Falcons' defense wins Saturday's camp session

Savannah Richardson
August 05, 2018 - 8:47 am
Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett

© Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


Atlanta hosted its fourth annual Military Day on Saturday. The practice featured the second half of the scrimmage from earlier in the week. Both the Red and White team donned camouflage uniforms in honor of the military. The red team defeated the White team 24-17.

Today’s post focuses on the defense because in my opinion, won the Falcons training camp. From turnovers to just manhandling the offensive line, the defense showed just how talented they are. It wasn’t just the Red or the White defense that stood out; it was the defense as a whole.

Grady Jarrett is a freak. That’s the best way to describe him. He’s one of the quickest defensive tackles I’ve ever laid eyes on and got the opportunity to watch. Throughout day eight of training camp, he seemed to be in on every defensive stop. Jarrett got close to Matt Ryan multiple times forcing the quarterback to make a decision before he wanted to.

I cannot mention the defensive line without mentioning Vic Beasley. Of course, he’s been in my reports all week, but the guy can ball. He kept Matt Ryan on his toes all day and forced the quarterback to throw to his last option multiple times. He didn’t steal anyone soul today, but he showed great leadership and just sheer football talent.

Jack Crawford was another name on the defensive line that made a statement on Saturday. He made plays and flew around. After suffering from an injury last season, the expectations for him are high.  He met those on Saturday. Even Dan Quinn commented the defensive lineman.

“I thought Jack Crawford was one that stood out today,” Quinn said. “He looked to have a good day and was real active in the run game and the pass game.”

Deadrin Senat and Crawford both showed a lot of promise during training camp, and both of them put some severe pressure on the red team’s quarterbacks.

Falcons linebacker Duke Riley was someone who stood out during the scrimmage too. Riley’s a quick guy that can cover a lot of ground. He’s crazy fast, and his ball tracking abilities made me raise an eyebrow. At one point he stayed stride-for-stride with Devonta Freeman which landed him a pass break up. Quinn mentioned a few times that turnovers need to happen more and Riley showed how important that is.

Rookie, Isaiah Oliver from the University of Colorado made a name for himself Saturday afternoon. The rookie earned his first interception of training camp as he picked off Matt Schaub who threw the ball behind wide receiver Justin Hardy. Oliver worked a lot on the outside during camp and covered Julio Jones giving the rookie a good challenge. Not many rookies can say they go up against a Jones’ caliber receiver on a daily basis.

Justin Bethel shined again on Saturday. The cornerback had moments of excellence throughout training camp and continued that on the final day. He broke up a pass against Mohamed Sanu in the end zone to avoid a white team score.