Falcons' defense looking for focus vs. Giants
It's uncertain if Chris Hope will start for the second straight week at strong safety. William Moore, who intercepted New Orleans star Drew Brees twice in Atlanta, was sidelined against Carolina with a sore hamstring.
Moore missed practice again on Thursday, and Samuel was limited.
DeCoud, however, could sense other factors at play last week, too.
Maybe it's because the Falcons were coming off a big win over the Saints to become the first NFC team to earn a playoff spot, but DeCoud believed the team was emotionally flat.
"Yes, you can be close to perfect, but there are going to times where the ball's not going to bounce in your favor," DeCoud said. "I'd say it was a combination of that and us not really having any energy and kind of going through the motions. If we can get that turned around and make sure we have our passion and energy up and in full swing, be sound in our techniques and assignments, I think things will fall in our favor."
Atlanta's defense struggled on third down all afternoon — a problem that must be corrected against the Giants. Led by quarterback Eli Manning, New York is third in the NFL in points scored.
But Sean Weatherspoon believes Nolan will help the Falcons fix their flaws before they become a problem.
As Weatherspoon says, there's a reason that Atlanta is for fifth in average points.
"We're the same guys that made those plays when we had to," Weatherspoon said. "We're the same guys that got five picks off of Drew Brees, guys that overcame five interceptions to win a game (against Arizona), guys that got four picks in the first quarter off of Peyton Manning. We've got to get back to the things that made us successful."
NOTES: Coach Mike Smith said WR Roddy White won't test his sore right knee until Sunday. White hasn't practiced this week and is not expected to participate on Friday. White, whose 292 catches since the start of 2010 rank second in the league, has never missed a game in his eight-year career.
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