Between Vic Beasley’s move to linebacker, the signing of free agents Derrick Shelby and Courtney Upshaw and drafting safety Keanu Neal in the first round, the Falcons haven’t left much doubt about their hopes of putting more teeth into their defense this season.
The desire to up the pressure on opposing offenses doesn’t stop at the sideline either.
Coach Dan Quinn came to the Falcons from the Seahawks, whose home crowd has long prided itself on how uncomfortable they make things on visiting teams by being loud throughout the game. Atlanta doesn’t have the same reputation, but Quinn said recently that he would like to see that change this season.
“I hope that together, as we go together in creating an environment, even at our home stadium that brings our fans and teams together like no other place,” Quinn said, via USA Today. “So loud that when opposing teams have to come there, that false starts are a factor and we’re getting in the quarterback’s head. Together, that’s what we are aiming for.”
There’s little doubt that the Falcons’ chances of making a playoff run would be greatly enhanced if Quinn can put together the kind of aggressive, effective defense that he helped build in Seattle. If he can, the Falcons may open their new stadium in 2017 with a new level of participation from the crowd.