It’s fair to say that the Brooks Reed era in Atlanta has not given the Falcons a bevy of big plays, even if it has improved the team’s hair game considerably.
Reed’s first two seasons in Atlanta gave us exactly two regular season sacks. While he’s a solid pass rusher and run defender on his worst day, he was limited by injury in 2015 and largely ineffective. He did step up last year—and had a very good playoff run—but he had the look of nothing more than a useful rotational guy with Vic Beasley breaking out, Adrian Clayborn continuing to play well, and Derrick Shelby and Takkarist McKinley figuring to get plenty of snaps.
Already in 2017, Reed has three sacks, and they’ve hardly been cheap takedowns. He’s looked, to these eyes, to be in a groove he just hadn’t found in his first two years, and while sack numbers don’t tell the full story, Reed has absolutely been one of the Falcons’ best pass rushers early. The Falcons gave him more snaps than any other defensive end Sunday against the Bills, and he got his team-leading third sack.
Given how crowded defensive end looked before the year, I did say that I thought Reed could be a surprise cut due to his salary, though I deemed it unlikely. H’s been good enough so far to make that look doubly foolish in hindsight, and I welcome that continued production and humiliation.
But will Reed keep this up? Is Reed headed for a good season, or even a career-high sack total that exceeds the six he put up his rookie year? Let’s hear what you think.