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Falcons Dc Richard Smith Likes Early Signs Of Stronger Pass Rush

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Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Richard Smith has reason to be optimistic.

Every day he watches rookie pass-rusher Vic Beasley compete during training camp, Smith realizes how special a talent he has at his disposal.

"He’s done a great job," Smith said of Beasley. "I like the effort that he’s playing with. He’s got that elite quickness. And what’s going to be fun and will help him continue to develop is that every day is a good battle between him and [Jake] Matthews going against each other.

"We’ll see what happens when the game times come, but he can be as good as he wants to be. Right now, I like the attitude and the work ethic. And he’s slippery. Part of that is just God-given ability."

Every day that he sees veteran defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn explode off the line, Smith understands why head coach Dan Quinn and assistant head coach Raheem Morris were so enthused about what Clayborn could add to the defense.

"We brought Clay in and we thought he was special with his elite quickness," Smith said. "And you love his toughness."

Beasley and Clayborn are two key elements of the equation as the Falcons look to enhance what has been a pretty much nonexistent pass rush. The Falcons have a league-low 83 sacks over the last three seasons and have allowed opponents to convert 45 percent or better on third down the last two seasons.

That’s why reviving the pass rush is critical as the Falcons hope to make a significant defensive turnaround.

"With the pass rush right now, Coach [bryan] Cox and Coach Quinn have done a great job mixing and matching and throwing different guys around,’’ Smith said. "We have linebackers rushing. We’ve got D-linemen rushing. Clayborn has helped us with speed and he can also play outside and inside. Babs (Jonathan Babineaux) helps. Ra'Shede (Hageman), you can keep him there for the nickel package for his quickness. Ra’Shede is a big, powerful man."

Smith didn’t stop there.

"We’ve got Scho (O’Brien Schofield), with his speed. We’ve got Grady Jarrettwho gives us some quickness and speed on the inside, too. And our backup guys are relief pitchers.

"Right now, it’s practice. It’s one thing playing in shorts. It’s one thing lining up with pads. The next thing is playing in actual games. It will all work itself out."

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Osi wasnt awful, but he was just pullin in a paycheck relatively speaking.

Theres no reason we shouldnt have a vastly improved front 7...OL on the other hand............

Agreed- The DT's: Babs, Clayborn, Hageman, Soliai, and Jarrett are a helluva rotation, and each have some situational strengths. I'm a little concerned at LDE, but I could see Jackson being much better in this scheme, and I'm interested in seeing what Goodman does. On the LEO side, I don't have a ton of confidence behind Beasley, but considering his depth is Beirmann and Schofield, it's a clear improvement on that side as well.

The OL, since you mentioned it... My biggest concern is the depth. The starters should be improved, if only for their fit into the scheme. Matthews will be better. Health is huge though... I'm nervous, because when you NEED all to go right, how often does that happen?

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