Even when the Falcons' defenses during the Mike Smith era were good, they weren't particularly tough. They got by with discipline, finesse, and occasionally outright chaos, as was the case during Mike Nolan's first, actually successful year in Atlanta. The team tried to fix that by adding Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai to the front, but simply put, it didn't work.
The Falcons of 2015 weren't much better, frankly, as evinced by the putrid Buccaneers game where they let Jameis Winston escape from pressure and run for a long first down in one of the most legitimately embarrassing sequences I've seen from this team in 25 years of being a fan. Confronted with this, Dan Quinn and the front office have conducted this offseason as though the fate of their football team depended on adding physicality, which it probably does.
- Free agency brought Derrick Shelby, a physical presence on the defensive line, and Courtney Upshaw, one of the biggest linebackers you'll ever see and someone noted for his nastiness against the run;
- The draft saw the team bring in Keanu Neal, who is known for his hitting, and Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell, who need refinement but are both willing tacklers themselves;
- Moved Grady Jackson to the nose full-time and will ask Ra'Shede Hageman to play some end, putting two young, very strong defenders into the game with greater frequency.