Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan knows that the defense must improve for the team to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
He sees signs of progress on that side of the ball, where eight rookies or second-year players are playing vitals roles.
“Vic Beasley had a monster game and got after those guys,” Ryan said during his weekly radio show on 680 The Fan on Tuesday.
Beasley is tied for the NFL lead in sacks, with 13.5, and leads the league in forced fumbles, with six.
But the Falcons need middle linebacker Deion Jones, weakside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, safety Keanu Neal and nickel back Brian Poole to keep improving along with second-year players in Beasley, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, cornerback Jalen Collins and second-year free safety Ricardo Allen.
Although it was hard to tell against the Rams’ woeful offense, Ryan was asked if they defense was getting better.
“Vic for sure, he’s playing at another level,” Ryan said. “I think it’s because his confidence continues to build. That takes time, there is no getting around it. As a rookie you come in and you are thrown into it at all positions and that’s hard. … He’s a quiet guy. He goes about his business the right way day-in and day-out, and I think he’s playing at a really high level.”
Neal leads the team in tackles with 87 and Jones is second with 79. Poole is sixth with 46 and Campbell is seventh with 43.
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