Falcons licking chops about Jets rookie QB

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons linebacker Omar Gaither, a newcomer to the team but a veteran in the league, has seen his share of rookie quarterbacks in seven previous NFL seasons.

So when the topic of facing New York Jets rookie Geno Smith on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" was brought up, Gaither's eyes got a bit wider.

"You hate to say it, but it’s almost like you start to lick your chops a little bit more," Gaither said. "It seems these days, they come in and they’re playing well. Obviously we had some rookies come into the league last year and play very well. But a rookie’s a rookie."

An ankle injury suffered by middle linebacker Akeem Dent could mean Gaither will man the middle against the Jets. Dent has had success blitzing, so you wonder if Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan might do the same with Gaither.

Whatever the case, the Jets’ Smith has cracked under pressure at times already this season.

"You give him multiple looks. You just try to confuse him," Gaither said. "That’s what they would do against a rookie corner. That’s what they would do against a rookie tackle. Someone who just doesn’t have that experience, you always try to take advantage of that."

Smith has completed 78 of 136 passes for 1,090 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions. His overall passer rating is 68.6 and he’s 26th in the league in fourth-quarter passing (69.2). He’s been sacked 14 times, double the amount Matt Ryan has been taken down.

The fact the Jets are hurting at receiver won’t help Smith’s cause. So it makes sense for the Falcons to bring intense pressure. They have just seven sacks, led by Osi Umenyiora with two. The Falcons are ranked 28th in the league in sacks per pass play.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux said Smith is similar to Carolina’s Cam Newton.

"I’m sure we will have something put together well planned for Geno on Monday," Babineaux said. "We’re just going to try and frustrate him; make sure he’s not comfortable. We have to continue to make sure that we don’t make the game easy for him."