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zhangzk
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Posted: July 04 2019,11:20

One by one Youth Charles Leno Jerseys , each of the team’s key offensive contributors faced the same fate as the cold, unfeeling, and unstoppable Matt Ryan." Podcast on The FalcoholicContact The FalcoholicFalcons StoriesScheduleRosterStatsYahoo Falcons NewsYahoo Falcons Team PageYahoo Falcons ReportYahoo Falcons Depth ChartYahoo Falcons TransactionsYahoo Falcons PhotosOdds About Masthead Community Guidelines StubHub &#10005;Matt Ryan and the rise of the White WalkersNew,14commentsOne by one, each of the team’s key offensive contributors faced the same fate as the cold, unfeeling, and unstoppable Matt Ryan.EDTShareTweetShareShareMatt Ryan and the rise of the White WalkersFlashback to Week 2, after Atlanta’s win against the Carolina Panthers“So in conclusion, that’s why you should exclusively eat Zaxby’s, as it is the official chicken of the Atlanta Falcons and the most delicious meal you can imagine,” Dan Quinn said as he was ending his post-game address to the Falcons. It was customary, after all. Jake Matthews, the team’s left tackle, raised his hand following Quinn’s speech. This was the first post-game victory speech of the new season, and the head coach had just spent 15 minutes promoting Zaxby’s, but that wasn’t what Matthews was worried about.“Uhh coach, why does Matt Ryan look like a white zombified version of himself, with crystal blue eyes? And why is the room temperature 32 degrees when it’s 90 outside?” a shivering Matthews asked. Ryan, having just passed for 272 passing yards and accounting for four touchdowns for the first time in two years, stood in the corner of the room with a blank expression on his face.A week earlier, Ryan had returned to Flowery Branch, following his Week 1 sacrifice, as a White Walker version of himself. He was an unstoppable force and was zombified by the Great Metal Falcon as part of a deal Dan Quinn had made with the beast.“Don’t ask questions,” replied a visibly vexed Dan Quinn. He hated when his dark arts were called into question by anybody. “This is precisely the reason why I had Matt transform Steve Sarkisian into a White Walker the night before this game,” Quinn thought to himself. “His play-calling has never looked better, and those red zone plays were more satisfying than a wholesome meal at Zaxby’s... Wait, that gives me an idea.”Following that interaction, Quinn dismissed everyone from the room and asked Ryan and Matthews to stay back so that he could talk to them privately. When everyone had left the room got dark, it was actually pitch black for a second. When the lights turned back on they were in Dan Quinn’s cavernous office at the Flowery Branch facility.“How did you do that?” asked a visibly terrified Matthews. Ropes propelled from the ceiling and floor and wrapped around the left tackle’s ankles and wrists, suspending him in the air. “What is this? What’s going on?!” Quinn looked into Matthews’ eyes, and in that moment, Matthews saw the evil that had been around him all along. How could he have been so oblivious?“You’re right about Matt Ryan not being himself. He’s now my ultimate weapon. With the loss of Keanu Neal and Deion Jones, I couldn’t afford to have the offense look the way it did last season, so desperate times called for desperate measures,” replied Quinn.“I’m going to need more than just a quarterback to complete my mission, however. I need an army of what Matt Ryan is, and you’re going to be the first soldier in that army Charles Leno Jerseys Stitched ,” added the head coach.With that remark, Ryan went over to the struggling Matthews, placed his cold hand on his head, and in the next few seconds Jake Matthews’ eyes turned into a crystalized blue. Quinn laughed maniacally.Over the course of the next few days, he would call in all of his major offensive weapons — Julio Jones, Alex Mack, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley, Tevin Coleman — and have them suffer the same fate as Matthews at the hands of a cold, unfeeling Matt Ryan.One thing Quinn would come to realize in the coming weeks was that even these White Walker powers wouldn’t help Julio Jones regain the touchdown instincts that were taken from him by Nick Saban, who used that DNA to create Calvin Ridley.There were limits on Ryan’s powers, as stipulated by the Giant Metal Falcon — he couldn’t add the entire team, or even the entire offense, into a zombified army, so Quinn would make do with what he had. The defensive players would be kept human for the sake of the weekly sacrifice.Their sites set on Ser Andrew Dalton of the red house in the coming days. Quinn could only hope that his newfound army on offense would outweigh the sacrifice fodder that was the defense throughout the rest of the season.This offense would be unstoppable wherever they played, except for the state of Pennsylvania, where all of the stadiums were made from Valyrian Steel — a white walker’s lone weakness.Big-game hunting: Khalil Mack completes the Bears defense, and he knows it The Bears defense has undeniably made significant progress in the three years since general manager Ryan Pace took over. It’s gone from a scrappy, well-coached unit that once featured Shea McClellin, Demontre Hurst, and Tracy Porter, to one anchored by Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, and Leonard Floyd. Pace and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio have been patient to carefully craft their defensive puzzle with each successive off-season, and for the most part they’ve done well.Yet for as much as progress as they made with a defense that finished in the top 10 in yards allowed in 2017 and No. 14 overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, it always felt like there was something missing. The Bears had playmakers at every level in Hicks, Floyd, Fuller, and Danny Trevathan. They possessed solid starters in Prince Amukamara and Adrian Amos. They featured young up-and-comers such as Eddie Jackson and Eddie Goldman. But they were good, not great. The Bears had enough to occasionally bully terrible quarterbacks and maintain pride, but not enough to flex their muscles as they pleased on elite offenses. The Bears unfortunately lacked that one signifying and distinguishing element. They had Floyd on the edge and a bunch of guys such as Sam Acho more suited as depth than anything an NFL offensive coordinator lost sleep over. Enter Khalil Mack, a one-man wrecking crew and a ball of pure, concentrated fury.Quiet confidenceThe Bears’ trade for Mack did a lot of good to spark optimistic feelings about them. His presence alone takes Chicago’s rising defense that was stuck in place to the stratosphere. Mack makes this Bears unit one that can win games by itself, with minimal offensive play in account. On paper, this is a matchup-proof gauntlet that can only be overcome by football’s truly gifted quarterbacks.The 27-year-old superstar thrilled to be “wanted” and supported adequately, adamantly knows it. “It’s just that feeling that they’re excited to have you, and just understanding what’s going on over here right now Youth Kyle Fuller Jerseys ,” Mack said in his introductory press conference at Halas Hall on Sunday. “It’s an exciting time to be a Chicago Bear. You have young talent, and on the defensive side of the ball, you definitely have some dogs. I’m looking forward to getting out there with them dogs.”Who are those dogs exactly, according to Mack?“I met Akiem [Hicks] this morning,” he said. “You talk about Leonard [Floyd], speed off the edge. Kyle Fuller, he’s a corner that comes up and tackles like a linebacker. You’ve got those guys that are definitely some dogs.”Mack is rightfully credited for being a pass rushing beast of which is largely unmatched. What he doesn’t get enough praise for is his self-awareness. His willingness to learn on the fly and capacity to adapt to fresh circumstances without a hitch. It’s why he’s at the top of his field, and why he can be the Bears’ football Godzilla. “I’ve always thought of myself as the best defensive player in the league and I want to play like the best defensive player in the league,” said Mack. “I just want to be the best at what I do.”An unstoppable force matched with an unstoppable objectMack gives the Bears a pass rush they haven’t had in decades. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesLet’s say the two-time First-team All-Pro, 2016 Defensive Player of the Year, and the only player to ever be named First-Team All-Pro at two positions in the same season (outside linebacker and defensive end in 2016) in Mack is the best defensive player in the NFL as he professes. What kind of a ripple effect does a player of that caliber have on the Bears’ defense across the board? You can’t begin to properly measure his impact.Akiem Hicks, an arguable All-Pro level player himself, is no longer the center of attention for offensive coordinators. One of the best pass rushing 3-4 defensive ends in existence with 15.5 sacks in the last two seasons is going to see an abundance of one-on-ones moving forward. That’s what happens when focus is diverted towards Mack’s all-encompassing power. If you safely assume Mack is double-teamed almost every pass play (as he should be), then that leaves Hicks on an island to take care of business on the same side. If for whatever reason an offense double-teams Hicks instead of Mack, then good luck. If an offense elects to double-team both Hicks and Mack in a max protective scheme, they’ve limited their own playbook severely and are letting Leonard Floyd go to work: the one Bear who stands to benefit most from Mack as a better second fiddle than primary edge option. That increased pressure of three pass rushing dynamos offers the Bears what every great defense needs: a trio of studs that harasses quarterbacks to no end. The stellar Jaguars (Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, and Malik Jackson) and Vikings (Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Sheldon Richardson), who both led the NFL in most defensive statistics last year, each have this dynamic. Their pass rush prowess allows Jacksonville and Minnesota to freely rush four players without sacrificing defensive integrity by blitzing. It allows them to be elite defenses because they can play straight up and let their talent take over, instead of trying to outwit opponents. With Mack in the fold, the Bears can share the Jaguars and Vikings’ company in this facet. You can game-plan for one pass rusher quite easily in the NFL. Throw a double his way every now and then, done. You can account for two pass rushers too, albeit with more effort. No problem. With three buzzsaws like Mack, Hicks, and Floyd, you’re working overtime to put in failsafe after failsafe after failsafe. Even then, your plan may not come to fruition as the trio breaks your game. Assuredly, Hicks understands this sentiment perfectly. He’s about to have a much more leisurely time on the football field with Mack lined up next to him. “He’s the type of player that makes everybody’s job easier,” said Hicks. Takeaways and more takeawaysAmukamara should have more takeaways than just fumbles in the snow. Photo by David Banks/Getty ImagesFuller, Jackson, Amukamara, and Amos are solid, sometimes good players when playing together. However, no one will confuse these defensive backs for being elite. The way you elevate that kind of back-end is by making them work that much less thanks to a sinkhole-swallowing pass rush. If great quarterbacks elevate the play of okay receivers on offense Kyle Fuller Jerseys Stitched , great pass rushers like Mack elevate the play of adequate secondary members on defense. Chicago has, to put it lightly, struggled in recent years to generate much of any turnovers, setting bars for a record-low amount of interceptions in 2016 and 2017. No other NFL team has less takeaways than the Bears’ 50 total since 2015. It’s been a never-ending storyline that won’t go away until they enjoy more success in that department. You can’t be a great defense if you don’t take the ball away. That fact goes double for Amukamara as he hasn’t caught an interception since 2015, and for Amos, who has one pick in his three-year career. Two players perennially snakebitten. Their collective failures to make plays on the ball aren’t going to happen anymore if Mack has anything to say, simply with an increased sheer volume of chances from pressured quarterbacks. This is a Bears defense that should force the issue more often than not. As a member of this Bears secondary who made a bold 10-interception prediction in training camp, Amukamara is ecstatic about how Mack can assist him in reaching for the stars.“Those 10 picks are looking a little bit more promising,” said Amukamara. Running free like the windMack gets after running backs too, don’t worry. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty ImagesWhere Mack doesn’t get enough credit beyond burying passers is his run defense. Fun fact: Mack is the NFL’s leader in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage since his arrival in 2014. The reality is that there isn’t a more disciplined and more aggressive edge defender against the run than Mack. He’s arguably an even better run defender than he is a pass rusher, making him a complete, well-rounded talent with virtually no weakness. This crucial note translates to the play of Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith, the Bears’ embattled inside linebackers for different reasons. Mack’s all-worldly proficiency at setting the edge and eating space being added to Hicks and Eddie Goldman up front, means the occasions where Trevathan and Smith have to directly take on blocks against the run will come sparingly. The best way to have quality linebacker play is by giving them clean lanes to the ballcarrier. Even the greatest of all-time needed their front four to clear paths. It’s easier said than done. Thanks to Mack the Bears should have no issue facilitating those routes for Trevathan and Smith. Two players in the middle able to play with reckless abandon from sideline to sideline without worry of being consistently erased by 300-plus pound men. If there was anxiety about Smith’s ability to take on blocks coming out of Georgia, those worries should be at a hush now. A changed cultureFor four years, Khalil Mack wreaked havoc upon AFC quarterbacks with no regard for their well-being. For four years, he made it his personal mission to put the Raiders defense on his back as he morphed into one of the NFL’s most mystifying defensive players. That man, that powerful, commanding, imposing presence of a man in Mack, is now in Chicago set to play for the Bears defense. Set to become a nightmare, and a face of the franchise the Bears haven’t had on defense since Brian Urlacher. Hell, a face of the franchise they haven’t had on either side of the ball in a long time. Unlike in Oakland where he was expected to lift the Raiders’ defense on his incredibly defined shoulders week in and week out, Mack’s part of a Bears defense that can let him shine individually with less pressure on him all around. And who knows? Maybe the ceiling Mack gives this Bears defense is higher than anyone cares to believe. “That’s what I want to be a part of here,” Mack said. “The 1985 Bears defense, just thinking about those days, seeing all the NFL Films and just reminiscing about those times, you want to bring those times back to the present.”Robert is an editor, writer, and producer for Windy City Gridiron, The Rock River Times, The Athletic Chicago, and a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski and reach him by email at robertpoduski@gmail.com.
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