As the Falcons offense continues to flounder, the defense has had to pick up slack, and they’ve mostly responded. The one persistent weakness has been the run defense, but when you’re doling out blame for that mess, you can’t point the finger at Grady Jarrett.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking up Jarrett, and we’ve done so because he has been an unholy terror most of the season. Look at the numbers below from Justis Mosqueda, which come from the last four weeks. Jarrett has more tackles for loss than anyone else in the NFL over that span.
Leaders in tackles at or behind the line of scrimmage (defensive linemen and pass-rushers) in the last four weeks of NFL play. pic.twitter.com/CfmW6isGwf— Justis Mosqueda (@JuMosq) November 6, 2017
The Falcons’ run defense continues to disappoint on a weekly basis, but it’s not because of anything Jarrett is doing. He’s become incredibly adept at sniffing out run plays before they become a problem, with 8 tackles behind or at the line of scrimmage in the last month, and five in just the last two weeks. Those rare plays Sunday against the Panthers where Carolina went nowhere on the ground? Mostly Jarrett.
Anyway, he’s on a Pro Bowl pace and should get that nod, but more importantly than that, he’d turned himself into an excellent player. That’s going to matter when it comes time to dole out a new contract in a year or so, but the Falcons are absolutely going to have to make their only young, effective defensive tackle a major priority.