Ten Questions from Seahawks.NET

In preparation for Sunday's Seattle-Atlanta matchup, Scout.com sites Seahawks.NET and FalconInsider.com give the inside skinny on both teams. Here, FI's Dean Legge answers ten questions from .NET's Doug Farrar.

.NET: Conventional wisdom on Michael Vick is that although his athleticism is without peer in NFL history at his position, there are still gaps between potential and production when it comes to his skills as a quarterback. Where are the Falcons with Vick’s progression? Are they happy with the (certainly effective) offense the way it is, or is there still a focus on Vick’s development?

FI: Atlanta seems pleased with where Vick is headed, but they are not totally satisfied with him yet. With Vick you get what you get – the most explosive player in the NFL. But many are quick to criticize him when he does not sit in the pocket like a traditional quarterback. He’s not a traditional quarterback, but he’s getting better at throwing the ball.

.NET: What really makes the offense go is the triple-threat rushing attack of Vick and running backs Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett. How are Dunn and Duckett used in the offense, and how much does Vick’s constant breakaway threat help the running game?

FI: Vick is another weapon in Atlanta’s power running game. Dunn is small and elusive, and Duckett is the bruiser that is used to score near the goal line. Dunn seems to set Duckett and the rest of the offense up. All three, “DVD”, have been very difficult to contain.

.NET: How about Atlanta’s receivers? Peerless Price was a disappointment, and now he’s in Dallas. Are the Falcons short one marquee receiver, or is the thought that 2005 first-round draft pick Roddy White will make the difference?

FI: Roddy White, as I have seen with my eyes during training camp, is the real deal. It will take some time for him to get going because he spent time hurt this summer. When he is fully ready to go Atlanta will be particularly dangerous. Price was a burden, and never produced like he should have. Him being gone is a good thing.

.NET: Atlanta’s offensive line has been coached by the renowned Alex Gibbs. How has his coaching made a difference on the line?

FI: It’s been hard to tell that he’s not been around as much – Atlanta’s line is still powerful. Gibbs was the offensive line coach last season, but has been moved into a consulting role.

.NET: Falcons defensive coordinator Ed Donatell is known for matching his personnel very well to the situation at hand. Certainly the defensive line looked very impressive against the Eagles. Tell us about the Falcons’ line and what the Seahawks need to watch for.

FI: The Seahawks need to watch for one of the best pairs of defensive ends in the NFL (Rod Coleman and Patrick Kearney). And while Atlanta’s ends may be easy to focus on, the middle of the defensive line is better than people think, but it still has a ways to go.

.NET: The corps of linebackers, including new addition Edgerton Hartwell, will hopefully have their hands full with Shaun Alexander. What skills and assets do each of the Falcons’ linebackers bring to the table?

FI: It starts with Hartwell, the middle linebacker, who is getting out of the shadows of Ray Lewis for the first time. Hartwell is a force in the middle. Keith Brooking’s annual Pro Bowl status speaks for itself and Demarrio Williams is coming along outside. Free agent Ike Reese brings a certain amount of intensity to linebacker, and also special teams.

.NET: Second-year CB DeAngelo Hall did a credible job covering Terrell Owens last week. On the downside, Kevin Mathis is lost for the season after an ACL injury. Is Atlanta’s secondary a strength?

FI: That’s a good question. Hall is a strength, but the Falcons’ secondary has question mark after question mark at safety. Many are still shaking their heads wondering why the Falcons didn’t go get a safety in the off-season.

.NET: What can you tell us about Etric Pruitt, recently acquired for Seattle’s practice squad and drafted by the Falcons in the sixth round of the 2004 draft?

FI: I’m not sure there is much to tell considering that he was cut from the team.

.NET: The Falcons seem to be a very well-run organization. What can you tell us about the philosophies of President and General Manager Rich McKay? How much did Tim Ruskell learn last year in the position of Assistant GM?

FI: McKay is trying to do what he did in Tampa – turn a perennial loser into a Super Bowl winner. Atlanta seems on the brink of another Super Bowl run, but it all depends on Vick. Ruskell learned at McKay’s side; it seems he would know what to do, but that’s yet to be seen.

.NET: One last question: What does head coach Jim Mora bring to the equation? What are his strengths and weaknesses?

FI: He is very passionate. I think the players like him, and want to win with him. Vick and Mora are close. I’m not certain of a glaring weakness because he’s not been around as a head coach long enough, and in that time he got the Falcons to the NFC Championship game. If you want to throw inexperience out there – maybe that could be the case, but that seems like a stretch.

Dean Legge is the Publisher of Dawgpost.com (Scout.com's excellent Georgia Bulldogs site), and FalconInsider.com, Scout's portal for Atlanta Falcons news. You can e-mail Dean here.

Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. You can e-mail him here.

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