Dan Quinn’s 1% mantra states, to paraphrase, that every player should try to get 1% better every day. That’s not a lot each day—and it’s probably not actually possible—but the point is to strive to make the kind of small improvements that add up to big gains your talent, physicality, and drive. That’s a point that hasn’t been lost on Vic Beasley.
Beasley, you’ll recall, turned in a 15.5 sack season in 2016, and that sack total both led the NFL and came awfully close to tying John Abraham’s franchise record of 16.5 in a campaign. For all that, he did feast on weaker tackles and was quiet for long stretches, as you’d expect from a second year player. If he didn’t make improvements during this offseason, it was always a fair bet that sack total was going to fall a bit. He’s still already a great pass rusher, but he was unlikely to ever be satisfied with just that, thankfully.
Why sack champ Vic Beasley might have a quicker first step this season. https://t.co/Ezp7oOyFBw— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 1, 2017
Beasley’s hoping that switching up his stance a bit and concentrating on his first step will give him a little more explosion right out of the gate, which would make him even more lethal. Working with DeMarcus Ware this offseason appears to have helped in that regard.
"DeMarcus was giving me tips here and there," Beasley said. "He was telling me normally my feet are back too far so a majority of the time, [I] just replace my hand with my first step. And he said if I kind of coil up and put my butt up in the air more and take that first step that I'll step out a longer distance.
"I've heard coaches at the [Falcons] facility tell me the same thing. But to hear it from DeMarcus Ware -- from former player to current player -- definitely paid off a lot."
Sometimes, it really does matter who you hear advice from. Even if Beasley’s change only makes a small impact on his game, it’ll be important and potentially noticeable, and it’ll help him remain one of the league’s most dangerous edge rushers. Add in defensive improvement elsewhere and the sky may very well be the limit for Vic, so let’s hope he can add just a little more to his game, 1% at a time.