There's no question that Atlanta's defense has many aspects upon which it must improve, and the new coaching staff is working with players on the basic elements of the game, including tackling, to get the team prepared for the 2015 season.
Paul Worrilow spoke to the media this week regarding the transition to a new coaching staff, the offseason program, and more, and Worrilow shared some insight on the team's new approach to and emphasis on effective tackling.
Part of the transition for the defense includes adjusting to a simplified scheme. "Just kind of through the first couple of weeks, compared to last year, there's less volume in terms of everything that we have in, and you can tell that it's geared more towards effort and the fundamentals of the game," Worrilow said.
The Falcons struggled with tackling last season, and Dan Quinn and his staff are focused on correcting that. "Tackling's been a huge emphasis, and attacking the ball has been a good emphasis as well," Worrilow said. "So [it's] less scheme as it is more individual effort and fundamentals on the field."
The coaching staff is actually breaking down the fundamentals of tackling on a daily basis for the defense, something that's a little different for players who have been tackling for as long as they can remember. "Yeah, every day we do something - we go over part of tackling," Worrilow said. "And yeah, they're kind of taking [us] through - teaching through that, which is kind of different .. you never really watch film and talk in depth about the technique of tackling. It's just kind of understood. Everybody knows how to tackle. But it's awesome, and I think it's definitely going to help, and you can always learn more."
It's very possible that this Falcons defense would have been more successful over the past couple of seasons with more of an emphasis on fundamentals. Missed tackles, bad angles, and other fundamental lapses certainly contributed to the struggles of a unit that finished the season last in the league in total offensive yards allowed per game.
What do you think about the new coaching staff's focus on fundamentals, including tackling?