For Takk to Succeed He Must Change, Develop Signature Moves

Or suffer "same fate" as Vic Beasley

Dukes & Bell
February 04, 2020 - 9:42 pm
Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley

© Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

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Just like the rest of the city, Dukes & Bell are still dissecting the news that the Atlanta Falcons will not pursue a new contract with defensive end Vic Beasley. More than what happens next for the team, the guys had pass-rush specialist and former Falcons defensive lineman Chuck Smith on the show Tuesday to talk about Takk McKinley.

What’s next for Takk?

The easy question for Smith was whether or not McKinley can reach the double digit sack plateau. The hard part… how?

“I'll say this... Takk McKinley can be a double-digit sack guy, but let me break this down, it's important,” Smith explained. “There are other elements involved with Takk McKinley that come into play for him to become that guy. The first thing is it's going to take a complete changing in his mindset in the way that he is trained, not coached.”

Smith explained that coaches tell players what to do, trainers teach players, they teach pass-rushers. Smith believes McKinley is going to have to re-learn the art of pass rushing.

“Takk McKinley has to stop being a primary bull-rusher,” said Smith. “Takk McKinley has to develop finesse, explosive hand movement that will take away the pressure of him having to ... strike and bull. What happens when you bull-rush it's like a wrestling match.

“What happens with Takk is he's always on the ground slamming his shoulders. He uses a bull rush and he tries to use a long arm. All that pressure goes on him. So what he has to do for him to survive, for him to thrive is he has to learn explosive moves with his hands like a side scissors swipe, like you so [Nick] Bosa do two days ago. Or he has to use a cross style move like Adrian Clayborn does or like or like Demarcus Lawrence or Robert Quinn, I can go down the list.”

Smith believes Takk must change his pass-rush style to take pressure off his body, in particular his shoulders, which have been an issue for the youngster out of UCLA since he entered the league.

But there’s more, says Smith.

“Takk McKinley is a defensive end but he stands up all the time like he's a 3-4 backer,” said Smith. “Some of that might come from his shoulders. But for Takk McKinley to be successful in the National Football League he has to develop signature moves just like Vic Beasley or he will have the same fate.

“It's out there for Takk. I love Takk. He can do it. The big story this year is going to be Takk McKinley's development when it comes to his moves and the position coach, the new coach Tosh [Lupoi]. You gotta get him right and you gotta teach him moves. No more long-armin' and no more bull-rush attack. He's got to develop a spin, some head fakes, and all that stuff. He's gotta have more finesse and explosive moves and it can't start with him at OTAs.”