Good morning! Welcome to The Cover 9@9 blog. It’s our weekly blog of nine things at 9 a.m. Wednesday that you need to know about the Atlanta Falcons (6-4). The defending NFC champion Falcons are set to face the Tampa Bay Bucs (6-4) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
1. SWAGGER IS BACK: It.took the Falcons awhile to find their 2017 identity, but back to back wins over teams that made it to the playoffs last season, has the defending NFC champions feeling pretty good.
“We are getting the outcomes that we wanted now,” wide receiver Julio Jones said. “It will breed more swagger and more confidence in guys.”
The win in Seattle, even without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, was impressive.
“We had to take advantage of the secondary,” Jones said. “They did a great job, but we were just trying to beat man-to-man.”
While the win was emotionally uplifting, Jones didn’t want to put too much stock in it with six games to play.
“It’s one game at a time,” Jones said. “It was Seattle. That game is over and done with.”
Jones was just repeating head coach Dan Quinn’s message, but the Falcons know where they stand in the NFC South race and the playoff race.
“We know there is a lot of football left,” cornerback Desmond Trufant said.
Quinn wanted no parts of discussing the team’s stretch run nor the division race.
“We know how tough our division is,” Quinn said. “That was the furthest thing from our mind (against Seattle.) We were absolutely 100 percent on the fight that we were in. We’ve got another one ahead this week.”
2. TRUFANT WANTED TO SCORE: Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant wanted to score on his 43-yard interception return.
“I got the pick, but I should have scored,” Trufant said. “I won’t talk about that.”
Trufant, who is a native of Tacoma, Washington, had about 25 to 30 people on hand for the game.”
3. SHELBY ON THE DEFENSE SCORING: Falcons defensive end/tackle Derrick Shelby had two tackles against the Seahawks. He loved seeing Adrian Clayborn score a touchdown.
“You love it,” Shelby said. “You just love it when your fellow (defensive) linemen do well because it motivates you to go out there and do well and make a play.”
4. SANU’S ONE-HANDED CATCH: Quarterback Matt Ryan didn’t get a. chance to see Mohamed Sanu’s one-handed touchdown catch. He got leveled on the play.
“I saw it on the screen afterwards,” Ryan said. “It was a great catch by Mo. I see it all the time in practice.”
5. WILSON WAS DAZZLING: Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson became the third straight quarterback to score a rushing touchdown against the Falcons. Dallas Dak Prescott and Carolina’s Cam Newton also had touchdown runs against the Falcons.
“He’s a tough competitor to go against,” Ryan said. “He makes some unbelievable plays. His ability to extend plays and keep plays alive, you hate going against it. It’s impressive to see.
“I thought our defense played tough the entire night. He made some unbelievable plays. Right before the field goal, you just never know if they are going to go in or not go it. Obviously, you are hoping that it doesn’t go in. That’s what I was thinking at the time.”
6. FREEMAN UPATE: Falcons coach Dan Quinn said that running back Devonta Freeman remains in the concussion protocol and had no update on his status.
7. JALEN COLLINS WAIVED: The Atlanta Falcons have waived cornerback Jalen Collins, a former second round pick, who who served a 10-game suspension for using performing enhancing drugs, on Tuesday.
Collins was selected in the second round by the Falcons in 2015. He has seen action in 24 games with eight starts over two years.
Last season, he recorded two interceptions and 31 total tackles – 28 solo, and 10 passes defensed.
He was suspended for four games to start the 2016 season, but ended up starting in Super Bowl LI.
8. ROBERTS TO DISNEY: Reggie Roberts, who was an executive with the Falcons for 11 years, was recently named sports public relations manager for Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
Roberts was the Falcons vice president of football communications from 2004-15.
He will handle and be heavily involved with the youth sports programs, the Atlanta Braves, the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl and bigger theme park openings Toy Story Land in 2018 and Star Wars Land in 2019.
Before joining the Falcons, Roberts was director of communications for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1997-2002 after serving as the director of NFC information for the National Football League from 1990-97.
Before moving in the public relations and communications field, Roberts was a sportswriter for the Austin American-Statesman.
9. FAMILY TO GROW: The Falcons nest is about to get bigger.
Matt Ryan’s wife, Sarah, announced on social media Tuesday that the couple are expecting their first child – make that children. The wife of the Falcons quarterback wrote that the couple is expecting twins, according to the post.
Sarah posted a picture of the couple with a No. 2 balloon to announced the arrivals in April.