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Mailbag: Too Much Cushion For Julio? Problems With The Game Plan?

STUART ANDREWSWHEATON, IL
In Rod Marinelli's defensive scheme, why do the cornerbacks give 5-8 yards of cushion?  More specifically, why didn't Rod Marinelli double cover Julio Jones and "jam" him off the line?

Bryan: The Falcons did a nice job of moving Jones around and putting him in positions to make plays which he did. There were snaps where both Carr and Claiborne played him press but like you said – not nearly enough. When they did double him – the safety was generally out of position or the ball was in his hands before the double had a chance to react.

David:I've got to give my guy Bryan credit for predicting exactly how the Falcons would use Julio Jones. He obviously torched the Dallas secondary, but it's not like Atlanta was taking deep shots down the field. He had a few deep receptions, but for the most part he was catching passes right near the line. Maybe the Cowboys could have slowed him down had they jammed him more, but my guess is they wanted to keep Jones in front of them and not allow him to turn broken tackles into big plays.

JOHN BUIORANGE, CA
*Was it Brandon Weeden or the play call/strategy to play underneath and try not to stretch the field or test the corners against Atlanta?  Is this more about confidence or lack thereof on Brandon or on our WRs? *

Bryan: The game plan was to attack this defense underneath. Dunbar, Witten and Randle all had success catching the ball. I didn't feel like the game plan was trying to restrict Weeden, but he was taking what this Falcons defense was giving him. With all that being said – the receivers didn't do a good enough job of winning on the outside and that restricted what they could do.

David:Honestly, for the most part I thought the game plan was pretty smart. The Cowboys moved the ball really well before halftime, and they had success running and throwing. The problems arose when Atlanta adjusted, and I just don't think the Cowboys did enough to back the Falcons off the line of scrimmage. There wasn't even a hint of a threat more than 10 or so yards down the field.

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