Ever since coach Mike Smith took over the Atlanta Falcons back in 2008, one of the consistent issues that continues to derail the Dirty Birds has been their defense that has proven to be incapable of stopping anything or anyone so far in 2013. Although the Falcons’ defense has always been susceptible to giving up yards and big plays, their inability to create turnovers this year has made their defense look from decent to just downright invisible.
The lack of pressure from the front line has made been the direct cause for the lack of turnovers the team has been able to generate. Before the Falcons’ defensive front accumulated four sacks against Geno Smith of the New York Jets, in their previous four games, the Dirty Birds have only gotten to the opposing quarterback three times total.
After being one of the best defensive units in creating turnovers in 2012, through five games, the Falcons have generated three interceptions along with two forced fumbles, as they only recovered one of those fumbles to give them a grand total of four turnovers forced.
While the defense is currently ranked 12th in the rushing departments, the Falcons’ pass defense has been so non-existent, that even JaMarcus Russell could throw the ball successfully if he had the chance.
Although the Falcons have experienced injuries to multiple key defensive players, the Falcons’ defense has been prone in helping struggling offenses look terrific at times.
In Week 2, the Falcons allowed Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams look in sync on offense, as they allowed the Rams to score 24 points. Since then, the Rams only scored 18 points in two games, until they finally broke out against a Jacksonville Jaguars team that may just be the worst team in the NFL.
Against the struggling Jets, they allowed Smith to look like the “Savior” of New York, by letting the rookie quarterback complete 80 percent of his passes for three touchdowns. And this was a week after the same Smith attempted a behind-the-back throw.
The worst stat line, however, was how the Falcons were unable to create a single turnover against a Jets team that has been prone to turnovers so far into the season.
Without the ability to create turnovers, the Falcons’ defense is a sitting duck, especially when they go up against some of the best passers in the league such as Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers.
As the Falcons are in their bye week, coach Smith and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan will have their work cut out for them. If the Falcons’ defense continues to struggle in creating turnovers, their hopes of making a second-half run might as well be over even before they attempt a comeback.
Defense will either open up opportunities for a struggling offense, or it will plague the Falcons for the next 11 games in an excruciating way.