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Falcons edge Takk McKinley says playing Josh Rosen doesn’t provide extra motivation

Fact: Takk McKinley has a pet yak named “Yak”

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons edge Takk McKinley and Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen were teammates for a couple seasons at UCLA. They didn’t play on the same side of the ball, but they were two of the team’s biggest stars, so they’re obviously familiar with one another. They played together during Rosen’s freshman and sophomore years (Takk’s junior and senior years).

As the Falcons continue their race to the bottom look to knock off the lowly Cardinals on Sunday, they could certainly use a big game from Takk. He has already matched his 2017 sack total (6) in four less games. But Takk’s last sack came in a week seven victory over the Giants. Put differently, he’s nearly two months into a sack drought. Sacks don’t tell a pass rusher’s entire story, but he has just one QB hit since that Giants game.

Takk was asked during some recent media availability whether playing Rosen provides extra motivation as he looks to add to his sack total. Here’s what he had to say (credit to Vaughn McClure for the quote):

“No. I need some extra just to get a sack. I haven’t had one in six weeks. A sack is a sack. I don’t care who I sack. When he and I talk, we talk about personal stuff outside of football. He was my quarterback at UCLA for three years. We had our ups; we had our downs. At the end of the day, I still consider him a brother and a great quarterback.’’

Takk knows how to self-deprecate, which I respect. For what it’s worth, he and Rosen were only teammates for two seasons but Takk is counting Spring 2015, when Rosen enrolled early at UCLA.

There was a ton of chatter about Takk during the offseason and we got a little caught up projecting him as a breakout player. That’s not been the case, and maybe our excitement was unfair to him. But looking at this from an objective perspective, it’s hard to be disappointed with double digit sacks over his first two seasons. He needs to try to finish on a high note, if possible, but it’s not he’s regressed in 2018.