Quinn to shuffle defensive tackles against Jaguars

McClain and Senat to play some together against Jaguars

The biggest hole on the Falcons’ roster was at defensive tackle this offseason.

Dontari Poe signed with the Panthers in free agency. The Falcons drafted defensive tackle Deadrin Senat in the third round and signed veteran Terrell McClain in an attempt to fill the void.

Through two exhibition games, Senat and McClain have made a push to be the primary replacement.

“Right now they are really playing neck and neck,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Sunday. “Both guys are playing really square. We are trying to feature them both at the defensive tackle spot. Both of them look real comfortable in our base package.”

The Falcons held Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt to 15 yards on seven carries in the run defense’s first major test. They’ll get another one against the Jaguars with running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon at 7 p.m. Saturday at TIAA Bank Stadium.

Quinn also plans to do some experimenting at the defensive tackle spots.

“We’ll need to play them some in the game together, because that could happen,” Quinn said. “We’ve featured some, you probably saw on third down, Grady (Jarrett) and Jack (Crawford) together. I want to work some of Senat and McClain together.”

Quinn is comfortable with how both play the run.

“Both of them have a real similar skill set, quickness, quick feet, really square,” Quinn said. “That part, I think, in the run game I feel good. I’m always looking for pass rushers and different ways to affect the QB. If you know any, we’re still looking.”

Poe played 786 defensive snaps (74.6 percent) last season, second only to Jarrett (794, 75.3 percent). With Poe, the Falcons run defense improved eight spots in NFL rankings. They finished 2017 in the top 10, ranked ninth as they gave up 104.1 yards per game.

McClain, who’s entering his eighth season, played with the Redskins in 2017 and was originally a third-round pick by the Panthers in 2011.

Senat, who lifted 225 pounds 25 times at the scouting combine, played at South Florida.

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