Reeves on Patriots-Falcons

Former Atlanta coach breaks down Sunday's game

September 24, 2009, 10:06 PM

By: Mike Reiss

Longtime NFL coach Dan Reeves will be in town for Sunday's Patriots-Falcons game, providing color commentary on Westwood One's radio broadcast.

Reeves spent time Thursday sharing his thoughts on the matchup.

"It should be a great game between very similar football teams that are coached extremely well, Mike Smith in Atlanta and Bill Belichick in New England," Reeves said. "When Matt Ryan came to Atlanta, he kind of reminded me a little bit of Tom Brady, just in throwing the football, the way he handled himself. He's given the Falcons a chance to win every single week.

"With the Falcons, I think the biggest question right now is their defense, in particular the secondary. They had four turnovers in the first game against Miami, with one at the end of the game that made the difference. They've given up some yardage but have done a good job with turnovers [6].

"I think one of the key matchups this week will be John Abraham vs. Matt Light. Abraham gives the Falcons the best chance to put pressure on Tom Brady. Atlanta's defense is young; they fly after the football. They play downhill, and those linebackers attack the line of scrimmage. The weakness is in pass defense, and that will be a real key for them.

"For New England, Wes Welker is just so important. It's much different when he's in there. Julian Edelman did a nice job last week replacing him, but it's still not the same. The number that stood out to me was third down, where they converted 33 percent [5 of 15]. That's where Welker comes in big-time, converting those third downs. It was also noticeable that Brady and [Joey] Galloway do not have their timing down. You have to throw a lot of passes to get there. You can work on it in practice, but it's not the same as being in the game.

"The penalties obviously hurt the Patriots, as well. I don't think I've ever seen them penalized as much. Those are mistakes you usually don't see them make. The special teams hurt them, too, but this Atlanta team doesn't have a Leon Washington as returner."


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