The Atlanta Falcons were looking for big things from their starting defensive ends. With Adrian Clayborn gone, Vic Beasley has moved back to end full-time, bookended by sophomore pass rusher Takkarist McKinley.
It is an intimidating matchup on paper, but there is a terrifyingly limited depth at the position. As mentioned by writer Cory Woodroof just days ago, we are relying on player health a lot.
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.
I’m fully on-board with this team being maybe the most talented in team history. As with every team, if you start plucking away at a top few players, the depth becomes very concerning. Reed is a quality backup, but leaves a lot to be desired as a starter. Everyone else is a question mark.
This fact made Falcons fans tense up last night.
Can’t catch a break this year..— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) August 20, 2018
ESPN’s Vaughn McClure tweeted this out early in the morning after Takk’s tweet, which suggested he was at least partially concerned Takk is again injured.
DE Takk McKinley appeared to be getting his equipment adjusted late during yesterday's practice when he took his jersey off but maybe there was more to it. We'll see when Falcons return to practice Tues. He didn't appear to get either of surgically repaired shoulders looked at.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 20, 2018
We were hoping for the best, and guess what? We got it! This is just an update telling you that Takk is fully healthy, and some random tweet isn’t really a good reason to start freaking out.
Everything is fine with Takk McKinley's health so no reason to be concerned.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 20, 2018
Lets not read too far into that part being limited to his health, and assume Takk is fine to finish out the preseason and will be starting in week one. Take some deep breathes and lets prepare for this week’s game.