Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley took a big jump in his second NFL season as he went from four sacks as a rookie to leading the league with 15.5 of them last year.
Beasley’s production as a pass rusher off the edge last year helped lift the Falcons to the NFC title and other teams surely took notice of the way that Beasley could impact games by collapsing the pocket. Beasley expects that will mean more blockers devoted to slowing him down in 2017 and he’s spent time this offseason preparing ways to counter that attention.
“It’s just the attention that I’m about to get,” Beasley said, via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You get chippers and a lot of attention whether it is two or three men blocking you. [I] worked on things and practiced those type of things out there on the practice field. Then I’ll try to see if I can apply it to the game. When they bring three it’s pretty rough, but the main thing is realizing the play before the play actually happens. That’s when you realize what you are about to get and what’s going to be coming your way. That all goes into the game plan and getting ready throughout the week. I think being well-prepared will definitely help me to become more effective.”
Beasley will have to work out ways to deal with the spotlight from opposing offenses, but the job will be made easier if other Falcons can make teams pay for devoting manpower to Beasley’s side. That was part of the idea behind drafting Takkarist McKinley in the first round and the team hasn’t ruled out a return for Dwight Freeney as another piece to their pass rushing puzzle in 2017.