3 Takeaways: Falcons vs. Bucs

Posted on Sep 14 2016 - 4:00pm by Chase Irle

Mohamed Sanu looks like he might be a very nice addition

Sanu was at best the third best receiver for the Bengals last season and has never put up huge numbers in his career. It was a little surprising when the Falcons threw over $30 million at him this offseason. Not to mention, adapting into a new offense with a different quarterback can take some time to gel. However, that was not the case for Sanu on Sunday. He had 5 receptions on 8 targets for 80 yards and a touchdown. There was no doubt he was Matt Ryan’s most effective option throughout the game, especially with Julio Jones battling an ankle injury. Sanu is going to have a lot of opportunities with one-on-one coverage playing along side Jones and it is crucial that he continue to win those battles for the Falcons offense to succeed.

The Falcons pass rush showed absolutely zero improvement

Is it possible this unit actually regressed? After 2014’s total of 22 sacks, I thought it was only up from there with Dan Quinn, yet Atlanta managed to finish dead last in sacks in 2015 with just 19 on the year. With Vic Beasley healthy heading into year two, and the additions of Dwight Freeney and Derrick Shelby, the pass rush looked to be at least a little bit better on paper heading into this season. It did not show on Sunday. The pass rush was non-existent, and Jameis Winston was able to sit in the pocket all day and shred the Falcons secondary. Frankly, there is no secondary in the world can be expected to shut down the pass game when the quarterback is given that much time to throw. It is only week one, so maybe things could change, but do not hold your breathe. The Falcons defense is in for another long season because this pass rush is just dreadful, and it really looks like a huge mistake that Atlanta decided not to address the unit more seriously during the offseason because it was clearly the weakest part of the team last year.

Desmond Trufant is a top 5 CB in this league

This third takeaway could have gone several ways. Kyle Shanahan not allowing Matt Ryan more flexibility to run the offense was one that deserves an honorable mention.  Atlanta’s obvious discipline problems stood out as well. I decided to keep it more positive and talk about a player who does not get talked about enough. The first interception of the year went to Desmond Trufant, who had another spectacular game on Sunday. After the pick, Winston stopped looking Trufant’s way, which proved to be quite effective, as Mike Evans lit up Robert Alford on the other side of the field. Josh Norman recently said that Trufant is a top-5 CB in the league and is better than Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals. Norman says a lot of outrageous stuff, but this is something I can get behind. Trufant has been a shut-down corner going on three years now for a team that cannot generate a pass rush to save their life. It is time for him to start receiving more credit and he is in for another pro-bowl season.

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