RENTON — The stats show a Falcons defense that has struggled mightily under coach Dan Quinn, but Russell Wilson says he has gotten a much different picture watching film in preparation for the Seahawks’ game Sunday at Atlanta.
“When you turn on the film of their defense, they’re flying around and they got guys all over the field,” Wilson said Thursday. “They’ve got great talent — obviously, they’re hurt in the secondary with certain guys out the past several weeks — but they have a lot of great players. It’s tough to figure out why it hasn’t gone their way this season.”
The Falcons are allowing 31.9 points per game, second most in the NFL, and 274 yards passing a game, fifth worst in the league. Combine those numbers with the 1-6 record and it’s no wonder the pressure is on Quinn, the former Seahawks defensive coordinator who added that role with the Falcons this season.
“We’re trying to work like hell to get fundamentals right, techniques right,” Quinn told reporters Tuesday. “It’s been different topics. We haven’t forced many takeaways. We’ve had games (when) we had a lot of fouls and we had some where tackling was poor. More than anything, when you’re not playing as well as you’d like, you want to go right back to the fundamentals to get that part squared away, because if that’s not right, nothing else can be. That’s the big emphasis for us.”
Wilson, who said he has great respect for Quinn and his work ethic from when he was the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator in the 2013-14 seasons, expects Quinn to come up with a defensive game plan this week.
“He’s studying everything that we’re doing, what we’ve done in the past and he’s also studying how to get his players going because they have a lot of great players,” Wilson said. “We just have to be ready because I know he is a tremendous football coach and a great person too.”
Wilson has faced Atlanta three times since Quinn took over as coach of the Falcons in 2015 after helping the Seahawks win a Super Bowl and get there again the next season.
In 2016, Wilson and the Seahawks beat Atlanta 26-24 during the regular season at CenturyLink Field, but the Falcons ended the Seahawks’ season with a 30-16 home win in the playoffs. The Falcons beat the Seahawks 34-31 at CenturyLink in the 2017 regular season.
Wilson was solid in all three of those games, despite winning just one. He went a combined 68 of 109 for 753 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception. He also has had success rushing against the Falcons, with 142 yards rushing in 19 carries in those three games.
Quinn knows Wilson and his abilities better than most opposing coaches, and he has been impressed that Wilson has been able to raise his game to another level, when the previous level was already pretty high.
“That’s one of the things that I really admired about him is that when you’re already ripping it at an early age, how do you keep from plateauing?” Quinn said. “OK, you need a really good player and taking the next step into the great stuff. That’s what you’re seeing Russ do. I would say it’s the accuracy, having real awareness for all of the things, whether it’s blitz looks, pressure looks, situational football where he’s just so on it in those spaces. I’d say all those things.”
Ifedi (knee) misses practice
Starting right tackle Germain Ifedi (knee) was a new addition to the team’s injury report Thursday and did not practice. Left tackle Duane Brown, who has been out with a biceps injury, again practiced on a limited basis, as did his replacement, George Fant (shoulder).
Joining Ifedi in missing all of Thursday’s practice were safety Lano Hill (elbow) and defensive end Quinton Jefferson (oblique).
The others limited at practice were cornerback Tre Flowers (neck), defensive end Ziggy Ansah (ankle), safety Quandre Diggs (hamstring) and safety Bradley McDougald.
Wilson (knee) was once again a full participant as was guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring).
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (ankle) missed practice again on Thursday, and his status for Sunday’s game remains uncertain.