The Falcons defense isn’t scaring anyone on Sundays. They’re at the bottom of the league in nearly every significant metric that exists — 27th in points allowed per game, 32nd in total yards allowed per game, and 29th in opponent third-down conversion rate. At one point, Dean Pees’ unit was league-average against the run, but that has quickly dissipated in recent weeks.
To be fair, injuries have decimated the secondary. Casey Hayward has been on the injured reserve since the 49ers game, Jaylinn Hawkins missed a game due to a head injury, and A.J. Terrell has missed the last three games. However, the All-Pro is nearing a return. On Monday, Arthur Smith told the media that Terrell would hopefully be back at practice this week as the team prepares to host the Bears on Sunday.
Something that went overlooked in today's presser with Arthur Smith: Said AJ Terrell would "hopefully" be back to practice this week, but would know more on Wednesday.
"He's been in here working. Hopefully, getting better."
— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) November 14, 2022
The Falcons’ defensive problems are much broader than just one cornerback. The front seven looks like swiss cheese when opposing offenses run the ball; the second and third levels appear lost in coverage against the pass. The issues in Dean Pees’ group are vast. With that being said, having a player of Terrell’s caliber back is a considerable boost for a reeling defense.
Following what will be four weeks of rest, Terrell will hopefully have had enough time for his hamstring to heal up because Cornell Armstrong, Darren Hall, and Rashad Fenton aren’t getting the job done. Thankfully, the Bears and Justin Fields aren’t exactly the most threatening passing offense. On the flip side, Chicago has an impressive run game with an elite athlete at quarterback. The Falcons have been gashed in recent weeks on the ground, and Terrell returning won’t make much of a difference against the run.
Photographer: David John Griffin/Icon Sportswire