The pressure on the Atlanta Falcons defense has been raised.
The Atlanta Falcons defense already had a huge weight on its shoulders. They’ve been the biggest problem for the team over the past couple of seasons and very rarely have won games for the team. So the last thing the Falcons D needed, was a weird offseason with no preseason games.
The talk about preseason is so often the chemistry the quarterback finds with the offense and play calling. At this stage of their careers, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones have it down. They could hit certain routes in their sleep.
That chemistry can be worked on in practice. Ryan and Jones have seen just about every coverage you can throw at them.
But the Falcons defense, especially their secondary is quite young. And although he’s been with the team for a few years, this will be Raheem Morris’ first time as the defensive coordinator. That, too, takes adjustment.
Morris has the skill and the experience, there’s no question about that, but for young guys like A.J. Terrell and even players like Deion Jones, there needs to be a period for them to get on the same page.
Atlanta Falcons on the front and back end of the defense have to show up in 2020
The Falcons are going to be leaning on guys like Isaiah Oliver, A.J. Terrell, and Kendall Sheffield. They also need to see just how healthy Keanu Neal is. And they are replacing De’Vondre Campbell and Vic Beasley. That’s a lot of new faces on a unit that can’t afford to be a weak link.
It’s no secret offense has been the Falcons’ calling card for the past few years, but that window could be shrinking as Jones and Ryan continue to age.
And no matter how lax rules get in the NFL, defense still wins championships. Except the Falcons just need their defense to be average. And at best, above average. They have enough offensive firepower to stay in games.
Last year, they lost five games putting up more than 20 points and two games putting up more than 30. That’s the difference in a playoff spot and watching from the couch with the rest of us.
As hands-on as Dan Quinn likes to be, we are going to see what he and this coaching staff are really all about. Quinn has brought in military members, NBA executives, and a different atmosphere to Atlanta.
But this year will be a challenge and if the gimmicks don’t translate into results, well, maybe it’s time to clean house. With the wackiness of this offseason, we will find out what this defense is really all about.