The Falcons pass rush has been a rapier-sized thorn in our sides for years now. Aside from John Abraham, nobody was anywhere close to elite rushing the passer, and this year we have Osi Umenyiora with four sacks and nobody else with more than two. Oh, and the three guys after Osi are Corey Peters, Joplo Bartu and Akeem Dent.
So how do you jumpstart this pass rush? I'm out and about for a chunk of today, but let me humbly and quickly suggest a couple of options, and then I want you guys to drive the discussion.
Stand Pat and Tweak
This is the most painful one, because it requires riding this out. It's possible that guys like Jonathan Massaquoi, Malliciah Goodman and so forth simply need more time to learn the system and turn into quality assets. It's also probable not all of them will turn into real assets, which makes this even more frustrating.
The advantages to this approach is that you don't have to give up assets (money, draft picks) to try to shore things up. You just ask Mike Nolan to be more aggressive, dial up linebackers and defensive backs more often and look for improvement from some of the young players at end to lift the pass rush. It's not going to have an elite end result, but I think most of us would just be happy with growth.
Whether by free agent signing or trades, this gives the Falcons a temporary boost. With the right player, it might give the Falcons a significant one, but that would likely have to come by trade. If you can get a very good player for a reasonable price and the team would have control of his contract for a little while, then I guess I'd at least listen.
The downside here is obvious. Signing a free agent would provide, at best, an incremental boost. The best guys available might be at defensive tackle, and the Falcons are doing quite well there. If you get an end or another linebacker, you stunt the growth of the young guys, and if it's a free agent it's not likely someone you want to have stunting their growth in the first place.
In either of these scenarios, I think we can agree that Mike Nolan needs to change up the way he's deploying his assets. Let's hope he does.
I'll leave it to you. What should the Falcons do with the pass rush?