Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the Falcons may give Christopher Owens the first shot at playing in the nickel package after the team lost Brent Grimes for the season.

Atlanta Field Report listed a chunk of the available power rankings and the Falcons are listed anywhere from No. 3 to 11.


Carolina Panthers

According to the Charlotte Observer, rookies Luke Keuchly and Josh Norman are regrouping after mistakes Sunday showed they are truly rookies.

Offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski said he didn't think it would have mattered Sunday if Jonathan Stewart had been available, the line couldn't open holes. [Charlotte Observer]


New Orleans Saints

The Times-Picayune has an advanced Week 2 scouting report on the Carolina Panthers.

Mike Triplett of the Times-Picayune wrote that the Saints were on their heels against the Redskins Sunday.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers

No one's quite sure what injury running back LeGarrette Blount is nursing, or if there's an injury, because Blount was unavailable during Monday's open locker-room session. [Pewter Report]

Is cornerback Myron Lewis in trouble with the emergence of Brandon McDonald? [Tampa Bay Times]