Falcons to stand up defensive ends more, give 3-4 looks

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

The Falcons are working on using more 3-4 looks with a defensive end standing up.

“There are certainly sometimes now that being up on our feet basically as a 3-4 outside backer, there are sometimes that there’s an advantage to that to edge set and be outside,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on 92.9 The Game on Tuesday. “There are advantages to say I only have to deal with a certain type of play on this one. Like on a third-and-long, you’ll see the guys down.”

» More: Falcons sign Allen Bailey

The Falcons have been standing up defensive Takk McKinley. Teams will have to decide if he’s a defensive end or a 3-4 linebacker.

“That was definitely one of the things that we explored through the offseason,” Quinn said. “Some of these guys who naturally played on their feet before, let’s look at that. We are going through that in training camp and evaluating some of that as well.”

McKinley is the main target of the experiment.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

“So, far and in the spring, he was definitely one of the players on the defense that made the biggest jump,” Quinn said. “He was into that conversation for sure.”

In college, McKinley lined up at left and right defensive end in the Bruins’ four-man front, standing up and putting his hand on the ground. “McKinley has the explosive pass rush potential to terrorize NFL quarterbacks, projecting in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes,” wrote Dane Brugler in his 2017 NFL draft report.

McKinley has made 13 sacks in two seasons, but the Falcons are looking for more production.

“He’s lighter,” Quinn said. “He’s faster. He’s fitter to go all out. He’s got that type of motor to do that.”

The Falcons are hoping the defensive tweak works.

“We’ve put him on his feet,” Quinn said. “He likes seeing the tight end come across the formation. We are going to play some mobile quarterbacks who have some zone-read potential so being on your feet and being able to do (that), there are some advantages. We wanted to make sure that we had good versatility so that we could do that when we had to.”

Position-by-position series: July 8Special teamsJuly 9SafetiesJuly 10CornerbacksJuly 11LinebackersJuly 12Defensive lineJuly 13: Quarterbacks |July 14Offensive lineJuly 15Wide receiversJuly 16Tight endsJuly 17Running backs


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