Fifth year Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley Jr has a lot of pressure on him to perform in 2019. A big year means a big payday and a chance to turn naysayers into fans.
No one wants Vic Beasley Jr to be more successful than he does. The Atlanta Falcons defensive end knows what is riding on his shoulders in 2019. He understands that the fans of this childhood team are restless and want him to have a big year.
He does too.
Beasley dreamt about playing for the Falcons his entire life and knows that his time left in Atlanta could very well come to an end in less than six months. He also knows that he has failed to live up to the expectations that come with being drafted eighth overall. We have seen the flashes and even he has said he needs to be “more consistent”.
"“Again, it’s just consistency,” Beasley said of last year’s woes. “That’s what keeps you around this league: consistency. You had one great year. You have to get back to that. Any player in this league, if they’re not consistent, how do you gain trust with that individual?”"
Beasley is an easy target for folks, he is low hanging fruit for fans looking for something to complain about. There are those that question his 2016 season when he 15.5 sacks because he collected them in bunches, not on a weekly basis and he struggled in the post season that as the Falcons made a run to the Super Bowl.
While it easy to call Vic a bust and keep it moving, it is more difficult to look at context of his career. In his first four years, he has been dealt a bit of bad luck and coaches who have over thought where he should play.
As a rookie he came in to the league with a bad shoulder and played through that. He has had other injury issues throughout his career – hamstring, quad, shoulder and a few others. Sure, you can blame him, but that is simply bad luck. If you are going to “blame” anyone, why not start with the Falcons strength and conditioning staff? Again, no one is to blame for injuries, they happen in a violent game and unfortunately, they happen to some players more than others.
Then there was the switching of his positions in 2017 and putting him to cover more. Yes, he was used in coverage in college and was not new to the concept, but it was painful to watch in the NFL. Also, what coach thinks to themselves, lets take our NFL sack leader and change his position and move him away from the quarterback…. exactly.
There is enough “blame” to go around, but it is time to let that go and allow Vic to play 2019 and help lead the turnaround this defense is going to need in order to make their second Super Bowl appearance in four seasons.
Regardless of how Beasley gets to double-digit sacks in 2019, we should take them all and be glad that they are there.