The New England Patriots will have their hands full against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night. The reigning NFC champions, who were at the wrong end of the Patriots' Super Bowl record 25-point comeback in the Super Bowl, have one of the deepest and most talented squads in the NFL – across the board, as New England head coach Bill Belichick illustrates in the latest episode of Patriots.com's the Belestrator.
Belichick starts his video breakdown of the upcoming opponent by saying that the Falcons are “dangerous in all three phases of the game”. He then takes a close look at Falcons returnman Andre Roberts. “He handles both the punts and kickoffs for them,” Belichick notes before adding that Roberts is a “very fast and explosive guy”. The play broken down in the segment shows Roberts' vision and quickness as a punt returner.
New England's head coach then moves on to the defensive side of the ball, also noting the players' explosiveness. The play on display sees the Falcons play tight man-to-man coverage against the Green Bay Packers, forcing quarterback Aaron Rodgers to hold the football long enough for linebacker Vic Beasley to get to him and force a fumble that was picked up by Atlanta and returned for a touchdown.
“They can score from anywhere on the field,” Belichick says in regards to the play and Atlanta's above-mentioned explosiveness in all three phases of the game: “Strip sacks, interceptions, long runs, long passes, punt returns – they're just dangerous.” The Patriots' coach also points out the Falcons' team speed and defensive ability to “close space in a hurry”.
Offensively, Belichick focuses on Atlanta's two dangerous running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. “Freeman, of course, is a very good runner,” Belichick says about the 25-year old: “Great vision, great power, good balance, he's a strong runner but he's got good speed and good balance.” As he does with the defense, New England's head honcho also notes the offense's ability to score no matter the field position.
“Coleman's a very dangerous runner too,” Belichick also points out before adding that the versatile back is one of the fastest players in the NFL. The play broken down, like Freeman's against the Falcons two weeks ago, shows the 24-year old run towards the perimeter before cutting back to gain additional yardage. Belichick praises the blockers' ability to cut off the defense and Coleman's speed, balance and quickness.
As the plays broken down in the three-minute clip illustrate, New England will face a highly dangerous team – one that shines because of its speed, explosiveness and big play ability. For the reigning world champions, tomorrow's game will be one of the biggest tests they will face all regular season long.