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Don’t look now, but the Falcons may have a pass rush

An improving unit is clearly much better than the 2015 version.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons fans may want to pinch themselves. Ever since the breakout effort in the game in Denver, this Dan Quinn defense has begun to amass a respectable pass rush. Vic Beasley is getting a lot of love for his 7.5 sacks, but Adrian Clayborn has been a big factor as well. After the game against the Bucs, Grady Jarrett moved his sack total up to 3 on the season.

Don’t look now, but the team has already surpassed last year’s dismal 19 sacks and is now in the top 10 in the NFL.

It’s not unreasonable to think this Falcons defense can pass 30 sacks this year, which would be far more than any reasonable fan would have expected coming into this season.

This isn’t a dominant pass rush yet, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. However, it’s clear this is a much better pass rush, which is - at the very least - respectable. Seeing young guys like Jarrett and Beasley improve also gives hope for this unit getting better into 2017 and beyond. When you add in guys like Clayborn and even Brooks Reed, you have a unit that looks vastly different from last year and one that provides hope for the long-term.

While I don’t think this pass rush is a “top” unit in the league, the arrow is clearly pointing up. For a young defense, development is the key. Based on that alone, there are reasons to be optimistic. Twenty one of them in fact.