Everybody will be expected to blitz
If a player is on the field then don’t be surprised if Pees sends him after the quarterback. How do we know this? He told us. In an interview with 92.9 The Game, Pees made it clear why people shouldn’t underestimate the Atlanta Falcons’ ability to get pressure.
"We heard the same thing when we went to Tennessee, we have no pass rush. And yet we were a good 3rd down defense and got a lot of pressure. We need smart guys & we got smart guys. We’re going to come from everywhere every week, so hang on."
Nolan regularly dialed up blitzes to generate pressure for the same reasons. The current defense has two productive pass rushers in Grady Jarrett and Dante Fowler. The hope is that the likes of Marlon Davidson and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner can step up but that shouldn’t be the expectation.
Similarly, Nolan had John Abraham and Jonathan Babineaux and was hoping that, in the right situation, Kroy Biermann and Vance Walker could produce.
In both situations, the linebackers play a crucial part. Sean Weatherspoon did a good job when called upon, and Stephen Nicholas was competent, but Dean Pees will have more to work with at the position.
Deion Jones and Foye Oluokun are both versatile and dynamic playmakers who are capable of putting pressure on quarterbacks, while Mykal Walker was a productive pass rusher in college.
Disguise will be key for the Atlanta Falcons defense
It’s easy to remember the bad times with Mike Nolan’s defense – the overcomplications and trying so hard to hide his intentions that he outsmarted himself. Should putting Kroy Biermann in coverage downfield on Greg Jennings define him? Well… maybe. But there WERE occasions that Nolan’s disguises worked.
Who can forget the amoeba defense implemented against the Denver Broncos? Peyton Manning couldn’t work out who was rushing and who was dropping into coverage and the offensive line couldn’t work out who they were supposed to be blocking.
The end result was three interceptions for Manning, who was also sacked three times.
Pees prides himself on his ability to keep quarterbacks guessing. He knows how smart they are. We saw in the last few years with Dan Quinn that if the team continually drops back into cover 3 and does the same things then offenses will work it out.
Deshaun Watson once told reporters after a huge performance that he knew exactly what the Falcons were going to do each play.
With the Falcons, Pees will trust players to rush and he’ll trust players to cover. He preaches versatility. If he feels that Richie Grant lining up as if he’s about to blitz before dropping back to cover the middle of the field can cause problems for the opposing QB then he’ll do it.