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Dolphins vs. Falcons: Interview with Atlanta Writer Michael Foster

Pressuring Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan will be key on Sunday for Jared Odrick and the Dolphins’ defensive line.

Please welcome in Bleacher Report’s Michael Foster to shed some light on the Miami Dolphins’ Week 3 opponent, the Atlanta Falcons.

Besides being a Falcons featured columnist, Michael has also had his work published in the Marietta Daily Journal, Cherokee Tribune, Augusta Chronicle, Tuscaloosa News and Kansas City Star, covering a variety of sports.

Follow him on twitter and visit his Bleacher Report profile for more coverage of Sunday’s game. My interview with Michael is below:

Dolphins Gab: The Falcons are dealing with several key injuries this week. Who is their biggest loss and why?

Michael Foster: Kroy Biermann’s absence will hurt the most, simply because the Falcons defense was re-constructed to work with his skill set. He was the Swiss army knife of the defense, if you will. He was beginning to show some signs of being a solid pass rusher for the Falcons, which was something they needed.

DG: Which player do you expect to step up the most given Atlanta’s shaky health?

MF: Jason Snelling. I’ve always thought, sans Steven Jackson, that he was the best running back on the roster. He was better than Turner and Rodgers for two years, but Mike Smith always had loyalty to Turner and Rodgers was the best fit for third down. Snelling runs with a real purpose and brings energy to the running game. Finally, this is his opportunity to shine again.

DG: How big of an issue could the Falcons’ struggles along the offensive line be against a Dolphins pass rush that has already produced 9.0 sacks?

MF: Huge. Cameron Wake is probably licking his chops right now. The Falcons offensive line has proven to get worn out as games go on, which is reflective of how the team struggles to keep its foot on the gas. The way they went up 24-3 on the Rams and then struggled the rest of the game was deja vu of last year’s playoff performances. This offensive line is B-level at best, and they’re protecting a $100 million quarterback. It’s frustrating for fans. As the season goes in, it will gel more, but early on you can see the holes.

DG: If you were the Dolphins’ defensive coordinator, how exactly would you go about slowing down Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s passing attack?

MF: First off, don’t worry too much about Roddy. For two weeks Atlanta has put him on the field, but mainly as a decoy. He’s recovering from a high ankle sprain. St. Louis still managed to spread the defense and leave their defensive backs one-on-one with Julio Jones, which is suicide. Make Roddy beat you right now, because he probably won’t. Other than that, it’s all about just getting a good push up front. As great as Matt Ryan is, he isn’t a guy who will extend plays that much, so disruption in the trenches is his worst enemy.

DG: Finally, give me your prediction for Sunday’s game. Final score?

MF: Atlanta is dealing with a lot of adversity right now. I think they’re eventually going to be the best playoff-team version of the Falcons we’ve seen, once January rolls around, but right now their wheels are kind of stuck in the mud. One thing I will say is that this Falcons defense has some swagger, despite what the pundits might say. With Weatherspoon and Biermann out, I’m expecting a chip-on-shoulder attitude from some guys like Jopla Bartu, Akeem Dent, Robert Alford and maybe even Biermann’s replacement, Jonathan Massaquoi. I’m going to pick Atlanta’s defense to actually make the plays against Tannehill and take the cake, 21-10.


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