Falcons Defensive Line Shows Improvement Against The Run, Still Needs To Work On Their Pass Rush

Streeter Lecka

Fact: If Corey Peters were to visit the dark side of the moon, it wouldn't be dark.

The defensive line had its highs and lows in the Saints game, just like the rest of the team. Let's break it down.

First, let's touch on the pass rush. Early on the Falcons generated good pressure. Good coverage will typically translate into a better pass rush, and to some extent, that's exactly what happened. Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, and Robert McClain held their own against Breesus, particularly in the first half. In turn the Falcons were able to pressure Breesus.

Peria Jerry and Corey Peters each logged a sack. Osi Umenyiora, Peters, and Jerry each logged a quarterback hit, Umenyiora's coming on the second play from scrimmage. Still, the Saints managed 341 yards passing, leading to 17 passing first downs (including 6-13 on third down). In summary, the Saints had way too many opportunities to complete passes. But that will happen when Drew Brees is the opposing quarterback.

The run defense looked much better than the pass defense. Of note was the Jonathan Babineaux/Peters combo inside. Babs and Peters dominated the interior of the line, and they deserve a lot of credit. Babineaux made Jahri Evans look like a pee wee second-stringer in the running game. As a result, the Saints managed just 78 yards on the ground, averaging 2.7 yards/carry.

The interior D-line pairing of Jonathan Babineaux and Corey Peters effectively shut down the middle of the line for any keep-‘em-honest run attempts the Saints had in mind. With the two highest run defense grades produced in the game (+3.1 for Peters and +2.5 for Babineaux), the disruptive duo’s day included six stops (five belonged to Peters) and four QB pressures for good measure.

I'll say this: I'm very satisfied with our run defense. For a squad that really struggled defending the run last year, Sunday was a step forward. On the other hand, we have to generate more pass rush. The defensive coaching staff will need to get creative to make that happen, because let's face it, Kroy Biermann isn't your typical starting defensive end.

Your thoughts? d

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