The Atlanta Falcons began the 2022 campaign with low expectations but turned in another promising season under the new regime. The offense became one of football’s most dominant rushing units, and the special teams was among the league’s best. As far as the defense… it can only go up, right? There are plenty of resources to improve the roster as well. As we look forward to a pivotal offseason, I’ll continue my series reviewing the Atlanta Falcons season by position, moving onto the defensive line.
Atlanta Falcons 2022 season in review: Defensive Line
The Falcons’ defensive line experienced attrition at another level in 2022. Entering training camp, Atlanta’s defensive line consisted of Grady Jarrett, Ta’Quon Graham, Vincent Taylor, Anthony Rush, and Marlon Davidson.
Taylor tore his Achilles; Davidson again dealt with injuries, and neither player took a snap during the regular season. Rush began the first month in Atlanta but was released after starting the first four games. Graham experienced a breakout campaign but was placed on the IR in November with a season-ending knee injury.
At one point, the Falcons were trotting out Grady Jarrett with a bunch of unproven guys — Abdullah Anderson, Jalen Dalton, Jaleel Johnson, and Timmy Horne. It’s an area that will undoubtedly undergo significant personnel turnover this offseason. Jarrett and Graham are the only ones guaranteed to be back in 2023.
- Grady Jarrett: Six sacks, 61 combined tackles, 12 TFL, 17 QB hits
- Ta’Quon Graham: No sacks, 34 combined tackles, one TFL, eight QB hits
- Abdullah Anderson: One sack, 40 combined tackles, two TFL, one QB hit
- Timmy Horne: No sacks, 27 combined tackles, no TFL, one QB hit
- Jaleel Johnson: No sacks, 10 combined tackles, no TFL, one QB hit
- Jalen Dalton: No sacks, 13 combined tackles, one TFL, no QB hit
Grady Jarrett was just as good as ever, even if his stat line doesn’t show it. He’s arguably the most reliable player on the team, and Ta’Quon Graham’s injury really hampered Jarrett’s impact.
Graham may not have the sack totals or quarterback hits of some others, but his presence kept opposing offensive lines from double and triple-teaming Jarrett. In the first 11 games before Graham’s injury, Jarrett posted 5.5 of his six total sacks and 10 of his 12 tackles for a loss. This duo going forward should really excite Falcons fans.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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