The Falcons defense was the highlight of the summer. So much to be excited about and a lot of high expectations. In a matter of three weeks, the unit has lost three key starters. The next man up approach is the best way to remain optimistic. But let’s be real, that optimism isn’t saving the defense. Let’s take a defensive minded look at what to watch for against the Cinncinati Bengals:

Getting Stops

Let’s be honest, the Falcons looked helpless against New Orleans, giving up 43 points. The Bengals have been a very consistent offense to start the season, averaging 29.7 points per game. The weight of this game will once again be on the shoulders of Matt Ryan and the offense.

The defense needs to be able to get off of the field in this matchup. The biggest issue for them has been containing opposing team’s running backs in the passing game. Between Christian McCaffery and Alvin Kamara, the Falcons yielded 29 receptions between the two. The problem isn’t the receptions, the problem is the missed tackles.

Dan Quinn’s defense is built to give up the short yardage plays. Those short yardage plays can turn into big plays in a hurry when tackling is not up to par. Not having the presence of Deion Jones to contain the running back has shown up the last couple of weeks. The defense needs to be able to get the stops they need and not let a player like Giovani Bernard ruin their day.

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Falcons Battle In The Trenches

After last weeks ugly performance from the defensive line, it is a relief that Takk McKinley is back. Outside of him, the defensive line has really struggled to get any kind of pressure on the quarterback. It’ll continue to be a concern of mine, and I’m genuinely surprised Dan Quinn didn’t attempt to do more this offseason.

The Bengals offensive line has been off to a rough start this season. They have only given up four sacks this season, but have been able to run the football very efficiently. This in return has treated Andy Dalton well, buying him enough time to get the ball out. Hopefully, this is the week the pass rush creates some pressure.

Jordan Richards and Damontae Kazee

Eric Reid was a very popular name this week after Ricardo Allen was placed on IR. The name alone gets more praise than his game actually deserves in my opinion. However, he signed a contract with division rivals Carolina Panthers.

Now it’s up to newly acquired Jordan Richards who struggled against New Orleans and Damontae Kazee. These two have big shoes to fill and will be required to make plays all season. Falcons spent a 7th round pick on Richards earlier this season for special teams. Now he’s being rushed into the system and all we can hope for is the best.

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