The Falcons pass rush has been the Achilles’ heel of their defense for over a decade, and they have consistently refused to make it a priority. That changed a bit this offseason, as Thomas Dimitroff made a splash by signing Dante Fowler Jr., while also adding some supplementary pieces like Marlon Davidson and Charles Harris. I still think they could have done a little more to ensure that their pass rush wouldn’t be a problem again in 2020, but so far in training camp, safety Damontae Kazee is amazed by how fast they are getting to the quarterback.
Falcons safety Damontae Kazee: "Our pass rush right now, I can say, is just like amazing to me."
— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) August 26, 2020
Now, nothing but positives statements usually come from the players this time of year. Still, I’d be lying if I said I was not cautiously optimistic about Atlanta’s defense looking much better in 2020.
The group took massive steps in the right direction once Raheem Morris took over the secondary and some of the play-calling last season, leading to a 6-2 record down the stretch. And this season, both the cornerback position and pass rush look to have improved.
A.J. Terrell and Darqueze Dennard, Atlanta’s two newest additions to the secondary, have received nothing but positive remarks. Combining them with Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield, who have another year of experience under their belt, should result in much better pass coverage, especially if the defensive line is getting to the quarterback faster.
Dante Fowler Jr. is a clear upgrade over Vic Beasley, and it looks like Takk McKinley is taking the Falcons declining his fifth-year option personally. That has the potential to be a deadly duo on the outside, which should only help Grady Jarrett cause more disruption on the interior.
I don’t expect the Falcons pass rush to be elite by any means, and the secondary could be better, but it looks like both areas have been improved this offseason considerably. The combination of the two should give Atlanta a much more formidable defense to go along with a loaded offense — at least on paper. Hopefully, we get a taste of that in a few weeks when the Falcons are tested by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in their home opener.
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