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Arthur Blank confident coaches will get a rush out of Falcons


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Arthur Blank confident coaches will get a rush out of Falcons

By Vaughn McClure

Although the Atlanta Falcons didn't exactly secure a pass-rush specialist through free agency or the draft, team owner Arthur Blank is confident the pass rush will improve in 2016.

The Falcons finished with a league-low 19 sacks last season. Their 73 sacks the past three seasons is 20 fewer than any other team, according to ESPN Stats and Info. And the lack of pressure a year ago is a large part of the reason the Falcons were tied for 26th in red-zone defense, allowing opponents to convert 62.26 percent of the time.

Regardless, Blank believes in the plan coach Dan Quinn and the staff has in place to address those woes.

"Pressure comes in a lot of different ways, and a lot of different forms, and a lot of different positions," Blank said. "The issue for the coach is not sacks. It's disturbing the quarterback; making the quarterback move. I have confidence we'll be better at that in 2016 than we were in prior years."

Blank also has confidence in second-year player Vic Beasley Jr., who didn't meet his own expectations last season despite a franchise rookie-record and team-leading four sacks. Beasley played through a torn labrum in his right shoulder, an injury he said won't require surgery.

"I think he had a fine rookie year," Blank said of Beasley. "And I think as he goes his second year, he's only going to get better, as will a lot of players as they get more comfortable with the scheme and more comfortable with their roles."

The Falcons appear to be leaning toward a pass-rush foursome of Beasley and Adrian Clayborn on the edges and Grady Jarrett and Derrick Shelby on the interior in nickel situations. The coaches believe a slimmed down Brooks Reed can contribute to the pass rush as well, and veteran Jonathan Babineaux always is capable of adding some push.

With more speed at linebacker with rookies Deion Jones and De'Vondre Campbell, maybe the Falcons can be more effective with their blitzes if the four-man rush fails to create pressure. And undrafted outside linebacker Ivan McLennan might have a chance to make the 53-man roster and contribute based on his quick first step.

Blank, of course, looks beyond just the pass rush in assessing what product the Falcons will put on the field this coming season.

"I'm worried about our overall performance, and I have great confidence in coaching staff -- led by Coach Quinn -- and our players, and our personnel department," Blank said. "I think we had a great offseason. I think we have very, very good free agency. I liked the draft because it was very purposeful in terms of what the coach was trying to accomplish. Every single draft pick fit a specific need."

Now the Falcons just need to bolster their pass rush.

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12 minutes ago, Old Pappy falcon said:

Good stuff Prof! Love Arthur and his faith!

I don't think anyone can doubt Arthur Blank's commitment to bring a championship  to Atlanta, and his willingness to spend the money to do it. That's really all you can ask for in an owner. Let's hope that his and our championship dream comes to fruition sooner rather than later.

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3 hours ago, theProf said:

I don't think anyone can doubt Arthur Blank's commitment to bring a championship  to Atlanta, and his willingness to spend the money to do it. That's really all you can ask for in an owner. Let's hope that his and our championship dream comes to fruition sooner rather than later.

Prof, I can only dream of this year for it to happen. But I can see us winning it all after this year!

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