FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — A season of bottom-color defense was too much for Dean Pease.
Paes, the Atlanta Falcons’ veteran defensive coordinator, is making sure his players know he won’t be standing for another season like in 2021, when Atlanta were eliminated 7-10. Only two NFL teams allowed more points than the Falcons. Neither team had less sacks.
The 72-year-old Pease is only entering his second season at Atlanta, but he is already tired of seeing the defense’s poor performance.
“I’m sick of that crap,” Peace said Saturday during a fiery rant about “changing the culture around this staggering place.”
Led by first-year coach Arthur Smith, the Falcons could not avoid losing their fourth consecutive season. He is chosen by many to come close to the bottom of the league standings in 2022.
While a lot of attention has been paid to new names in the quarterback – veteran Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder – the fate of the Falcons may rest with their defense.
Pease knows that some of his players will also be ready to climb into the middle of the defensive standings. The mere suggestion of accepting mediocrity is enough to raise their voice.
“It won’t be mediocre,” he said. “It’s not going to be average. It’s not going to be at the bottom of the league like 15 of the last 20 years.”
Pease was previously the defensive coordinator for New England, Baltimore and Tennessee.
In Atlanta they have to face various challenges. The pay-cap-tied Falcons lost lead tackler Foye Olukon and released Duran Harmon and CB Fabian Morrow to safe agency and released linebacker Dante Fowler and defensive lineman Tyler Davison.
Pees is building around veteran defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and third-year cornerback AJ Terrell. Veteran linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Ration Evans and cornerback Casey Hayward were added in the off-season and are expected to help reset expectations.
“It all starts in practice at camp right now, just building the chemistry, building trust, just going out there and dominating any period in practice,” Terrell said. “Simply holding each other accountable, let’s create the dramas we face. … we are on the right track.”
Pease promised that he would start the most qualified players, regardless of salary or experience.
“All I know is that the best 11 guys are going to be out on the field,” said Peace, adding that he wants “the best 11 guys who are hungry and want to play. And if one of them isn’t making a lot of money.” Is it? Tough, get the hell out of it. I’ve done it before.”
The Falcons had their first practice in the pads on Monday, but didn’t wait that long to pick up the intensity. Coach Arthur Smith and his assistants had to break two bouts in Saturday’s session.
Pease said he liked the spirit. He said he would like to see his players fight, before adding, “I don’t want them to fight fists.”
“Sometimes you’re going to have some scramble when stuff starts getting competitive,” he said. “It’s what you want. You don’t want people sitting back and sitting idle. That’s football. … It’s a tough sport. You want people who want to compete.”
Smith also approved of the aggressive sentiment.
“I’d rather have people you need to pull back than people you have to push,” Smith said. “This team is competitive as hell and it’s a fun group to coach.”
NOTES: General Manager Terry Fontenot declined Monday to compare the six-game suspension handed to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshan Watson after he was accused of sexual misconduct during a massage treatment by two dozen women in Texas, a A suspension of the year was given to Falcon WR Calvin Ridley for betting. on games. “It’s a league matter,” Fontenot said. “…we focus on the things we can control and don’t really waste our time or energy on the things we can’t control.” …no update on the status of LB Dion Jones, who opened training camp on the physically disabled performance list after off-season shoulder surgery. “We haven’t put a timetable on this, but he’s working with the trainers and preparing himself,” Fontenot said.
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