Atlanta Falcons Defense Highlight Putrid Start to Preseason

Atlanta Falcons Defense

The Atlanta Falcons lost 23-3 in their preseason opener to the Tennessee Titans. Let’s keep this performance in perspective; this is just the preseason. That is a fact whether this was a good performance or whether it was the performance we just witnessed. It just so happens that this was not the performance that Arthur Smith intended from his team. Especially his offense. But that’s not what we’re going to focus on in this piece. The Atlanta Falcons may have a defense. Let us go in-depth on an impressive debut from Dean Pees and his crew. We also will briefly highlight where they could improve in the future.

Atlanta Falcons Defense Was Lone Bright Spot in Opening Preseason Loss

We will start with those who made their case for the Falcons defense, the lone highlight for the new regime. First on the list is Dorian Etheridge. Etheridge wreaked havoc on the Tennessee Titans backups all night and found himself around the ball often. He also led the team in tackles, with 13 (seven solo) and three for a loss.

Jaylinn Hawkins also had an impact on this new-look defense. Hawkins accumulated three tackles (all solo) and a sack to round out the night. A performance that was necessary to help solidify himself as that fourth safety in the rotation.

The Falcons defense was in the face of the ball carriers of the Titans throughout the night. Pees’ crew racked up four sacks and seven quarterback hits while allowing only 3.8 yards per play and 106 yards passing. Young guns such as Marlon Davidson and Adetokunbo Ogundeji made a big splash against the Titans offensive line. Also, who can forget Erroll Thompson completely decapitating Logan Woodside?

Also, we have to give a quick shoutout to Avery Williams, the new defensive back who is looking for a special teams roster spot. Williams amassed three kick returns for 85 yards and two punt returns for 20 yards to help bolster his case as a backup returner. Williams also held his own in the defensive backfield as the Titans tried twice in a row to beat him in the red zone. Barkley threw two consecutive passes to the back of the endzone, both covered superbly by Williams.

Room for Improvement

Yes, the Falcons were in the passing lanes throughout the night, but this was not a perfect night from Pees’ gang. While the defense was the highlight, the Falcons let up 138 yards rushing. 58 of them going to Mekhi Sargent on 16 carries. While the Titans did not get into the end zone on the ground, they did control the tempo using their running game.

All in all, it was a pretty good outing for the Falcons defense, a performance that they can build off of going into next week. Also, two things are for sure: this is a bend but don’t break defense. And Pees is going to keep things very exciting this year. But hopefully, we will see a better all-around performance from the team next week.

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