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Falcons focusing energy on pass rush improvement early

It's noteworthy and worthwhile at once.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Earlier today, we talked about how the Falcons have done very little to bolster the pass rush with their personnel moves this offseason, and how important improvement from existing players was going to be in order to lift up one of the league's worst defenses when it comes to chasing the quarterback. At the very least, the Falcons aren't going to take that improvement for granted.

"We’ve devoted a majority of our time with pass rush," Smith said on Thursday. "If you were going to say that we worked 80 percent pass-rush on a daily basis in terms of technique and fundamentals and about 20 percent in terms of run defense right now (that would be accurate). That was an area where we were a little bit deficient a year ago. We are working very hard in that particular area right now."

Simply putting the time in doesn't mean improvement is in the offing, sure, but it's encouraging that the Falcons realize they already have the pieces for a decent run defense and need to spend more agency addressing the pass rush. Getting young players like Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell the training and experience they need early can pay dividends later, while simply focusing on improvement for guys like Vic Beasley and Derrick Shelby who figure to be critical for the pass rush this year should also pay off.

I don't expect the Falcons to be a great or even necessarily good pass rush in 2016, but I do expect Vic Beasley to take a step forward and for the defense to improve overall. If they go out and acquire another piece in addition to the focus on improvement from existing players, I might be more bullish than that.