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Vic Beasley on expectations, disappointment and those who question his desire


Goober Pyle
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https://theathletic.com/1142708/2019/08/16/schultz-vic-beasley-on-expectations-disappointment-and-those-who-question-his-desire/

This was another one of those NFL-sanctioned scrimmages. The players who really matter don’t play, or don’t play much, and just want to get out without so much as a hangnail. The Falcons’ first home exhibition against the New York Jets on Thursday night aroused so little interest in Atlanta that one could buy a ticket on StubHub for $7.86 an hour before kickoff, or you could just stand outside and wait for someone to hand you 10 or 12 for free.

But it wasn’t a completely meaningless night for Vic Beasley. He was a sack machine and an All-Pro in 2016, the Falcons’ season of near glory. He’s likely at the end of his lifeline in Atlanta. Another mediocre season and the Falcons won’t want him back. A good season and another team is likely to offer more than Atlanta is willing to pay. So 2019 is really about two things: whether he can contribute anything in a pivotal season for this franchise and whether he has a future anywhere.

There was a flash of the old Beasley in Thursday’s scrimmage, late in the first quarter. Working in the Falcons’ nickel package on third-and-4, he got a nice jump off the line to force Jets rookie tackle Chuma Edoga into a frantic backpedal, then overpowered him and fought off a block to sack quarterback Sam Darnold and force a punt.

“That was the counter,” Beasley said later. “Coach Dan Quinn has worked with us a lot on having the fastball and then throwing a curveball. It’s like being a pitcher, switching it up now and then.”

 

There was another third-down play early in the second quarter when Beasley and Takk McKinley came hard off the edge to pressure Darnold to throw earlier than he wanted. Grady Jarrett, Beasley’s former Clemson teammate, said of Beasley, “It was good to see him get a sack, and we expect a lot more. It’s important for everybody up front to work together and to show up so we can have a successful unit.”

Beasley hasn’t always shown up. He’s not a malcontent or a malingerer or a disruption in the locker room. He just hasn’t done nearly enough to match his talent level or expectations, and by own admission.

He isn’t oblivious to the criticism. He actually handles it quite well and is willing to stand in front of his locker and respond to difficult questions, putting him ahead of others on the team. The problem is that for three of his four NFL seasons, there have been reasons the questions are asked.

Here’s an interesting exchange I had with Beasley after Thursday’s exhibition, in which he conceded he has disappointed even himself and responded to those who question his passion for football.

Do you feel after such high expectations and two bad seasons that you need to prove yourself?

I have expectations for myself, and I want to be that player.

What are those expectations?

To be a dominant player in this league. I know my capabilities. I know what I expect out of myself. I know what it takes to be a dominant player. You’ve seen me be a dominant player.

There are always contributing factors not in your control. But what’s the level of frustration for an athlete who achieved at such a high level at Clemson and then in 2016 to drop off like you have the last two years?

I’m disappointed in my statistics. But despite injuries, despite whatever else happened on the team, there’s still another level I can go to.

Did you wonder if the Falcons would bring you back this season?

I just left that in God’s hands.

I’m sure you did. But were you concerned that your time here was over?

I put it in His hands, and then ultimately Q (Dan Quinn) and Thomas (Dimitroff) made the decision.

What were your conversations with Quinn like?

I told Q I wanted to be consistent. He understood. My word for this year is consistency. So you can put that down.

Do you have a number of sacks you wrote down?

No. I’ve done that before. My first year coming into the league with the hype, I didn’t live up to that and didn’t get double-digit sacks like I wanted. So lesson learned. So for me, my goal now is just to be consistent each and every year.

This may sound like a strange question, but do you still love football?

What?

Whenever a player’s performance drops off, there are questions about why it’s happening. I’m just being straight with you: There are people who’ve asked me and wondered whether you just don’t love football that much anymore.  So I’m asking: Do you love what you do?

Do you love what you do?

Some days.

It’s the same for me. Some days you love it. Some days it gets redundant.

But I’m 60. I have an excuse.

I have a gift from God. So why not give it my best. And I’ve got great coaches around me and guys who are pushing me. I need these folks. They challenge me. Everybody needs somebody to challenge you. On the field and off the field.

Given the circumstances, I felt I had to ask that.

We live in a world where there are assumptions. Everybody has their thoughts. Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion in a day. That’s the world we live in.

And?

Yes, I enjoy the game.

Full disclosure: I did not expect Beasley would be back after he dropped from 15.5 sacks in 2016 to five each of the past two years. He looked more like a situational pass-rusher, not the game-changer most expected when the Falcons drafted him eighth overall in 2015 and certainly not one worth a $12.81 million salary. Paying that fifth-year option meant the Falcons would be limited in what they could do financially in free agency.

The public narrative was that Quinn, who was returning to defensive coordinator duties and excelled as a D-line coach, believed he could get more out of Beasley. Maybe. But even Quinn doesn’t really know that. It’s believed a major contributing reason Beasley was brought back was to keep the peace. He’s represented by the same agency (CAA) that reps Jarrett and Julio Jones, both of whom were headed for major offseason negotiations (Jarrett has been signed; Jones remains in talks). In the NFL, it’s the way business is done.

Quinn’s own future is linked, in part, to Beasley because an improved pass rush is a mandate for the Falcons. So Quinn has spent extra time with Beasley.

“Most pass-rushers, you better have the other counter punch to that, which is all of your power to go after the tackle,” Quinn said. “This year, he’s done a better job of mixing those two up. You can’t just continue to float.”

No, there has been enough of that.

 

 

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40 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Talk is cheap Vic. Go do it on the field and let your play shut everybody up. 

I'll give him this...at least he seems to be aware and owning it.  Hope it clicks for the young man.

" I told Q I wanted to be consistent. He understood. My word for this year is consistency. So you can put that down."

All I want.  I don't need 20 sacks (tho would be nice) I just want this guy to be a consistent source of pressure on qb's.

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5 minutes ago, athell said:

I'll give him this...at least he seems to be aware and owning it.  Hope it clicks for the young man.

" I told Q I wanted to be consistent. He understood. My word for this year is consistency. So you can put that down."

All I want.  I don't need 20 sacks (tho would be nice) I just want this guy to be a consistent source of pressure on qb's.

Same. DQ will apparently be incorporating more stunts utilizing Vic this year as well. I’m excited about that too, athell. 

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5 hours ago, athell said:

Don't get excited bro.  You know as a Falcon fan excitement leads to disappointment lol

Can’t help myself, my friend. I’ve wanted a legit D here since like forever. It’s why I was so disappointed with our #14th pick. 

(Not to rehash that all over again, but it’s the only reason why...Lindstrom is gonna be a fine player for us)

But other than that, I really am liking what I’ve seen team do shoring up the defense. (Davidson/Bailey, the rookie corners, Cominsky et al). All that plus Quinn seems dialed in to be more aggressive. As you and I have discussed, **** the passive approach. We want an attacking style defense, with blitzing and stunts et al.

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6 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Can’t help myself, my friend. I’ve wanted a legit D here since like forever. It’s why I was so disappointed with our #14th pick. 

(Not to rehash, but it’s the reason why)

But other than that, I really am liking what I’ve seen team do shoring up the defense. (Davidson/Bailey, the rookie corners, Cominsky et al). All that plus Quinn seems dialed in to be more aggressive. As you and I have discussed, **** the passive approach. We want an attacking style defense, with blitzing and stunts.

Same.  Lord help us!

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37 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Can’t help myself, my friend. I’ve wanted a legit D here since like forever. It’s why I was so disappointed with our #14th pick. 

(Not to rehash, but it’s the reason why)

But other than that, I really am liking what I’ve seen team do shoring up the defense. (Davidson/Bailey, the rookie corners, Cominsky et al). All that plus Quinn seems dialed in to be more aggressive. As you and I have discussed, **** the passive approach. We want an attacking style defense, with blitzing and stunts.

THIS.  The defense is gonna be aggressive and dictate instead of sitting back and getting carved up in zone.  I expect Beasley to have around 8 sacks this season, which combined with about 4 or 6 from Takk would be ok because of the turnovers they are gonna generate on the back end...

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45 minutes ago, Vandy said:

Can’t help myself, my friend. I’ve wanted a legit D here since like forever. It’s why I was so disappointed with our #14th pick. 

(Not to rehash, but it’s the reason why)

But other than that, I really am liking what I’ve seen team do shoring up the defense. (Davidson/Bailey, the rookie corners, Cominsky et al). All that plus Quinn seems dialed in to be more aggressive. As you and I have discussed, **** the passive approach. We want an attacking style defense, with blitzing and stunts.

I for one was more of the 'big deal' type attitude when we signed Davison, but I will admit that I was wrong, he's impressed the heck outta me so far. 

 

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30 minutes ago, papachaz said:

I for one was more of the 'big deal' type attitude when we signed Davison, but I will admit that I was wrong, he's impressed the heck outta me so far. 

 

Same for me Papa, He looks to be our best offseason pickup.

We missed D Poe more than most folks realize. Not so much for the tackles/QB pressures, but for how he took on blockers/doubleteams which kept our smallish LBers free to make plays. 

Davison is a huge (pun intended) upgrade over McClain.

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Matt....Julio....Vic....Trufant....Freeman

And the rest of the bunch including Q says the same stuff every year...

" this is the best camp...everybody grinding...oh he looks good...oh he ready...hes really improved...."

I know...what else are they supposed to say...i get it...

But I was taught that talking without results is just talk...Im tired of listening..

I want to see  results...I dont want to hear excuses..because there should not be any....

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Wow, I gotta say ... those were some hard questions right there.

That's some good reporting.

I don't always want reporters asking negative questions and trying to stir up drama. But every now and then, like in this case right here, it's AMAZING to see a reporter get real like that with a player. Actually, I can't remember a time in recent years that has happened in a Falcons lockerroom.

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Hes looks to be using his hands a lot more at least in the preseason games. He actually looks like hes trying to me rather than waiting on the sack to come to him.

I see a difference. Maybe it's a combination of having our safeties back as well as them challenging the wrs more. There is definitely a change.

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2 hours ago, Vandy said:

Can’t help myself, my friend. I’ve wanted a legit D here since like forever. It’s why I was so disappointed with our #14th pick. 

(Not to rehash, but it’s the only reason why...Lindstrom is gonna be a fine player for us)

But other than that, I really am liking what I’ve seen team do shoring up the defense. (Davidson/Bailey, the rookie corners, Cominsky et al). All that plus Quinn seems dialed in to be more aggressive. As you and I have discussed, **** the passive approach. We want an attacking style defense, with blitzing and stunts.

Yup...being aggressive is what we want.

Blitzing and stuff is nice but as my friend @Knight of God has pointed out...that is just football porn.

We need an aggressive mindset....which we seem to have from the little that I have watched this preseason.

We seem to have the mindset so far of "yeah you may get the first down but you are goinf to earn every pucking yard of it".

Where as last year it was just hoping that someone would make a play

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