49ers-Falcons Advance Scouting Report

Carolina Panthers wide receiver D.J. Moore (12) makes ther catch against Atlanta Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver (26) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)

Check out my advance scouting report of the 49ers’ upcoming opponent, the Atlanta Falcons. To watch the breakdown in full-screen mode, click the square at the bottom-right corner of the video.

And check out my Periscope preview of the game:

This article has 90 Comments

  1. From Matt B. on The Athletic:
    “The plan Shanahan used against the Saints began with endless cups of coffee and an 18-hour cram session with his top offensive lieutenants, Mike McDaniel and Mike LaFleur, in Bradenton, Fla., during the 49ers’ stay between the Ravens and Saints road games. When they arrived home from New Orleans, the trio immediately were back in the lab, and they have an even bigger plan in store for the Falcons, the team they all were a part of before joining the 49ers in 2017.”
    Poor Dan Quinn….

      1. If the 9ers had a dedicated OC, they’d have 70+ points per game in 2019. And, Wishnowsky would be called a bust because he’d have a 0 yard punting average.

  2. This is going to be a blow out for the start.
    Trap game my A**!
    The falcons aren’t in a dome, not at home, not playing a divisional rival.
    They don’t have the horses to keep up with this offense. Ryan will get sacked and hurried a lot, nullifying any threat from Jones or Hooper.
    Niners win big’

    1. ninermd, this game absolutely has all of the hallmarks of a classic trap game. That said, the 49ers seem to have cultivated the kind of mentality a team needs in order to avoid the trap.

      The 49ers should be able to take care of their business on Sunday and get the win, but if they are complacent, Matt Ryan has enough firepower to keep an injury depleted 49ers team from running away with it, so this game is no gimmie, IMO.

  3. 49ers will be without 3/5 of their starting secondary. I’m curious to see who they go with to replace Williams – will they insert Moore at FS and move Ward to slot, or keep Ward at FS and play Reed at slot?

      1. Agreed Razor, no question they should go with option #2. DJ Reed’s best position is in the slot, IMO, and Ward has been playing well at FS, and that would also mean less players changing their current positions and defensive assignments.

  4. I liked Oliver coming out, but Witherspoon was the better corner in Colorado. It’s not just their corners, because their WR’s are very good too.

    I liked Ridley too, but his 40 cost him even though it’s clear he has football speed on the field. I think James could shine in that role if the opportunity presents itself.

    Dirk is another coach in the CFC fanbook. I always thought he was overrated, and diametrically opposed philosophically.

    Gonna be a two score victory for the 49ers. Bosa will get a sack and Ryan will throw an int or two, and by the end of the 3rd quarter, the game will be in 49ers hands….

      1. A veteran of 17 years should not be subject to waivers under the collective bargaining agreement as I understand it.

        Jenkins would be another nice add, though there are some character issues and question marks about him giving up on his team.

        If the organization wants to make a push for the super bowl, they may need to tap into their inner Carmen Policy and spend some money. Now would be the time – windows close quickly; reference LA Rams.

          1. Thank you. I appreciate the information.

            Chicago appears to be a possible landing spot as a team attempting to make a playoff push. The draw back to any team is that Suggs can walk away a free agent after this season.

            Perhaps he can choose retirement is the path he’ll take instead.

    1. I think the Niners would love to land Suggs, but 30 other teams would have to pass on claiming T-Sizzle off waivers, and unfortunately, I think the chances of that happening are somewhere in the neighborhood of slim to none.

  5. On the first pick, the guy going over the middle was wide open.
    On the second pick, the short pass to the RB was wide open for at least 10 yards.
    Niners need to do some stunts and loops, and I hope they rush Bosa from the left side, where Ford usually plays.
    If the Falcons rush only 3, the Niners should do a draw, which should gain at least 8 yards before all the DBs and LBs in coverage can get to the ball carrier.
    I think the Niners want this game more than the Falcons. The offense should do misdirections and counters, and JG should be able to exploit the DBs.
    Grant thinks the Niners will win 42-21. I would be happy with 24-23, but think the Niners offense will score TDs, and the Falcons will not. Niners 28-20.

      1. I’m kinda with Jack on this. They have had a ton of injuries and playing musical chairs in the secondary is always a bit rough (see missed assignments).
        I still have SF winning but I think it will be close until late 3rd or so… when SF starts to gain some separation.

    1. Sounds about right Jack.

      Niners win this one 34-27 …. 36-27, somewhere in that neighborhood.

      I don’t see the Niners running away with it this week, but they are the superior team despite the injuries, and they are at home.

      1. 49ers coming off of a brutal 2 game road trip, capped off by a huge, emotional win, while the Falcons are playing their best football of the season and looking to play spoiler.

        That said, if Ford and Sherman were healthy, we are likely looking at a different story.

        Can’t wait to see how K. Street handles his first NFL regular season action!

        1. I am sure they are looking to win out, but like Grant said, this is a game they can actually afford to lose, provided they take care of the Rams. I think the division likely won’t be settled until the Niners exact their revenge, and make their final regular season statement week 17, and frankly, the fresher they are going into Seattle the better.

        2. Next man up? It’s the highly regarded draft prospect and former NC Wolfpack – Kentavius Street, AKA “Baby Hulk”, and it’s his time to shine! Asked if he finally feels healthy after getting word that his time has finally come, Street told reporters, with a grin on his face, “I feel like I could run through a wall” as his NFL debut approaches!

          Former NFL Network analyst, and current Raiders GM – Mike Mayock, had this to say about Street following the 2018 East-West Shrine Game: “After three days of practices leading up to the (game), North Carolina State defensive end Kentavius Street is the guy I’m probably most intrigued by. He can set a physical edge on first down outside and I think he’s an inside rusher in sub packages. He’s been dominant this week.”

          RotoWorld’s Josh Norris named Street the 2nd best NFL prospect at the event, and only “the tiniest of margins” away from No. 1. Norris: “Street has a history of playing inside, (but) I would not be surprised if he tests like one of the top edge rushers in this class.”

          Let’s see what you’ve got big fella!

          1. With DJ Jones on IR, I hope Sheldon Day and Kentavius Street can rotate at nose tackle.
            Let Solomon Thomas rotate with Armstead and Buckner to keep them fresh.
            Jack mentioned the high amount of snaps both Buckner and Armstead have been playing. They need rest, and I hope Thomas gets a sack.

    1. I think this score will be pretty spot on. If Atlanta score three times two will be in the first half. The team has great second half adjustments.

      1. Yeah, I can actually see them scoring the third later on to make it look closer than it is, too. Lot of injuries for the Niners but I think the offence starts big and takes them out of the game.

  6. Niner 41 (5 TD, 2 FG) – Falcons 17
    Justification/Analysis: Falcons are a Jekyll and Hyde team . They definitely get motivated when they play their South rivals. However , they did lose to the Rams, Cards and Seahawks averaging 20 points per game. Also a West coast game and grass field should slow them down. Niners O will open up with furious anger and the Falcons will desperately try to catch up – and fail. Ryan is a good QB but he is no Brees. He is cousins with McGlinchey though.

    Niners Baby.

  7. Remember this classic topic from May 2019? Did it ever stir things up…

    A sampling…

    Grant Cohn says:
    May 13, 2019 at 10:04 am

    I’d rank the 49ers around 20th out of 32 teams.

    ______ says:
    May 13, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    KS is no head coach. He lacks the organizational skills, gravitas, overall vision and maturity that you need to be a successful one. He is a coordinator; and, even at that, one who needs constant supervision. Harbaugh was not half the innovator that Shanahan is; but he was an infinitely better HC. Shanahan as HC is a misfit and the reason the team has not got effective coordinators or coaching staff. Something the organization has to have to coach up the talent. No one will take these jobs under someone that they couldn’t respect or look up to. It’s the Mike Singletary effect repeated. . This ownership promotes a culture of losing which permeates down through the rank and file.
    If the KS experiment has any chance of working, it requires a STRONG and effective general manager overseeing the operation, and attracting leadership talent. JL is a long way from fitting that description. Getting rid of him would be a first step in the right direction. We may see that happen at the end of this season. All that said, talented roster or not, the Niners certainly belong in the bottom third of the NFL hierarchy. 25th to 27th sounds about right. And they’ll be fortunate to finish third in their division; Arizona is a big unknown at this point.

    _____ says:
    May 13, 2019 at 10:08 am

    What’s missing is a huge intangible. Shanahan has never had a chance to install and run his offense with consistent personnel. If that happens, and yes it comes down to the health of key components to that system, then Peter King is right. A mid-level defense, maybe top 15, with an explosive offense that stays healthy, puts them at the top end of the NFC.

      1. Sebnynah, is it unfair to hold people accountable when proven wrong? That said, Grant was hardly the only pundit to underestimate the 49ers chances coming into this season.

        Nobody was harder on Grant than I was during the offseason, but in his defense, he’s been ahead of the curve with his analysis as the season has progressed, while recognizing the ways in which ShanaLych’s Niners have evolved along the way. Grant’s done a fantastic job in recognizing the ways in which the coaching staff has developed this young roster, as well as Kyle’s evolution as both a HC and play caller, over the course of this breakout season.

        The Niners are back, baby, and to his credit, Grant hasn’t made any excuses for their resurgence and success!

        1. 49, Cassie seems to want to troll, digging up past posts, from when the Niners were still 4-12.
          She should just be happy the Niners are doing so well, and jump on the bandwagon.
          EVERYONE was wrong about the Niners. I did not see a single post declaring they would be 11-2 at this point, except for the 19-0 crowd, and that was said in jest. Juan may have stated an 11-5 season, but that means they would have to lose their next 3 games, which I hope he does not want the Niners to do.
          She is a troll and a killjoy, with very little to say except snark. Why bring up past posts, except to needle Grant? We all could research past posts, (Ahem, Connor Cook) and and show how wrong some people were.
          The Niners are having a magical season, and we all need to cheer them on, and not attack Grant, and his blog site.

          1. Seb has now officially taken on the role of blog police and Grant’s security force.
            I already feel safe knowing that the only snarks allowed will be from the seb himself!

            1. Grant has validated my role on this blog.
              If you cannot handle it I suggest you see yourselves out before I launch a 18000 word essay on my next post.

              1. Oh my, I thought that every word counts for you…
                and yes, YOU seb, are the only one who needs validation on this blog!!!
                Bigly too!

              2. No, seb, you said that Grant took care of your alter ego.
                Are you saying that you are wrong?

                ps did you notice that it looks like I have a catfish too!
                Or was that you?

              3. I cannot tell the difference, and no wonder you have been so obdurate.
                If you think I would stoop so low to have created a catfish, after being afflicted by one, you are not as smart as I thought you were.

              4. Well of course you are still boss on that one since you had several aficionados doing you and you are right you only created some sock puppets to bolster your support.
                In which game do you predict that KS will use the fake punt?

              5. I do not think KS will need to do a fake punt, especially after watching the Saints fail in their attempt.
                I hope Wishnowsky does not punt.
                I do predict KS will be innovative and unpredictable. I hope he is balanced with the run and pass, and previously advocated running different plays out of the same set. Greg Cosell mentioned how impressed he was, about watching the Niners run different plays out of the same set.

          2. That’s classic Grant, Cassie.

            And Seb, while no one was declaring 11-2 no one was likening Shanahan to Singletary either. Oh wait, while you were pouting Shannie wasn’t resigning Kaep, someone was and they should have their face rubbed in it. Continuously, if possible. Keep them coming, Cassie.

            1. Rib, I just wanted the Niners to win, and Hoyer was not the answer, although you probably thought he was.
              Simpletary? I have never, ever compared KS to Simpletary.
              When JG fell into their laps, I have never advocated for the return of Kaep to the Niners, because the Niners got an accurate QB that can lead them to victory, and that is all I want. With the emergence of Lamar Jackson, mobile QBs are the wave of the future, and Kaep deserves to play due to his talents, but politics have caused him to be blackballed. However, I will just wish Kaep well if he ever gets a chance to play, and root for the Niners to obtain their 6th ring with JG.
              Rub my face in it? Sounds like you have a character flaw to be so mean and petty.
              BTW, Cassie is a giant lizard with bad breath.

              1. Rub my face in it

                Your face? I know everything is always all about you, but reading is fundamental. Rub it in the face of the one who was comparing Shannie with Singletary.

              2. Personally., I think Simpletary could not think his way out of a bag.
                While I do not think KS is a genus, he is very smart and innovative. He has devised some very clever, unpredictable plays. He has gotten the running game going, so the play actions are effective.
                When he was 4-12, he deserved criticism. He did have that bludgeoned look on his face when his poor game management cost him games during that 4-12 season. Even KS admits he should have won 3 more games that season, However, KS and Singletary are worlds apart as coaches.
                KS needs to improve his consistency, in having tight game management, but Singletary did not have a clue. He had a SB talented roster, and could not get to the playoffs.

        2. 49reasons, you are giving Grant way too much credit for his “conversion”. It was just a week or two ago he was sliming JG with the absurd claim that he’d rather take sacks than throw the ball away thus lessening his personal stats. That kind of sht is what Grant is reduced to in the face of the teams phenomenal success. Grant is lucky JG didn’t knock him on his @ss following that.

          1. Grant pulled a Lowell Cohn. Identified a weakness, then dared JG to prove him wrong.
            Lo and behold, JG threw a ball out of bounds. Causation, or serendipity?

            1. If that was Grant pulling a Lowell, I’m surprised Lowell didn’t end up like Jim Rome. There’s still a chance for Grant.

    1. “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding”: Proverbs 17:28

      1. I wish you would take your own advice.
        ‘ Better to remain silent, and be thought a fool, than to speak, and remove all doubt.’ -AL

  8. Here’s an interesting stat: Teams that have started with 4 scores on its first 4 possessions have been 44-0, until the Saints last Sunday.

  9. Even KS thinks this may be a trap game. Falcons have won 3 out of 5 games. They easily beat the Saints, then played them tough last time they met. They stomped the Panthers by almost 3 TDs. They are a top 10 offense.
    Maybe KS is feigning weakness, but with so many injuries, that is not hard to do. The Niners need to focus on this game, and not look forward to the division foes.
    If the Niners play with focused force, disciplined and in control, and if they can minimize the unforced errors, they have a good chance to win.
    KS needs to be on top of his game, with good clock and game management.

          1. So if the score is 24-23 then you will proclaim that you were wrong?
            Or did you put 2 scores out there just in case?

            1. I would be happy with a 1 point victory, because that would be a win, but I am predicting a score of Niners 28-20, something you are too afraid to do.

              1. In California, if you predict the weather will be exactly like the day before, you will be right 90% of the time.
                Guess you are afraid to be right 90% of the time.

              2. The odds are not good. However, if it gets over 100 mil, I think the chance of gaining 100 mil for an investment of 1 dollar is pretty cheap.
                Other poster are not afraid of making a prediction on the score.
                It will not hurt you to make a prediction. This is a sports blog, and they make predictions all the time.

              3. There is no requirement to enjoy football by predicting the score.
                By arbitrary attaching a feeling to it of fear, you are exposing yourself more than I ever could.

  10. Articles about Thomas and Day splitting time at NT to replace Jones

    I have worries about Thomas at nose guard. He’ll have to win with quickness/penetration. Too light in the loafers there.

    Guess the Falcon’s are a safe test, but since they’ve been testing Thomas at every position–even DE, why don’t they test Givens from the practice squad.

    Brian Baldinger’s Given analysis:


    1. Run D is my biggest concern… I think Street could fill in nicely there if he gets over the mental hurdles of his injuries… At least he provides some needed beef. Regardless, if the coverage tightens and the pass rush gets home I don’t think this game is close as long as they can slow or stop the run.

  11. I smell overconfidence….and that has a serious history with the niners….I call Atlanta 21….Niners 24…too many injuries for a walk-off….

  12. For once, I appear to have been correct in anticipating that Jimmy G would hit his stride only into the second half of the season. He also has 3 reliable pass catchers and a fourth (Bourne) whose reliability is improving steadily. In the last 4 games, here are his MVP-caliber stats:

    QB rating — 124 — First (NFL Rank)
    Completion — 74% — First
    Yards/attempt —- 9.8 —- First
    Plays of 25+ yds —- 12 — Tied second
    TD — 11 —- Third
    Pass yards —- 1191 —- Fourth

  13. Jimmy G on Bourne supremacy:
    “KB, he finds a space, man,” Garoppolo told reporters on Wednesday. “He’s a good, instinctive player who, if the initial play isn’t there or we’re a little off-schedule, he has no problem working, puts his hands up, all those little things that you do when the play breaks down. He’s phenomenal at it.” ?
    Bourne could be developing into Jimmy G’s Doug Baldwin…

  14. It’s quite wet and windy here in Sebastopol. Anyway, Shanahan should attempt a trick play by having Jimmy throw to a player on the sidelines. Show that play again and again, and when the defense is on to him, spring it in the 4th quarter for a long bomb inbounds.

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