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New Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith is bullish about his pass rush

Is this real life?

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons were one of the worst pass rushing defenses in the NFL the last two years, culminating in a frankly embarrassing 2014 that saw Kroy Biermann lead the team with 4.5 sacks. Adding Dan Quinn and some new players to the mix, the team almost can't help getting improving.

The team's new defensive coordinator certainly seems to think so. Richard Smith told reporters earlier this week that while training camp is a different animal than preseason and season action, everyone in the front seven is looking good at the moment. He noted that the team is trying to get the backups and third-stringers plenty of work, which points to the kind of rotation we've been expecting from this defense.

But it's the individual standouts that are exciting, with Adrian Clayborn, Vic Beasley, Ra'Shede Hageman, and others drawing plenty of effusive praise from their new boss.

This quote, from Vaughn McClure's latest piece on the pass rush, will get you incredibly excited about Beasley.

"He’s done a great job," Smith said of Beasley. "I like the effort that he’s playing with. He’s got that elite quickness. And what’s going to be fun and will help him continue to develop is that every day is a good battle between him and [Jake] Matthews going against each other.

"We’ll see what happens when the game times come, but he can be as good as he wants to be. Right now, I like the attitude and the work ethic. And he’s slippery. Part of that is just God-given ability."

Nothing is guaranteed, here, but having a pretty healthy front seven, a brand new coaching staff, and these kinds of glowing early reports and quotes does wonders for my optimism after the last two seasons. How do you expect the pass rush to shake out?