May 26, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley (44) warms up on the field during OTA at Falcons Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
By now, we know how much the Falcons’ pass rush struggled last season. It wasn’t pretty — the unit ranked 32nd stopping the pass, and was tied for 30th in sacks (22).
Oct 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) slips away from Houston Texans linebacker Brooks Reed (58) at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
In a division with so many strong quarterbacks, you simply can’t give them time in the pocket. Dan Quinn knows this and is committed to changing it.
The Falcons first made some nice acquisitions via free agency. Defensive ends Adrian Clayborn and O’Brien Schofield were brought in, as were linebackers Justin Durant and Brooks Reed. Former Seahawk Allen Bradford was also brought in.
This group won’t be able to crank up the sack total on their own, although they will contribute. The key piece to the offseason puzzle was first round pick Vic Beasley. Beasley knows a thing or two about hitting the quarterback — he happens to be Clemson’s all-time sack leader.
When Beasley is let lose on offenses, they will have to be prepared. He is incredibly fast off the snap, which immediately puts blockers on the back foot. Beasley can beat lineman in a number of ways. His quick feet and change of direction will burn linemen who over commit, but he also has the ability to simply beat them round the corner.
As a whole, this unit now looks much healthier, and they should be able to significantly increase their sack tally, especially in Dan Quinn’s scheme.
Next: No. 3