Rashaan Evans has proved to be a very good pickup by the Falcons from the offseason.
He is on track to record a personal best in single-season tackles. He’s on track for 147 this season. He amassed 111 in 2019 with the Titans.
A 2018 first-round draft pick, Evans already has reached career-high tackles (12) twice this season, including Sunday in the Falcons’ 28-14 win over the 49ers.
Evans attributes his success to people around him and said he believes that is the driving force behind his accomplishments this season.
“Just the environment, being able to be around good players,” Evans said. “Also, having the coaching staff that I have now. I have some familiarity with (defensive coordinator) Dean Pees and the stuff that he calls. That’s one of the biggest things. It puts you in the position to make plays.”
Evans also is familiar with coach Arthur Smith, who was an assistant with the Titans before taking the job at the helm of the Falcons after the 2020 season. Pees also was on the staff with the Titans.
“When you know a guy like (Smith), when you know a guy like Dean, and you know how they coach, how they run an operation and the type of organization that I came from with Tennessee, they just know how to win,” Evans said of how the familiarity played into his decision to come to Atlanta. “Not only that, it’s the relationship that I have with these people. They know me, and I know them. So, it just makes things a lot easier to be able to manage, being able to come to a different environment and trying to find my way and fit my way into the stuff we’re doing now.”
Smith referenced Evans’ ability to lead the defense on and off the field for the Falcons, while also acknowledging his personality.
“Evans is a guy that I trust,” Smith said. “‘Shaan’s a fun guy to be around. He takes his job seriously, but he has a really funny sense of humor. He’s been good for us. He brings an edge, plays really hard. He made some really big plays for us in Tennessee. Right now, he’s doing a really good job for us here.”
For Evans, there isn’t a big difference in what he was expected to do for the Titans as compared with the Falcons.
“The play-calling might be a little bit more aggressive,” Evans said. “It’s hard to say (there’s a difference) because the same coach that’s here was at Tennessee.”
With regard to this season, Evans also gives credit to the experience he has accumulated through his career.
“Just bringing everything together,” Evans said. “In my first couple of years, I was still learning the schemes and had some success going into my second year. Being better in coverage is one of the biggest things I wanted to be better at, and I’ve started to bring it all together now.”
Yet, Evans, now in his fifth season in the NFL, still knows there is room for improvement for him as one of the leaders on the Falcons’ defense.
“Still – even right now, even with me bringing it all together – I still think I could even be better at all of the things that I’m trying to (do on the field),” Evans said. “Never satisfied, never complacent about the things that are happening right now. I always feel I can do more. That’s really the mindset (I have) in the things that I’m trying to do right now.”