The offseason addition of Dan Quinn and his merry band of defensive coaches thrilled the masses. The Atlanta Falcons had the worst defense in the league in 2014; dramatic action was an absolute necessity. So the Falcons sat back, watching the head coaching candidates fly off the market, waiting their turn. Then they got their man, bringing Quinn aboard shortly after the Super Bowl.
There's no doubt the Falcons' defense is better this year. They are far more stout against the run. But when it comes to a reliable pass rush, the encouraging signs we saw in the pre-season haven't carried over into the regular season. Now, the Falcons are taking a step back, emphasizing the importance of across-the-board, consistent pressure on the passer. Credit to Vaughn McClure and his must-read piece about the Falcons' recent emphasis on teamwork in their effort to improve a middling pass rush.
Through the first six games, the Falcons find themselves tied for last in the league with seven sacks as Beasley and Adrian Clayborn have two each. The Falcons are last in the league in sacks per pass attempt (2.8 percent) and have disrupted just 10.2 percent of dropbacks by opposing quarterbacks, also last in the league.
I think the coaching staff has the right idea here. It's not enough for one player to stand out in this system with this roster. There's just not enough talent along the defensive front right now. A year or two from now, that may not be the case. For right now, teamwork is the only way these guys get it done. They did it in the pre-season, they can do it now.