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Are the Falcons ready to withstand an injury to Vic Beasley or Takk McKinley?

The health of each will be vital as the team attempts to mount an elite defense.

Wild Card Round - Atlanta Falcons v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

There are no more important members to the Falcons defense right now than Vic Beasley and Takkarist McKinley.

After all, the young pass rushers are the anchor to making this entire unit click. Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford can get guys in coverage, Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell can man the middle of the field and Grady Jarrett can lead the push inside.

But if the Falcons aren’t getting consistent pressure on the quarterback from the edge, this defense won’t reach its full potential and will be easier to score on than any of us are comfortable with.

Beasley looks poised to rebound from a down 2017, and McKinley should continue to see his drastic improvements. Both have enormously high ceilings, but they both carry the same Achilles’ heel: er, everything else around the Achilles.

Beasley has spent his first three years in the league dealing with injuries. A shoulder got him in his rookie season, a shoulder got him again in 2016, and last season, it was the hamstring that held him out of some September and October ball. Some folks knock him for his lack of consistent tenacity, but it’s fair to blame a bit of his 2017 season on the hammy.

McKinley had a shoulder injury when he came into Atlanta, but remained decently healthy throughout until the playoffs, when he hurt the shoulder again. A second surgery left him a bit limited heading into camp, and a shoulder bruise has held him out of certain camp portions. We aren’t likely to see a ton of him this preseason because of it, at least in part.

If Beasley and McKinley struggle with health again in 2018, it does not bode well for Atlanta’s pass rush. Brooks Reed is a reliable veteran, but after him, the team lacks a pure rusher. Derrick Shelby makes plenty of plays against the run, but doesn’t get to the QB like you’d hope. After that, it’s a grouping of rookies and second-year guys with little-to-no experience. Now, Campbell can help out here if need be, but he’s also got important duties to tend to on the strong side.

The Falcons need to carry five rushers at all times, or at least keep two promising names the practice squad, to ensure they’re ready for whatever may come.

Losing one wouldn’t kill the team, but if history holds, both are prone at all times for something not fun. Injuries are tough to prevent, and the Falcons can’t afford to not have an insurance policy ready to go in the event something happens with a spot the team is attempting to find consistency at.

Perhaps one of the young guys like J.T. Jones or Anthony Winbush can come through. Perhaps we’re to see a waiver wire guy come down the pipe. Perhaps this or that. But, something’s clear.

The Falcons have to make sure their bookend rushing duo stay healthy and that they have the reserve forces to step in and spell them if injury strikes.