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Goober Pyle

‘We believe in him’: What Vic Beasley must do to improve as a pass-rusher

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https://theathletic.com/1026374/2019/06/13/we-believe-in-him-what-vic-beasley-must-do-to-improve-as-a-pass-rusher/

 

Four players chose to work elsewhere during organized team activities. None, however, drew more attention than Vic Beasley, who is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which saw his fifth-year option, worth $12.8 million, picked up by the Falcons. Considering his sack totals the past two years, Beasley was criticized locally for deciding not to work out with his teammates during OTAs.

After a dazzling campaign in 2016 that saw him rack up 15.5 sacks, he has amassed only five in each of the past two years. Considering he acknowledged that his production needs to improve, it’s easy to see why eyebrows were raised when Beasley decided to work elsewhere.

But, as Beasley said, his absence didn’t mean he was doing nothing.

“When you step away from the facility, you want the coaches to understand that you’re still working hard, you’re putting out your best effort, and you’re not just sitting on your butt,” Beasley said. “You keep in contact with them and let them know you’re giving your best effort while you’re away from the facility.”

Beasley said he was working out in Buford alongside longtime friend Bud Dupree, an outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Beasley worked on his conditioning and targeted what he called “weaknesses” during his off-site training.

Ideally, head coach Dan Quinn would have liked for Beasley to have been with the team during the installation days at OTAs. Taking on defensive coordinator duties, Quinn previously said he was taking a more “hands-on” approach with Beasley. Even so, earlier this week, Quinn cited two reasons he thinks Beasley will be an improved player in 2018.

The first is he is confident the defensive line will be improved, commending Takk McKinley for his offseason workout. Quinn also noted that having Adrian Clayborn back should be important for the defensive line as a whole. Quinn said the defensive line didn’t work in concert to the level it should have a year ago. He previously told The Athletic that only Grady Jarrett and Jack Crawford stood out among the defensive linemen from last year’s roster. Quinn expressed confidence that will change this time around.

But specifically, as an individual, Quinn said Beasley needs to work on a counter off of his speed-chop rush.

The speed chop is a move Beasley uses quite a bit. The goal is to beat the tackle with speed and chop his hands down to avoid being blocked. But with any signature pass-rush move, an edge defender must have a counter ready to go.

Former Falcons defensive end Chuck Smith, now a renowned pass-rush instructor, has watched Beasley closely since he entered the NFL. Smith has worked with countless NFL stars, including Von Miller and Aaron Donald, and believes there are a few tweaks Beasley can make to improve his production.

The first starts with Beasley’s stance. Smith said the goal is to have his rear end up and his hips forward. Beasley must avoid rocking his hips backward.

“You’re more explosive when your hips are forward,” Smith said. “You want to get him into the track blocks, get him into a pass-rush stance.”

The next recommendation Smith would make is varying Beasley’s alignment within the defensive formation. Beasley oftentimes lines up wide of the tackle he’s rushing against. Smith believes Beasley could get better use out of his pass rushes if he lined up tighter to the line.

Now, if this were to happen, the Falcons would be altering their defensive scheme. The idea of lining an edge rusher wide is to create space so that he can get to the quarterback with speed and for the tackle not to be able to touch the defender once the ball is snapped.

But lining up too wide too often can create two issues:

  • If the tackle only has to worry about an edge defender lined up wide, he can cut off the pass-rusher with a precise angle.
  • The tackle has a better chance to prevent the edge rusher from using an inside move. And due to the distance, the edge rusher might not have enough time to get to the quarterback from an inside move out of a wide alignment.

Smith said Beasley could benefit by rotating his alignment from as tight as 1.5 to 2 yards away from the offensive tackle to 3 to 5 yards out. That way he has a better chance of keeping the tackle off balance with his rushes.

“I want him to get tighter and use his vertical speed,” Smith said. “But when you get wider, there are certain moves you have to master because no one can outrun an angle.”

If the Falcons continue to line Beasley wide, Smith said Beasley will need to develop multiple moves to counter. The most important thing Beasley must do is further cement his signature move, which would be the speed chop. Smith added that Beasley has a good bull rush, too. But when these two moves are repeatedly used from a wide alignment, smart tackles can pick up on this and cut off the rush.

Smith said each elite pass-rusher begins a game with his signature pass-rush move. Depending on the plays called and how effective the move is, the pass-rusher will turn to the counter. Each pass-rush attempt is predicated at the line of scrimmage. Once the counter is set up, the pass-rusher must go with it and not think twice about it. Once a pass-rusher second-guesses his rush, it’s over.

In the long term, Smith said he would like to see Beasley develop an outside double-hand swipe, a spin move and the long arm to go with the speed chop. In the short term, Beasley needs to win more one-on-one battles on the outside edge.

Beasley is at a pivotal point in his career. He has had one super-successful season and three others that haven’t lived up to the expectations bestowed upon him as a former eighth overall pick. Beasley said he isn’t feeling any pressure about the upcoming season and will continue to give his best effort to improve. By all accounts, Beasley’s an intelligent player who understands the scheme. While the sack numbers haven’t always materialized, it’s evident that he has great athletic ability and speed off the edge.

“I think that was the reason to do the option in his fifth year,” Quinn said. “We believe in him. We know his ability to have that kind of production is there. Those are the things that we’re going to go after really hard to chase, and he is too. It’s important to show that we can reconnect to that kind of energy to have that kind of production.”

Smith hasn’t had the chance to train Beasley but said he would love to do so one day. Regardless of what happens this year, Smith said he’ll continue to support Beasley. Offering a prediction, Smith believes Beasley will have a standout 2019 season.

“Sometimes it takes guys more than a couple of years to get there,” Smith said. “But I think this year will be the start of Vic Beasley, with the Falcons finally saying, ‘You need to use moves.’ It’s not just all gas to the ‘pedal to the metal.’ You can’t just run upfield for speed. One of the biggest things is hearing the Falcons say, ‘You need to learn moves.’ That’s something I’ve never heard them say.”

 

 

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59 minutes ago, Goober Pyle said:

The next recommendation Smith would make is varying Beasley’s alignment within the defensive formation. Beasley oftentimes lines up wide of the tackle he’s rushing against. Smith believes Beasley could get better use out of his pass rushes if he lined up tighter to the line.

I've said this multiple times. Vic seems like he's rushing to avoid contact and it's killing the arc before he even begins. Once he accepts it's a physical game and gets close with the OTs, he will start beating them again. Playing through contact. He did it in the Washington and Dallas games. But rarely. 

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Adult to child: "Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Child: Of course! He brings me lots of toys at Christmas!

Adult to child: "Do you believe in the Easter Bunny?

Child: Of course! He hides lots of colored eggs for me to find and eat!

Adult to child: "Do you believe in the Tooth Fairy?

Child: Of course! He leaves me a dollar every time I put a tooth under my pillow!

Adult to child: "Do you believe in Vic Beasley's chances of being an all pro?"

Child: C'mon, get real old dude! Not even little kids believe in crazy shi, er, stuff like that! :lol:

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I really want Vic to succeed, but at this point it's getting hard to have faith in him as a player. I think his attitude is terrible. I think he seems self entitled. I hate hearing that he feels no pressure. Dude should be quaking in his cleats hoping he can produce some sacks this season so he doesn't get cut. 

Honestly, I just want to see him put in effort. He doesn't look like he's very worried about much out there.

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3 hours ago, DriveHomeSafelyAtlantaWins said:

A lot of it is Jeff Schultz, isn't it? And he came from the AJC.

Schultz has the columnist role that he had at the AJC and writes on pretty much whatever he wants. Jason Butt covers only the Falcons, David O'Brien covers only the Braves, Seth Emerson covers only UGA, etc. Several of the AJC's beat reporters have made the move to the Athletic. As far as I'm concerned, it's worth the subscription price. The articles are more thorough and don't have to fit within the newspaper's parameters in either column length or content. 

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I’ve been way too negative about VB and find it hard to believe in him. I felt that way after his ‘16 season even tho he had all those sacks. Idk to me something just didn’t look right and I thought he was lucky and always did the same speed rush. I will say I’m pulling for the guy and for whatever reason after reading the article I feel like he going to have a great yr. I hope he does and I have to eat crow pie. I guess I’m really reading in to something all of a sudden with Vic. It’s a good feeling and for the Falcons to really be SB contenders we need Vic to be at hIs best.

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It is really a shame that Beasley has not developed over that past four seasons.  To my eyes, he seems like a guy that is genuinely satisfied with his potential.  

We have all read stories about how Jerry Rice and Michael Jordan worked incessantly during off seasons.  How they always believed that they NEEDED to get better.  They dedicated themselves to their crafts and every year they improved some facet of the games.  

Although we don't know what goes on in Vic Beasley's mind, does anyone believe that he has the same attitude as Rice and Jordan?  I know that Rice and Jordan are extreme examples, but does Beasley have even 10% of their desire to excel?  He seemly is the same player year after year.  He is fit and has enormous speed, but that is pretty much it.    

I don't have much faith in Beasley's progress.  I hope that I am wrong, but I am expecting him to have a great game or two (probably against bottom-tier OL's), but nothing more.

 I don't expect him to perform up to his contract.  It would be nice to be very wrong about him. 

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On 6/14/2019 at 10:51 AM, vel said:

I've said this multiple times. Vic seems like he's rushing to avoid contact and it's killing the arc before he even begins. Once he accepts it's a physical game and gets close with the OTs, he will start beating them again. Playing through contact. He did it in the Washington and Dallas games. But rarely. 

Definitely.  I remember seeing or reading something where his dad was saying vic was always worried about hurting people on the field.  It shows cause there is nothing ever really behind his tackles or sacks. Open field tackles if they happened looked even worse. 

Im rooting for the guy i just think he doesnt like contact or is worried about injuries. 

He never really goes inside where the trash is. He stays outside where its clean.

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With all the help around him now.. You'll see a much improved player this year.. Much improved..  This team was a mess last year .  But the good thing that has came from that horrible last year is it birthed the best off season this team has ever had, period. And trust me,, when you watch a few games.. you'll know I was right with this statement. :tiphat:

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On 6/16/2019 at 10:05 AM, coastiemike said:

I still keep seeing that photo of him standing in the tunnel on the last play of the game watching like the rest of us instead of being on the field with his teammates.

How do you know he was going out to the field,, He may have just finished practice and was tired ,,, I mean,, some people see the glass half empty,, and some of us see the glass half full!! I really like being positive myself,, it's a whole lot more fun and exciting. 

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8 minutes ago, Draftnut57 said:

How do you know he was going out to the field,, He may have just finished practice and was tired ,,, I mean,, some people see the glass half empty,, and some of us see the glass half full!! I really like being positive myself,, it's a whole lot more fun and exciting. 

Game wasn’t over. Game. Not practice. That’s Allen Iverson. 

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4 minutes ago, droopy1592 said:

Game wasn’t over. Game. Not practice. That’s Allen Iverson. 

So? Do you not see other players on our team get tired ???  They all get tired,, we don't have Superman on our team anymore.. He left because of all the negative fans . :yikes:

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1 hour ago, Draftnut57 said:

So? Do you not see other players on our team get tired ???  They all get tired,, we don't have Superman on our team anymore.. He left because of all the negative fans . :yikes:

Something tells me your parents were first cousins . 

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The ability is there. Scheming him and his setups will be key. There has to be a plan. He needs to setup his inside move better. Needs to be more physical as an edge setter and needs to square up and bring it on his tackles. His speed rush alone is so good its worth 5 sacks a year. Problem is we need to see more than just that and stunts from him.  He needs to add to that. 

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