Bend but don’t break for the Atlanta Falcons
These words have been etched into the brains of Atlanta Falcons fans for years.
Every head coach and defensive coordinator has attempted to roll out the same plan. Bend but don’t break. The problem has been that the Falcons have bent… and the Falcons have broken.
In 2012, the Atlanta Falcons finished 24th in yards allowed to opposing offenses.
Teams were able to move the ball effectively and did so regularly. The key difference between that Atlanta Falcons defense and subsequent versions was that they limited teams to the fifth-fewest points in the league.
Dean Pees has worked under Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Both coaches have had exceptional defenses and exceptional talent available to them over their careers. When it comes to it, though, they’ve been happy to give up yards. The important thing has always been, and will always be, preventing touchdowns.
This isn’t to say that the Falcons will never force a team to go three-and-out. They will. Well-timed blitzes and disguised coverages will undoubtedly force mistakes. But a look at the 2019 Tennessee Titans showed some of the familiar soft zones leading to easy completions in third-and-long situations.
The important thing will be keeping points off the board.