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Reed, Campbell ignite Falcons’ pass rush in season-opening win over the Bears

Posted Sep 11, 2017

Brooks Reed, De'Vondre Campbell helped ignite Atlanta's pass rush in Week 1

CHICAGO – Brooks Reed sealed the Falcons’ first win of the year when he sacked Mike Glennon on a fourth-down play on the Falcons’ 5-yard line with eight seconds on the clock.

Sure, that play will garner tons of attention, but the three other sacks that occurred show a more complete picture of the improvement Atlanta’s pass rush has made since last season.

Here’s a statistic to help put everything into perspective: It took until Week 4 for the Falcons to record four sacks in the 2016 season.

Reed, who recorded just two sacks in 2016, tallied two against the Bears and teammates Vic Beasley and Brian Poole each added one in Atlanta’s 23-17 win.

“It was good to get the guys going in the rush,” Quinn said. “We’re hopeful that’s where some of our turnovers get created on the sack forced fumbles. We knew that part of our game was going to come to life. We’ve worked hard on that part; we’ve added some guys to help in that area. I’m glad they are off to a good start.”

The depth the Falcons now have along the defensive line is a big reason Atlanta’s pass-rushing unit appears to have taken a step forward.

“It’s a combination of things,” Reed said of how the pass-rushing unit has improved. “We picked up a lot of awesome players in the offseason and through the draft. We have so much depth that it’s hard for those guys to get tired and when they do, we just keep subbing in more guys. It’ just always constant pressure for those tackles to go up against. I love it.”

Reed finished the game recording five tackles and two sacks.

Another player who the Falcons didn’t add to their roster per say, but was transitioned into a role of taking on more of a pass-rushing presence, is De’Vondre Campbell.

Campbell’s move to SAM linebacker allows him more opportunities to make plays on the opponents’ quarterbacks, and it’s something he’s worked on all offseason and in the preseason. The linebacker said he wasn’t shocked at the pressure the Falcons were able to put on Glennon during Sunday’s win based on the commitment Atlanta’s defensive players have made to this area of the game.

It was hard to miss Campbell on the field on Sunday -- he finished the day with six tackles and made key plays in coverage.

A performance he knows he and his teammates can build on moving forward.

“Every day after practice I see a bunch of the [defensive] linemen [and I] out there working on our pass rush,” Campbell said. “I just think we are putting a big emphasis on it and it’s starting to show up.”

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