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Falcons Massaquoi In A Rush To Improve


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Falcons Massaquoi in a rush to improve

December, 13, 2013

DEC 13



By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- With all the talk surrounding Atlanta Falcons rookies such as cornerback Desmond Trufant and linebacker Paul Worrilow, it's easy to forget Jonathan Massaquoi is a young player on the rise, too.

The second-year defensive end from Troy had his best game as a pro last Sunday when he recorded 2 sacks and 2 tackles for loss against the Green Bay Packers.

Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora, another Troy product, certainly noticed.

"He's coming along, man," Umenyiora said of his fellow defensive lineman. "He's another good, young player. He's got a great work ethic. He wants to keep getting better. That's pretty much all you can ask for in young player."

In critiquing his own play, Massaquoi was far from satisfied.

"My expectations are high," he said. "Just like everybody, you never want to be good: You want to be great. And if you're great, you want to be elite. So, I've got a long way to go.

"I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to keep making plays. I'm going to keep doing my job."

The Falcons' pass rush has been inconsistent throughout the season, with Umenyiora leading the team with 6.5 sacks. Massaquoi now stands fifth on the team with three sacks. But as a group, the Falcons are tied for 25th in the league with 27 sacks. By comparison, league-leader Buffalo has 44.

As the Falcons prepare for their final three games of 2013, the coaching staff is sure to take a closer look at their pass-rushers. Fans already have started to lobby for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney in the NFL draft, based on the Falcons currently holding the No. 3 overall pick.

Even if Clowney becomes a Falcon, the organization has to consider which combination of defensive linemen will work best moving forward. Massaquoi, who is capable of rushing from right or left end, should have a role for years to come.

"Well, I think he's adept and doing it from both sides," Falcons coach Mike Smith said of Massaquoi. "I think a lot of guys that become really elite pass-rushers have the ability to rush off of both sides. And they like to look for those matchups that are favorable for them."

Massaquoi has a three-step plan for making himself more favorable in the coaches' eyes: no mental errors, executing the game plan, and having fun on the field.

"Those three things, if you combine them together week in and week out, you should be able to go out there and have success," he said.

"As far as the future goes, I'll finish up strong this season. And it's up to the coaches whether they want to continue to allow me to play a bigger role on the Atlanta Falcons defense."

Another game similar to last Sunday would go a long way toward solidifying Massaquoi's standing.

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He had a real good game vs. Buffalo as well. He has really been outperforming Osi past few games.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on the guy. He is looking better and hopefully he becomes the next Michael Strahan but maybe it's just hard for me to get excited about anything when my team that was supposed to go to the playoffs is 3-10

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I said before the season that he'd get to at least 6 sacks....it appears he's going to be a bit short of that. But I do think he's flashed quite a bit and he's a valuable piece moving forward.

Especially if we could get into a stronger LEO or even a more flexible hybrid where we could stand him up a bit.

He's a talented kid.

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One small step.......I still liked the idea of taking the high upside over special teams fodder.

nice observation......Massaquoi was one of the few "gamble on greatness" picks that Dimitroff has made after the 3rd round in 5 years of drafting. Need more of these type of gambles and fewer guys that are team captains that have no upside and targeted for special teams.

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he has played well the last couple games. hopefully it is building his confidence some. if we could get some beef in the middle it will force 1 on 1s on the outside.

It's really not about beef. It's mean n nasty. That's what we don't have. Sapp was the same size as out DT's. Difference? Mean n nasty as sh!t!! Sapp had the combination of smarts, strength, and speed. We have smart and speed. Jerry was that before he blew his knee out. I saw it in him for the 2 games he played as a rookie. It's not about weight because you can be 340 and soft as cookie dough. Plus fatboys get tired if you do the unthinkable and run right at him. That's how Denver beat GB in the SB. They ran right at Dotson and Gilbert brown and Terell Davis had a big game.

Edited by TheFatboi
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