The Falcons were not great at getting pressure a year ago, which was apparent to anyone with two eyes and a pulse. There are several ways teams try to work around a lackluster group of pass rushers and/or a lackluster scheme, one of which is blitzing. The Falcons also stunk at that, unfortunately.
Alert: A stat that I didn’t need to know but now need to share with you because misery loves company lies ahead, per Seth Galina at Pro Football Focus.
Only 30% of the Falcons blitzes resulted in a pressure last season. By far the worst in the NFL— seth galina (@pff_seth) August 4, 2020
On one hand, the Falcons didn’t blitz all that much, so they didn’t have a ton of attempts to actually succeed with in the first place. Only seven teams blitzed fewer times in 2019 than the Falcons, and they blitzed on just 24.5% of defensive snaps, which was the 11th-lowest number in the league. For all that, they had the lowest pressure rate on blitzes in the entire NFL, the second-lowest numbers of pressure, and the third-lowest overall pressure percentage. It’s not an exaggeration to say the Falcons were disastrously bad at getting after the quarterback in 2019, even by their usual standards.
Subtracting Vic Beasley and adding Dante Fowler Jr., adding Marlon Davidson, Takk McKinley coming into the year with a massive chip on his shoulder, and the Great Charles Harris Revival might make a different there, but the Falcons are just going to have be more creative and more aggressive about getting pressure, particularly when they blitz. They didn’t make the kind of transformative additions to this defense that would suggest they can get away with being vanilla and counting on their talent to win the day, so this needs to be yet another sobering statistic for Dan Quinn and company.
The good news is that the Falcons can’t really do much worse, given that the teams below them are still kinda crummy and last year was a genuine disaster, particularly through the first eight games. Let’s see if this 2020 season will be one where the Falcons can finally put together a solid little pass rush.