I am not even close to knowing what is going on with the Falcons defense, what the coaching staff plans on doing with the defense, or exactly why the defense has been indescribably bad. What I do know is between week 1 and week 2, the Falcons cut back on the snaps of an underperforming player for an impressive rookie.
Joplo Bartu and Prince Shembo rotated series in Week 2. Bartu played 42 snaps, Shembo saw 31. #Falcons— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) September 15, 2014
The coaching staff clearly wanted to see what Shembo could do, as the two linebackers literally rotated defensive series. This is an in-season competition. Bartu, who put together an impressive rookie season, seems to be struggling in his sophomore season. After showing a talent at plugging the run and showing some potential in pass coverage, he has failed to make an impact against the Saints or the Bengals.
What about Shembo? We turn to some PFF grades to help explain the versatile rookie.
Shembo is currently the 3rd highest ranked defensive player, after (of course) Desmond Trufant and (well, sure) Paul Soliai. Other notables? Corey Peters has a very impressive score after coming off a terrible achilles injury, and Stansly Maponga (who?) is also in the positive.
Shembo put up pretty nice run defense and pass coverage numbers against the Bengals. Based on pass rush grade that is just barely above zero, is likely the best pass rusher on the team by a wide margin. He has made a few impressive plays on the field, showing off some good athleticism.
He has certainly earned more snaps, which will likely continue to come at the expense of Bartu.
Anyone happy to see Shembo getting more snaps? Or you can try to guess the two lowest graded defensive players on the squad in the comments. Hint: Osi Umenyiora is 3rd worst.