I keep using the word “quietly” to describe not only this Falcons team, but particular players. It’s because this 3-1 team with all its quality performances has been impressive, sure, but not in the way that 45 points outbursts or complete defensive shutdowns are. They’ve largely won close, contested games, and while that’s a show of their character, it’s not as flashy as the Panthers dialing up 33 points against the Patriots, or whatever. They’re quietly good, and that’s fine.
No one has been a better epitome of nearly-silent goodness than Grady Jarrett. After a massive burst of pass rushing productivity in last year’s Super Bowl, when Jarrett hammered Tom Brady for three sacks, Jarrett has just 11 tackles, zero sacks, and zero box-score filling, highlight reel moments where he jars a fumble loose or swats down a pass. If that was as far as you looked, you could be forgiven for thinking Jarrett was having a solid but unremarkable year.
But the truth is, Jarrett has been outstanding yet again, and he’s been a monster next to a good but still acclimating Dontari Poe. He’s tied for third in the league with six tackles for loss—yes, that’s over half of his total tackles—and you can see him working over interior linemen in every week of the young season thus far. It is still legitimately baffling that the NFL let him tumble all the way down to the fifth round, but thank the Football Gods they did.
With his productivity and ability, chances are you’ll start to see Jarrett pick up sacks here and there and a handful of big plays, which should help him get the recognition that has mostly eluded him up to this point outside of film grinders and Falcons fans. He’s putting together a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign early, and if he can continue to do so, life will be much easier for the linebackers, cornerbacks and safeties working behind him.