Tuesday, July 14, 2015

An Outlook on the Falcons Defense and Dan Quinn

Former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, second from right, poses for photos with, from left: Atlanta Falcons general manger Thomas Dimitroff, owner Arthur Blank and team president and CEO Rich McKay after a news conference to introduce Quinn as the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons Tuesday, Feb. 3, 2015. (The Associated Press)

It’s July, training camp is approaching and a dull period of time has passed without football, but it  is finally coming to an end; all NFL teams are gearing up for the new season and the Atlanta Falcons, entering their 50th season will look to take steps back to becoming a Super Bowl contender in the NFC. After the acquisition of former Seattle Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, whom enters his first head coaching tenure after two Super Bowl seasons in Seattle will look to change the culture in Atlanta. The Falcons front office responded by having one of the best draft classes we've seen in years and Falcons fans everywhere are ecstatic to Rise Up once again. The beginning of the Dan Quinn era will be fun to watch especially since we’ve added more talent on a defense that ranked among one of the league’s worst in the past two seasons.  


Atlanta Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant intercepts a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the third quarter. November 16, 2014. Bank of America Stadium.Charlotte,NC

For years, our defense was known for having hard working guys on the defensive side of the ball; however, none were able to take the next step in their tenure in Atlanta and became backup players on other teams around the league and some didn’t receive a second chance after their Falcons days. Desmond Trufant is the shining star of the Falcons defense and he’s well on the way to becoming one of the top corner backs in the league, he’s just a great talent to watch. This season, with the solid addition of talent that we have acquired and entering his 3rd season in the NFL, I think Trufant will have a breakout year. On the other side is Robert Alford, our 2nd round draft pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.  Last season, Alford’s performance was a bit inconsistent before an unfortunate injury shortened his season. 

As many other Falcons fans are concerned, I want to see more from Alford in 2015. As a corner, his intangibles and potential is there from possessing the speed and physicality to become a successful cornerback in the league; however, his ball skills and coverage can improve tremendously. Falcons fans should look forward to an interesting battle during  training camp and throughout the season as well to see can 2nd round selection, cornerback Jalen Collins challenge Robert Alford for the starting cornerback position.  During his LSU days, scouts knocked Collins for sometimes being caught out of position while attempting to go for an interception or big play which is a result for being talented and confident in his abilities. I could see Collins starting alongside Trufant at some point during the season if he can receive some solid coaching and progress under coordinator Raheem Morris.


Vic Beasley of the Clemson Tigers holds up a jersey with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after he was picked #8 overall by the Atlanta Falcons during the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University on April 30, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Over the last few seasons, the Falcons have lacked a formidable pass rusher. During the Mike Smith tenure, Atlanta was looking for someone to make an impact along with defensive end John Abraham; however, the organization failed to successfully address the issue. Entering this draft, Atlanta’s top desire was drafting a pass rusher; however,  I'm not sure if we fixed that in our selection of Clemson pass rushing specialist Vic Beasley, but we took a step in the right direction. I am confident that Bryan Cox, Atlanta’s defensive line coach can bring the best out of our young talent in the front line. During last year’s episode of Hard Knocks, many Falcons fans including myself was impressed in how tough he was on Ra’shede Hageman. Although Hageman wasn’t the brightest spot on the defensive line all season, he showed many signs of improvement towards the end of the 2014 season.  

During minicamp,  he looked better than he did in his rookie campaign so I'm confident that Cox will have Beasley well coached and prepared so he can reach the level of a dominant pass rusher that the Falcons drafted. Also, I’m looking forward to the guy that many said was the steal of the draft, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett. After watching him at Clemson over the past two seasons, Jarrett was arguably the leader of the Tigers defense.  From commanding double teams to causing havoc in opposing passing games and running attacks,  he’s one of the rare elite talents. Most players aren’t usually coming out of college having a solid impact in both aspects defensively, it’s usually one of the two that a prospect can excel. However, it's not surprise considering that he is the son of Falcons legendary linebacker Jessie Tuggle.


As we discuss one of the biggest flaws of last season, the line backing core, Atlanta did a solid job acquiring veterans Justin Durant and Brooks Reed to help fix a core that’s probably one of the weakest on the roster. Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu are great stories of young undrafted free agents to starting NFL linebackers; unfortunately, I'm not sure how much fear they strike into opposing defenses. In my opinion, your linebackers set the tone for your entire defense. Your linebackers should force opposing offensive coordinators to game plan differently. 

Last season, the Falcons struggled having linebackers in space more and saw opposing rushing attacks  line up and run straight up the gut of our defense and destroyed the heart and toughness in a very important place in our defensive unit. Durant will bring that toughness and accountability to a fairly young defense. Also, Durant’s  veteran presence will be essential in helping Paul Worrilow and Joplo Bartu progress into the fast and physical linebackers to succeed in the NFL.


 In conclusion, the Falcons organization and fan base are ecstatic to see the Dan Quinn era take flight in Atlanta. A defensive minded coach with defensive principles and won’t call plays to confuse our own players while in the process of attempting to confuse their offense. Instead, Quinn is here to bring the fight to opposing teams and a defense who will give sixty minutes of fast and physical football, like we saw with his Seattle Seahawks defense. Falcons fans, we should give the defense time to gel and keep reminding ourselves every week that it's still a process. The effort the Falcons defense provide early in the preseason will be a small microcosm of what we will see in late November and early December as we possibly could contend for a playoff team. Buckle up Falcon fans, this season should be a fun ride!!!

Frazier --- @JustMe_Lo


  1. What's the defensive philosophy this year? I think we're 4-3 base, but any words on any wrinkles?

    1. The Falcons will run a "4-3 Under" base defense meaning the MIKE linebacker will line up more the outside while the defensive end on the opposite side of the defense will be referred to as the LEO having the ability to stand up or put his hand in the ground. It'll look like a 3-4 but it's classified as a 4-3 defense.

      Sorry for our late response. Thanks for reading!