The Falcons have been gashed by the run in the middle of their defensive line for years, consistently ranking near the bottom of the league in rush defense DVOA, which they finished 30th in last season. Tyeler Davison, although not the sexy signing many hoped for, has been a difference-maker in that area and the most significant addition to the Atlanta defense through the first two weeks.
Even though the Falcons were torn apart by the run in Week 1 against Vikings, most of that came on outside rushes because of inadequate containment. Anytime Minnesota attempted to run between the tackles, Davison or Grady Jarrett made a play. The former New Orleans Saint led all defensive lineman with six tackles and one for a loss in Week 1 but also took up double teams making things easier for his partner in crime, Jarrett, who was the best player on the field that day.
Here’s a couple of examples – one of his quickness, and one of how difficult he is to move because of his size and strength.
Besides Jarrett and Jones, I thought Tyeler Davison was the other big standout on the Falcons' defense. His timing and burst off LOS flashed quite a bit. Proved his case why he got the active spot over Senat. pic.twitter.com/K0q2S5jwaF
— Allen Strk (@Allen_Strk) September 12, 2019
A 310+ pound man should not be able to move that quick.
Lining up next to Jarrett will be NT Tyeler Davison, who I've been a fan of since his days @FresnoState. He's a spark plug NT who is both stout against the run but also quick to win off the ball and make plays on the other side of the line. Fits the personality of that defense pic.twitter.com/cvNesZUCQR
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 13, 2019
He completely shuts down any chance of that play developing and helps make the tackle.
Week 2 was more of the same, except the Falcons defense as a whole was able to contribute, limiting the Eagles rushing attack to 49 yards on 21 carries. Once again, Grady Jarrett was the most disruptive player on the field. His PFF rating is 90.8 – the highest among all interior defensive lineman. A lot of that has to do with his overall progression, but there is no denying Tyeler Davision deserves some credit for his performance as well. Davison himself has a more than respectable 82.0 grade, according to PFF.
Here he is again stuffing the run against the Eagles.
Tyeler Davison with the run D pic.twitter.com/gvCZiDW3Ea
— Carlton (@SlopingGiraffe) September 16, 2019
There was a lot of talk from Dan Quinn and company about how excited they were about having Davison coming into this season. A lot of times that can be nothing more than coach speak. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that come out of Quinn and other head coaches mouths regarding players who ended up underperforming, but I did put a little more weight into what his former teammates in New Orleans thought about him.
Here is what Cam Jordan said regarding Davison after he signed with the Falcons via 247 Sports,
“My guy [Davison] not returning hurts, he gave his all every time he hit the field,” Jordan said on Twitter. “Free Agency sucks sometimes especially losing him to that red and black team. Salute to my guy the last [four years] putting in the work with us. Continue striving my guy.”
I don’t know how any fan of the Falcons could like Cameron Jordan, but he is a helluva football player, and in this sport, respect is earned not given. Davison clearly had a positive effect in the Big Easy, and it has shown thus far through two weeks.
Last year, the Saints were second in the league in rush defense, behind only the Chicago Bears. They allowed 80.2 yards per contest and 3.6 yards per carry. After two weeks, the Saints are 26th in rush defense, giving up nearly 150 yards per game. They’re missing Davison in the middle of their defensive line, and the Falcons are reaping the benefits.