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Defensive End Position Review: The People Who Sack Have Just Been Sacked

The people who sacked the people who sack have also been sacked.

Chris Graythen

Hello everyone, welcome to the final round of The Falcoholic Game Show!

Did you know...that we just cut one of the four players to grade out positively on the team? That's right! Stephen Nicholas graded out as a 3.3 for the year. Now he's gone!

BUT...he's not a defensive end, so that's all you get there.

Quiz time: How many defensive ends graded out positively overall?

If you guessed one, you win! Now, which one is it? Is it the venerable vet Osi Umenyiora, or is it the stable of young bucks, Goodman, Maponga, Matthews, or Massoquoi?

It's the voracious vet Osi! He graded out a lovely 0.4, which is barely above average, BUT he was at least above average.

Quiz time #2: How many DEs graded out positively in the pass rush department?

If you guessed zero (and you should have), you win!

I'm painting such a sad picture for the defensive end group, but in reality, it's not good.

Now to the roster. Let's get it.

The Roster

  1. Osi Umenyiora (0.4) - 7 Sacks, 4 Hits, 29 Hurries
  2. Malliciah Goodman (-1.7) - 0 Sacks, 1 Hit, 10 Hurries
  3. Jonathan Massoquoi (-5.2) - 5 Sacks, 4 Hits, 19 Hurries
  4. Cliff Matthews (-5.4) - 0 Sacks, 0 Hits, 6 Hurries
  5. Stansly Maponga (-8.0) - 0 Sacks, 1 Hit, 2 Hurries
  6. Kroy Biermann - IR
The DE situation as it stands right now is a barren wasteland of sadness.


Nothing major to report here aside from Biermann's Achilles tear early on in the season. I'm convinced he'll be a major part of the defensive front if he's back to 100% next year. We pretty much based the defense around his ability to move pre-snap so losing him was huge. I don't believe he'll be cut. I don't recall any of the other DEs missing significant playing time. I think Maponga got banged up a little but really, there wasn't anything significant other than Biermann's injury.

Best Game

If you want to go just based on PFF grade, then the winner is Mallaciah Goodman, who posted a 3.8 grade against the Bucs (Round 1). This was largely due to his 3.4 run defense grade, because he didn't do much else.

I'm going to give the best game to Jonathan Massoquoi against the Panthers. He graded out exactly 0.0 on that game BUT he did have one of the highest pass rush grades for the season at 2.4. He had a sack, two hits, and a hurry on Cam Newton that game.

Worst Game

Every 3rd and long from the 2013 season combined comes together to make enough snaps for one game, so there's that.

Best Moment

The best defensive moment I can remember was the Redskins game. Honestly my favorite moment from the defensive ends was Osi's sack dance. It wasn't really a dance, but that thing he did with his hands after a sack was pretty awesome.

Worst Moment

Pick a time we let a mobile QB run on us after almost sacking them. We only faced like 8 of them this year so it probably happened a lot, but that feeling is the absolute worst.

Players Under Contract

Not much to worry about in terms of free agents. The Falcons may still pick up one but the guys we have in house are all locked up. Let's take a look.

  1. Osi Umenyiora - 2014, 4.75M - 2015, FA
  2. Kroy Biermann - 2014, 4.08M - 2015, FA
  3. Cliff Matthews - 2014, 656K - 2015, FA
  4. Jonathan Massoquoi - 2014, 612K - 2015, 702K - 2016, FA
  5. Mallaciah Goodman - 2014, 594K - 2015, 684K - 2016, 774K - 2017, FA
  6. Stansly Maponga - 2014, 541K - 2015, 631K - 2016, 721K - 2017, FA

Final Grade: F--------

Yes, the defensive ends get an F-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus-minus. I thought about giving them a G but that's the lowest grade in history and they don't deserve that.

I don't think they're terrible players. I don't think they're even F grade players but the 2013 season was so bad on defense, you really can't help but grade them out poorly. I didn't even know they had graded out positively in run defense until today, AND they all graded negatively (except Osi) in spite of that. So really, how could I grade them any higher? The pass rush was abysmal, and defensive ends aren't known for their run defense, or they aren't generally.

SO, before I conclude this article, I'm going to do a few comparisons. I'll compare our DEs to some better DEs.

  1. J.J. "Unholy Terror" Watt - Is this right? I'm looking at his PFF grades and I see (111.6) as his overall grade. ONE HUNDRED ELEVEN. I can't even. Graded positively in every single game, in every single category except pass rush one time (I don't count penalties). Good grief
  2. Greg "The Kraken" Hardy - Okay this guy is a little more normal. He graded out at (27.2) for the season. Had a few bad games but by and large graded positively every game.
  3. Robert "I Might Be Old But I'm Not Done" Mathis - Graded out at (37.2) for the season. His pass rush was (27.2), or Greg Hardy's overall score.
  4. Aldon "My Whole Defense Is Good But So Am I" Smith - Graded out at (28.7) on the year. Didn't have any bad overall games but did struggle as a pass rusher against St. Louis (-1.8 Pass Rush).
I could go on and on, but as you can see, good defensive ends are grading much, much, much, much higher than ours. JJ Watt's grade is hilarious because he graded out higher than most teams did.

The Falcons will most assuredly address the DE position in both the draft and free agency. They may not sign a free agent DE but they will definitely look into it. Clowney might be in our future, but we'll see!

Your thoughts on the DE position?