The news that Deadrin Senat was going to be an inactive against the Saints was a major surprise. Whether the Falcons truly missed him is up for debate, given that Terrell McClain and Jack Crawford each had a sack and the interior played solid ball, but it was still a head-scratcher.
Again, it’s small potatoes for a game the Falcons were expected to lose and went on to (surprise) actually lose, but why would the team sit a solid defensive tackle against a team that runs very well?
Dan Quinn offered a very unsatisfying explanation last night.
#Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he wanted more pass rushers and he wanted to have the fullback Ricky Ortiz available when asked why Deadrin Senat was inactive.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) November 23, 2018
McClain’s surprise sack aside, this explanation makes little sense to me. Senat showed flashes of pass rushing competence in college and certainly doesn’t have a lesser track record than McClain, and at least on first watch it didn’t appear the Falcons were doing anything particularly creative to get more pass rushers on the field. The addition of Ricky Ortiz to the active roster was a net zero at best, as the team proved entirely incapable of running the football and actually fared worse than they did when Ortiz was an inactive. That’s not exactly his fault, but it begs the question of why the Falcons are sitting a solid young player for such nebulous reasons. It was especially galling on those occasions where Alvin Kamara or Mark Ingram ripped off a big run up the middle, something that Senat hasn’t always helped with but could have.
The Falcons may not owe anyone satisfying answers, but I think we all sure as hell would like to have them these days. I’m hopeful we’ll get a better one from Quinn about Senat, the kind of promising young defender the Falcons desperately need to develop as they now look to the future.