The Falcons have been remarkably careful with the football in 2018, which is why they still have a positive turnover ratio despite doing very little to actually force fumbles and recover them, or pick passes.
Atlanta’s a team that has always depended on playmakers, but what happens when all those playmakers are out? You get a situation where one player alone is the primary source of turnovers for your football team, which is not an overly promising state of affairs.
This terrifying stat comes to us from Blogging Dirty analyst Dominique Patterson, who notes that the Falcons have become increasingly reliant on a small handful of players to generate their turnovers. In 2018, that has translated to Damontae Kazee kind of doing it himself.
#Falcons really miss Neal, Jones and Allen's ability to take the ball away.— Dominique Patterson ⠞⠓⠑⠗⠑⠁⠇⠏⠁⠞⠞⠍⠁⠝ (@therealpattman) October 25, 2018
In 2016 the trio combined for 27.2% of the teams takeaways.
In 2017 that number jumped to 43.7%. This year Kazee accounts for 57.1% of the the teams takeaways. @TheFalcoholic @UnGr_Show @RiseUpReader pic.twitter.com/HzPumia25b
Kazee has already equalled the 2018 interception totals for Deion Jones in each of the last two seasons, so his ballhawking skills should not be undersold. At the same time, it is insane that the only other two interceptions the Falcons have mustered this year came from Allen and Jones, who are both on the shelf. It’s very hard for a defense that struggles to do the fundamental things well to overcome that if they can’t force turnovers.
The Falcons have talked over and over again about the need to create more turnovers, and to be perfectly fair to them, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen have been vital to that effort in recent years. But it’s also clear that the Falcons are going to need to start taking the ball away to be effective as a defense, given how lackluster they’ve been in basically every other way on defense up to this point. That should come from cornerbacks who are often in a position to make a play on the ball, but it would also be nice to see the pass rush get going and force some timely fumbles, as well.