Rule change should continue to concern Atlanta Falcons defense

Washington Commanders v Atlanta Falcons
Washington Commanders v Atlanta Falcons / Kara Durrette/GettyImages

The Atlanta Falcons defense made very limited moves this offseason. All meaningful additions were made in the draft with free agency completely focused on adding a quarterback and weapons around Kirk Cousins. Not a horrible decision in an offensive league but one that sets up the Falcons with a slim margin for error.

Atlanta's depth chart lacks the ability to survive an injury at the corner or edge positions. However, with a greatly improved offense and a healthy Grady Jarrett there is reason to believe the unit can be productive enough.

If there is one concern to note aside from the secondary depth and a lack of pass rush it is the new rule change banning the hip drop tackle. The entire idea of banning a play that is going to be so difficult to legislate sets up the league for failure.

Already it is an offensive league that makes it incredibly difficult to execute a clean tackle. Think back to Grady Jarrett getting flagged for a non-existent roughing the passer as Tom Brady childishly attempted to kick the defensive tackle. This is what the league has become protecting its stars and taking physicality out of the game.

Protecting your players and setting up long-term health are important but that isn't what this rule change does. While it depends on how it is called in games it sets up undersized tacklers for failure and that is a problem.

A.J. Terrell, Dee Alford, and Clark Phillips are great examples of players who are going to be needed to make key tackles that can no longer take advantage of their weight. This sets up the business decision of stepping aside, going for the legs, or squaring up much bigger players.

We are going to see a mix of all three this season as players adjust to the new rule. There is also the concern of a player who attempts to make a tackle on a bigger body and ends up losing their footing carrying the ball carrier with them. Will this be considered a penalty? How the rule is going to be legislated is something to watch extremely closely in the preseason and the first few weeks of the season.

The potential impact on smaller tacklers and setting up potential leg injuries could offset what the league was attempting to do banning a play they shouldn't have touched.