No matter how down you are on Desmond Ridder or Arthut Smith’s play calling, the Falcons offense seems to have a floor somewhere between “fun” and “productive.” The defense has the talent to be excellent, but we’ve had high hopes for that side of the ball so many times that I’d wager most of us need to see it to truly believe it.
Joint practices are not the ideal proving grounds, but against a capable and dangerous Miami offense, we’re seeing something. We’re seeing the Falcons show up with fire and physicality, and impartial observers and Dolphins-centric reporters alike are noticing.
After 2 days of joint practices, I came away impressed with Falcons new-look defense. They didn’t back down to the challenge of Dolphins uber-talented & speedy offense.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) August 9, 2023
GM Terry Fontenot rebuilt that defense on all 3 levels through free agency & draft. A team to watch this year.
Falcons defense won 11-on-11. Swarming to the football, making every pass tough. A couple sacks, several forced incompletions. Every rep (especially in the pass game) was difficult— Tyler DeSena (@DeSenaSports) August 9, 2023
I’ve harped on the need to not put too much stock in practice, so I’m not going to reverse course here. What I will say is that this Miami offense is not out there lollygagging with their talent and their coaching staff, so this is an earned result. Atlanta has a new defensive coordinator and an infusion of talent that includes one of the league’s better young safeties, multiple respected veteran defensive linemen, and help at linebacker. They should be better, and ahead of actual game action, they look like they might just be.
#Falcons defense is having A DAY. This group is so fun to watch, and these DB’s are out here doing work. In the situational drill:— Kelly Price (@thekellyprice) August 9, 2023
-Troy Andersen nice pass breakup
-Dee Alford with a diving PBU
-Jaylinn Hawkins with a pick to end the Dolphins drive
Atlanta’s day on offense wasn’t quite as inspiring, but again, the presence of playmakers like Drake London, Bijan Robinson, and Kyle Pitts should translate into at least competence, as it did last year minus Robinson, minus Pitts for long stretches, and with some fascinating displays of accuracy under center. We saw solid efforts a year ago defensively with much less on hand, but history has taught us to be cautious about the hope we invest in baseline performances and big gains alike.
In short, seeing is believing for so many things, the Falcons defense among them. With the talent on hand and their aggression against a quality opponent even in practice, we might just be set to see something we’ve waited a long time for.