Mike Nolan has been unwilling to send the house often this season, preferring to send 3-4 rushers and get others back into coverage. There's no indication that this is working all that well, as teams are still finding success on short-to-intermediate passes. Jonathan Massaquoi is facing a steep learning curve frequently dropping back, and he has been far from stellar doing so. This team needs to be willing to rush the passer more often.
There's no better test case than the Jets. New York comes into the game with a shaky offensive line and a rookie quarterback prone to panicking in the face of a determined pass rush. You'll see this answer repeated in our five questions with Gang Green Nation later, but here's what John B had to say about Geno and the line:
The offensive line has not really been a strength so far. Stalwarts D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold are off to slow starts. Austin Howard at right tackle is off to a decent start, but he is limited athletically. The real weak link might be rookie left guard Brian Winters. This will be his first career start. He replaces Vladimir Ducasse, who was such a blown block machine that the Jets didn't really have much of a choice but to bench him. Winters looked very shaky in the preseason against mainly backups no less so he is a guy the Falcons could look to target.
In addition to this, Geno Smith has shown a tendency to freeze in the face of a pass rush so that is another concern so far.
There's no reason to get cute here. The Jets are potentially down their top two receivers, taking some pressure off the secondary. The Falcons should be blitzing early, blitzing late and blitzing in between, bringing heat and trying to force turnovers and come up with sacks. It's a good opportunity for young guys like Mass and Malliciah Goodman to hone their skills and get some confidence as pass rushers while setting them loose. If I see Mass frequently dropping into coverage against this Jets team, with such a clear matchup to exploit, I may scream.
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