You won’t have to search around the internet for very long to find projected defensive rankings in 2022 that have the Atlanta Falcons dead last.
On paper people might be able to make a solid argument for them being the worst defense but there is one big reason why they will not end the year dead last in defensive rankings.
Dean Pees is why the Atlanta Falcons will not have the worst defense in 2022
Let’s throw out this disclaimer first, this is arguing that the Falcons will not be ranked as the 32nd defense in 2022, if they rank 31st, that is still not 32nd.
Having Dean Pees as the defensive coordinator for the Falcons’ defense will always keep them from being the worst defense statistically, he just will not allow that to happen.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Falcons had the 29th ranked defense in 2021, with only the Chargers, Lion, and Jets being worse. That is by far the worst-ranked defense that Dean Pees has ever had.
To be fair, he probably did all that he could with the players he had to send out onto the field. When a team has 18 sacks all year, they are not going to be a highly ranked defense.
Here is a look at how each of Dean Pees’ defenses has ranked with him as the defensive coordinator with four different teams, again according to Pro Football Reference’s rankings.
New England Patriots:
- 2006: 2nd overall
- 2007: 4th
- 2008: 8th
- 2009: 5th
- 2012: 12th overall
- 2013: 12th
- 2014: 6th
- 2015: 24th
- 2016: 9th
- 2017: 6th
- 2018: 3rd overall
- 2019: 12th
- 2021: 29th overall
That is 13 seasons as a defensive coordinator in the NFL, 2021 was only the second time he has ever led a defense that finished lower than 12th in the league.
That is also three different decades that he has coached in, meaning he has had to adapt to a lot of changes in the NFL.
For people to say that the Falcons will have the worst defense in the league in 2022 is simply naive, Dean Pees will not allow that to happen, simple as that. He may have no pass rush to work with but he will find a way to put pressure on the opposing quarterback by all means necessary.
While the pass rush might leave a lot to be desired, the secondary, specifically the corners, are underrated and should be able to cover the best offenses in the NFL. You can find ways to generate pass rush by sending extra rushers but it is impossible to cover up for a dreadful secondary.
So, do not give in to the notion that the Falcons will be the absolute worst defense in the NFL.