From an Efficiency Standpoint, the Falcons Really Just Need to Improve their Pass Defense

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Fact: If you spell Robert Alford in a game of Scrabble, you win. Forever.

Many of you aren't particularly fond of advanced statistics. But if the fine folks over at Football Outsiders are to be believed, the Falcons aren't exactly tanking on offense and special teams. Let's take a look.

In short, from an efficiency standpoint, the Falcons are top ten in offense (12.4 percent above league-average or 8th in the league) and special teams (5.8 percent above league-average or 7th in the league) in 2013. When it comes to playing efficient defense, however, the Falcons fail miserably. They are 11.3 less efficient than league-average or 26th in the league. Keep in mind, the offensive and defense efficiencies aren't opponent-adjusted yet because the sample size isn't big enough. Thus, these numbers put the Browns and the Patriots on an equal playing field. Still, our defensive efficiency thus far in 2013 is disconcerting.

But why aren't the Falcons playing efficient defense? The answer isn't especially complicated. Their sack percentage is just 2.17 percent (28th in the league). Because they haven't generated much pressure, they can't stop passing first downs. They've averaged 17.5 passing first downs allowed/game, 31st in the league. In two words, "pass defense." It maybe hasn't looked particularly ugly, but on the whole, it has been real pretty either. And it's showing.

Look, I get it. There are other issues. But pass defense is a big concern in my mind. Your thoughts?

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