The Atlanta Falcons take on the New York Giants on Sunday and their mobile quarterback Daniel Jones.
Jones rushed nine times for 95 yards against a very good defensive front of the Washington Football Team last Thursday.
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The Falcons had little success in slowing down Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 1, and defensive coordinator Dean Pees is under no illusions about the Falcons' performance against Hurts.
Pees was asked if facing Hurts and the Eagles in Week 1 would help prepare the Falcons to face Jones on Sunday. Pees was pragmatic with his response.
"The only benefit I see in it is how bad we played it the first time around," said Pees only half jokingly. "Hopefully we learned our lesson to do what we're supposed to do and not try do something we're not supposed to do. Not do somebody else's job."
"Do your job."
That was Pees' nice way of saying that the Falcons played poor assignment football against Hurts and the Eagles.
Hurts was 27 of 35 passing for 264 yards and three touchdowns against Atlanta in Week 1, and he added 62 yards on seven carries rushing.
The Eagles offensive line is better than the Giants, but to Pees' point, if Falcons defenders try and freelance in this system against a mobile quarterback, Jones will make them pay... again.
"There's never going to be a time, trust me," Pees continued, "when we play a running quarterback that's RPOs (run or pass option) or zone read that we're not going to have somebody on the quarterback even though it looked like that was the case [against the Eagles]."
"And that was the case. So it's our fault. Nobody else to blame but the players and the coaches."
"All of us."
The Falcons prioritized development of younger players and evaluations for roster spots during the preseason over game action. While Pees wouldn't come out and say the lack of game action for his starting defense hurt them against the Eagles, he certainly alluded to it.
"You can do all you want to do in practice," said Pees. "It's about two-thirds the speed of what the game is actually going to be. The first time that quarterback takes off, it didn't look anything like the quarterback did on the scout team."
"It's going to be fast. So hopefully we learned our lesson in the first game, and we're in-tuned to that coming forward."
Hurt punished the Falcons with his legs, but the run defense against Tampa Bay was better in Week 2. The Buccaneers rushed for 82 yards on 3.9 yards per carry, while the Eagles had run for 173 yards on 5.6 yards per carry.
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Of course, Tom Brady threw for five touchdowns and seemed to move the ball at will through the air. That said, the Falcons defense definitely looked better in the second half against the Buccaneers than they had the previous six quarters of the season.
Atlanta will get a chance to see if they learned anything at the hands of the Eagles when they take on Jones and the Giants on Sunday at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
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