The Scouting Report for Thursday night’s Falcons vs. Panthers game is produced by The 33rd Team’s Scouting Department, led by former Eagles, Cardinals, and Ravens personnel executive T.J. McCreight and assisted by scouts Justin Casey, Kevin Cohn and Evan Pritt.
Falcons DT Grady Jarrett vs. Panthers DT Derrick Brown
- In his eighth season, Grady Jarrett is still playing at a high level. This season, Jarrett has 4.5 sacks and 32 total tackles.
- Jarrett will play the 0/1/3 technique and gives fits to OGs and centers. He plays with a low center of gravity and with outstanding balance and body control.
- What also stands out with Jarrett is the way he can use his hands. He has improved his hand usage throughout his career, which makes it difficult to sustain him on the line of scrimmage.
- He can also defeat double teams with ease. He can ‘get skinny to fight through two blocks and get up the field.
- He is certainly a factor in the passing game with his quickness and power. Quarterbacks hate pressure from up the middle and that is what Jarrett can do. He will force the passer to move off of his spot and adjust in the pocket.
- There are many reasons why Jarrett is still a good player – but other than his talent – what stood out to me was his effort and his motor to the whistle.
- Panthers DT Derrick Brown is in his third season and is a different player than Jarrett. He has different movement skills and is four inches taller.
- Brown usually plays the zero technique over the center but will also move out to over the guard. On the season, he has 42 total tackles and one sack.
- He is disruptive vs the run and is strong at the point of attack. He will play a bit tall, but his strength allows him to play stout and not get pushed around. He is difficult to block one on one for most offensive lines.
- He is not as quick or fast as Jarrett and plays more in a short area. He blows up double teams and creates a new line of scrimmage in the backfield.
- Brown is more disruptive than productive as a pass rusher. He is a bull rusher with deceptive quickness, but he wants to push offensive linemen back into the passer.
- These players are different, but Jarrett is more complete and – if I were an offensive coordinator – would certainly scare me more.
Falcons CBs A.J. Terrell/Rashad Fenton vs. Panthers WR D.J. Moore
- D.J. Moore is off to a solid start this season, with 449 yards receiving and three TDs. He also averages 12.8 yards per reception.
- Moore had a huge day against Atlanta two weeks ago. He had six receptions for 152 yards and a TD. Unfortunately, the touchdown should have been a game-winner, if not for Moore removing his helmet after he scored.
- This led to a penalty and a missed extra point that sent the game to overtime where Atlanta ultimately wound up winning. Moore will have something to prove in this game and want to make up for his costly mistake.
- Moore has good size and is a good athlete. He is not the most explosive player off the line, however, he builds up speed well on longer routes and can run in the open field. He has fluid hips to sink and cut in and out of routes. He has fantastic body control and does a great job staying in bounds on sideline catches.
- He has a good feel for where his defender is and shows the ability to shield defenders away from the ball in traffic. He has the strength to catch the ball with a defender draped on him, allowing him to make catches even when he isn’t open. He also does a good job going up for the 50/50 ball.
- He can run a variety of different routes and the Panthers will motion him to get the matchups they want. He aligns all over the field and is a player that needs to be accounted for at all times. Moore has steady hands and is a reliable option for whichever quarterback the Panthers decide to run out there.
- Terrell is the Falcons’ No. 1 corner and would likely get the matchup with Moore. However, he is questionable with a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the last two weeks.
- Fenton, who was acquired on the Nov. 1 trade deadline, could slide into Terrell’s spot if Terrell is unable to go. Fenton played no defensive snaps in his debut, but this can be attributed to him coming over in the middle of the week and not having the time to fully learn Atlanta’s defense. Now that he has a full week under his belt I expect him to see more snaps.
- Terrell is a good athlete. He is more fluid than twitchy, but he is smooth and has good speed and lateral quickness. He has exceptional instincts, and he does a great job of reading and reacting to the receivers’ routes and beating them to the spot.
- He is better in off coverage where he can dissect what is going on than in press coverage. He has a good transition and ability to close. He will give up completions, but they are rarely downfield. Terrell typically gets the most dangerous outside receiver assignment, so if he plays, I expect him to be matched up with Moore.
- Fenton was the odd man out in Kansas City after the return of rookie CB Trent McDuffie to the lineup. Fenton had been a starter for the Chiefs but had some struggles this season.
- Fenton is just an above-average athlete. He struggles to transition and flip his hips to get downhill. He has just above-average lateral quickness. He will struggle against bigger receivers who can out-muscle him and go up for the 50/50 ball.
- In zone, he’s hesitant and is always looking around to make sure he has help. A change of scenery and a new scheme may be helpful.
- I expect Moore to have another good day against the Falcons. Terrell is a better matchup than Fenton, but with question marks on Terrell’s health, I think Moore has the advantage.
Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson vs. Panthers RB D’Onta Foreman
- After spending more than a month on IR, Patterson returned and picked up where he left off with 12 carries for 46 yards and two TDs. Though the Falcons came up short vs the Chargers, Patterson injected his playmaking ability into Atlanta’s rushing attack that eclipsed 150+ plus yards for the seventh time this season.
- Patterson is the second on the team in rushing yards (386 yards) behind rookie Tyler Allgeier (423 yards) and the Falcons are the only team in the league with four rushers who have 250+ yards each.
- Patterson is a thick-bodied runner with a good blend of size, speed, strength and balance. He displays adequate vision to pick an alley before piercing past with plus quickness.
- When working through the core, he struggles to redirect in tight quarters and instead relies on strong lowers to slice past would-be tacklers while in search of daylight.
- Though the Panthers have been decimated by way of coaching changes, Carolina still has some bright spots with their players. One of those is Foreman.
- A journeyman of sorts, Foreman is with his sixth team since being drafted in 2017. In Foreman’s first year with the Panthers, he has made a positive impact on their offense. On 60 rushing attempts this season, Foreman is averaging 4.9 yards/carry (14th among runners), and his 3.18 yards after contact average ranks 19th among all RBs.
- Since the trading of Christian McCaffrey, Foreman has taken on more of a workload, while impacting the run game. Most recently, he racked up 118 yards vs the Buccaneers and 118 yards to go along with three TDs vs the Falcons.
- Foreman is a compact, hard-nosed, between-the-tackles runner. Though he has average quickness coming out of the backfield, Foreman flashes vision to locate a lane before working tightly past blockers. His powerful running style allows him to surge through arm tacklers while keeping upright.
- If corralled by defenders, Foreman lacks the twitch and redirct skills to make defenders miss in confined areas. He will instead lower his pads to fight for hard-earned yards. His one-speed running makes Foreman a singles/doubles hitter. He often gets chased down by defenders who are faster or have the angle on him.
- All in all, both Patterson and Foreman play an important role in their respective offenses. They both provide a different flavor as runners, with Foreman being more of a ground and pound while Patterson brings more speed and ability to create chunk yardage with the ball in his hands.
- I’d give the slight advantage to Patterson, as not only is Patterson a more dynamic player, but he’ll be going against a run defense that’s given up the third most rushing yards to opponents (1,254) and fourth most rushing TDs (12).
- It’s a rematch of a wild game two weeks ago.
Falcons’ Keys to Victory
- Disrupt the passer with an inside rush without sending pressure.
- Control and keep Moore from having a big day.
Panthers’ Keys to Victory
- PJ Walker needs to protect the football, and they need to run the football with success.
- Keep Marcus Mariota in the pocket and don’t allow him to have success running the football.
- Kyle Pitts is going to have a huge day soon, so don’t let it be this week.