Getting after the quarterback has been a bigger problem for the Atlanta Falcons than anyone wants to admit.
Originally, this was intended to be an article on whether or not the Atlanta Falcons could get to 40 sacks as a defensive unit in 2020. Upon further review, can they even get to 30 sacks seems to be a bigger question and that is a huge problem.
After going through all of the Atlanta Falcons defensive stats, the franchise has not recorded 40 or more sacks in a season since 2004 when they had 48 on the season. That year Patrick Kerney and Roderick Coleman both had double-digit sacks for the Falcons; Kerney with 13 and Coleman had 11.5.
Under the leadership of Dan Quinn, the Atlanta Falcons have had seasons of 19, 34, 39, 37, and 28 sacks respectively. Even in 2016 when Vic Beasley led the league in sacks, the Falcons still managed just 34 on the year.
Looking back to the 2010 NFL season, here are the number of sacks that the Super Bowl winner had during the regular season.
- 2010 Packers – 47 sacks
- 2011 Giants – 48 sacks
- 2012 Ravens – 37 sacks
- 2013 Seahawks – 44 sacks
- 2014 Patriots – 40 sacks
- 2015 Broncos – 52 sacks
- 2016 Patriots – 34 sacks
- 2017 Eagles – 38 sacks
- 2018 Patriots – 30 sacks
- 2019 Chiefs – 45 sacks
With rare exceptions, Super Bowl-winning teams get after the quarterback and the Patriots were the exception to that rule. While the Patriots did not get to the quarterback as often as other teams, they still a defense that was among the league’s best in scoring. It also did not hurt to have the greatest quarterback and head coach in the history of the game.
Since general manager Thomas Dimitroff was in charge of assembling the Falcons roster, the franchise has had just two seasons where they recorded at least 35 sacks in a season. That simply won’t get the job done and is something that owner Arthur Blank should stop tolerating.
With the additions of former first-round picks Dante Fowler, Deone Bucannon, and Charles Harris, the Atlanta Falcons are betting that 2020 will see more success than in recent years, and hopefully that will result in a spike of quarterback sacks.