Falcons struggling with tackling

The Falcons have a major weakness in tackling, and with four physical games remaining against NFC South rivals Carolina and Tampa Bay, the problem could potentially bring down the entire team.

Safety Bryan Scott is the worst offender, which is a shame considering that he's a well-liked teammate, a hard worker and a standup guy. His tendency to whiff, however, makes for a major weakness in the secondary because fellow safety Keion Carpenter usually plays so deep that opponents have made a first down by the time he arrives on the scene.

Left cornerback DeAngelo Hall also tries too often to take out the feet of ball carriers, a tactic that's exploited when they see him beforehand and jump out of the way.

"Teams are not going to lay down for us," said reserve linebacker Ike Reese, an eighth-year veteran in his first season with the Falcons. "We have to play well every week. ... Good teams come in and take care of their business and get out. To me, we are a good team, but at the same time, every once in a while you see where our maturity level is not where it needs to be."

On offense, fumbles are a glaring problem. Atlanta has fumbled nine times in the last two weeks -- losing five -- and four of them resulted in points for the Dolphins and Packers. The recent culprits were fullback Justin Griffith, running back Warrick Dunn, punt returner Allen Rossum, quarterback Michael Vick and rookie receiver Roddy White.

With the Buccaneers visiting the Georgia Dome this week, Atlanta must take better care on offense and create more problems for opponents on defense.

"We didn't do a good job (against Green Bay) of protecting the ball, and we didn't do a good job of taking the ball away," head coach Jim Mora said. "It's tough to win in this league when you do that, especially when you're playing Brett Favre. You keep giving him turns, and he's going to capitalize. He's the greatest of the greats."

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