Will Dante Fowler’s return make a difference for Falcons pass rush?

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The Falcons have one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL; in fact, Atlanta ranks near to last in every significant statistic — 26th in QB hurries per dropback (8.7%), 25th in QB knockdowns per pass attempt (7.2%), and 31st in QB pressures per dropback (18.6%). The talent in the trenches just isn’t there for Dean Pees, but they may be getting their top edge rusher back soon.

Dante Fowler returned to practice today after missing the last three games. He’s been on the injured reserve since suffering a knee injury in Week 5 against the Jets in London. Designated to return to practice on Wednesday, Fowler now enters into a 21-day period in which he can return to the active roster at any point in those 21 days.

In recent weeks, the Falcons have been struggling to pressure opposing quarterbacks, so this is good news for the defensive front. Fowler will join the rotation of Ade Ogundeji, Steven Means, Brandon Copeland, and James Vaughters. He’s easily the most talented pass rusher of the group, and before his injury, Fowler recorded 12 tackles, two sacks, three QB hits, two forced fumbles in five games this season.

There is no guarantee Fowler returns for the game in Arlington against the Cowboys; in fact, there’s no guarantee he returns before the Jaguars game in three weeks. Still, it is encouraging to see Fowler participate in practice and begin his road back to the field. You have to think the surprising cut of Jacob Tuioti-Mariner was to make room for Fowler. Will his return make a difference for the Falcons pass rush? Only time will tell.

 

 

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