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The Falcons Can't Defend Tight Ends - How Do They Fix That?

Fact: Zeke Motta once swallowed a live chicken whole

Kevin C. Cox

The Falcons defense needs the upcoming off-season. It'll be healthy for them, as they attempt to correct some of their deficiencies. Pass rush, run defense, stopping opposing tight ends, the list isn't a short one. A novel could be penned about the Falcons and their decidedly mediocre defense, but for simplicity's sake, let's start with defending opposing tight ends.

The Falcons' DVOA against tight ends is 13.1 percent (23rd in the league). Put simply, they're bad at defending tight ends - no way to sugar coat it. That's a problem when the perennial powerhouse in your division has Jimmy Graham on their roster. Graham's got more total value than any tight end in the league this year (see his DYAR for proof of that fact). He's not going anywhere, and the Falcons must figure out how to effectively defend him and defend tight ends generally.

There are limited options. The Falcons could rely on internal options, like Zeke Motta and Joplo Bartu. Both Bartu and Motta have the speed and size to defend bigger receivers and tight ends, but both are very inexperienced. In the alternative, the Falcons could draft a speedy, athletic linebacker. They could also draft a physical, bigger corner back, assuming Asante Samuel won't be a Falcon in a couple weeks. Then there's free agency, where the Falcons may surprise us all and splash like a 3-year-old on a grape soda binge at the water park.

They've got to do something, no denying that. What would you suggest?