Pass rush didn’t bode well in the Atlanta Falcons’ preseason win over the Washington Redskins
One of the things that fans expected out of the hiring of Dan Quinn at the end of the 2014 season was to have an improved defense.
And while statistically it was, one thing got worse.
The Falcons went from giving up 398 yards per game (the most in the NFL) in 2014 to giving up 347 which was good enough for 16th best.
However, they dropped from 22 sacks in 2014 to a league-worst 19 in 2015.
Atlanta has been a bottom feeder when it comes to sacking the quarterback for quite some time now. They have not been ranked inside the top 20 in sacks since the 2011 season in which they finished tied for 19th with 33 sacks.
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Here we are heading into a new season and it appears as if the pass rush is still in shambles. Atlanta failed to apply hardly any pressure from the first or second stringers in their preseason win over the Washington Redskins. And as a result, a lot of easy receptions were given up.
It’s expected to see some rust in the first preseason game of the season, but there wasn’t much to be excited about when it came to rushing the passer.
Vic Beasley is now in year two and he isn’t looking all that much better than he did as a rookie. Beasley led the team with just 4.5 sacks in 2015 and is now making the switch over to strong side linebacker. And so far, it doesn’t seem to be helping his pass rushing cause all that much.
Beasley did line up with a hand in the dirt on several occasions against Washington but got bullied more times than not by the right tackle. Only one time did Beasley make a play on the quarterback and that was on a stunt to the middle which forced an incompletion.
Beasley still needs a lot of work before he’s as good as everyone says he can be and luckily for us, he will have all-pro rusher Dwight Freeney to teach him for this season.
Freeney didn’t see any playing time against Washington after being with the team for just a week, but is still expected to be a big part of what the Falcons do. Having a guy with the skill-set of Freeney is huge for moral, but he won’t be able to do it all. The Falcons will need a collection of others to contribute as well.
The Falcons have several role players that all need to contribute this season. Adrian Clayborn, Brooks Reed, Derrick Shelby and RaShede Hageman will all see snaps at the defensive end position and need to be effective. And that has yet to be seen.
There are still three more preseason games to go, so hopefully we will see a little bit more out of the pass rushers before they lace up the cleats for week one against Tampa Bay. It isn’t time to panic just yet, but it’s definitely not something you should shrug off, either.