In most NFL defenses, using a pass-rush specialist at SAM (strongside) linebacker would be an odd decision. SAM 'backers generally spend a lot of time dropping into coverage and taking on the lead blocker against the run; few are considered great at disrupting opposing quarterbacks.
The Falcons, however, want to utilize strongside LBs in a unique way—similar to the way Dan Quinn employed Bruce Irvin in Seattle. With that in mind, it makes sense for Vic Beasley, Jr., who played at the LEO spot last year, to transition to SAM in Atlanta's base package. "Now's the time to find out: can he have more versatility," Quinn said of Beasley on ESPN. "Vic's just the next one to go through that process."
Falcons coaches met with Beasley last month to discuss a move to linebacker, and after listening to what his new role could be, the 2015 first round pick decided this idea would benefit him and the team.
"It's off to a great start," Beasley said of the change. "I just know that it's a new position. I played a little bit of linebacker in college, but it's different in the league; there's more responsibility. But I'm off to a great start with it. ... I'm pretty sure in the game plan they'll use me in rushing and obviously dropping back, going back and forth.
"I think I'll do great. I have great versatility and athletic ability that God's blessed me with."