There is no way around it, the Atlanta Falcons’ defense did not get the job done last season. It has been a chronic issue for as long as anyone can remember and it needs to change.
Luckily for the Falcons, they have one of the game’s most experienced defensive coordinators in Dean Pees. He knows how to turn a defense around and just because it did not happen last season, doesn’t mean it can’t this year and this one adjustment could be the much-needed fix.
The Atlanta Falcons need to become the league’s most aggressive defense
The Atlanta Falcons’ pass rush had a lot to do with their struggles, and barring multiple breakout performances, it will be a problem once again — but they should be better this year compared to last year’s historically bad performance.
So, if you are a defensive coordinator who leads a squad that struggles to pressure the quarterback, what do you do?
The answer for most, if not all, would be to blitz, and that is exactly the adjustment that Pees needs to make.
Pees has been known for his creative blitzes in the past and many would have expected to see more of it last year as they ranked 19th in blitz percentage, according to Pro Football Reference.
It is easy to see why that was the case as his defense had A.J. Terrell on one side and Fabian Moreau on the other, with a mixture of Isaiah Oliver, Richie Grant, and Avery Williams in the slot. The only guy you could trust was A.J. Terrell, so if you send the house you are just asking to be gashed.
This year is another story, the Falcons added a huge piece in Casey Hayward to pair with Terrell at the outside corner position, so now you have the ability to put those guys on islands and use those extra resources to pressure the quarterback.
At this point, why not do it? You were horrible last year so why not put all the chips in the middle by sending everyone at the QB.
Not to mention, you now have the two young and athletic safeties on the backend, if you aren’t sending them then you can trust that they can help in coverage with their range.
It all makes sense and it all sets up perfectly for Dean Pees to lead the most aggressive defense in the NFL.