The Falcons fanbase has spent the offseason dreaming of what new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan will do with Atlanta's defense. The long-time NFL coordinator's career has been littered with success and the fanbase hopes he'll be able to bring that same success to a largely young and hungry defense.
Defensive line coach Ray Hamilton shared some insight into what he expects from the defensive line inside Nolan's scheme on Sunday. Nolan has mentioned in the past that he prefers multiple linemen getting sacks instead of having one or two premier pass rushers racking up the totals. Hamilton broke down that theory a little, explaining a pressure-intensive scheme will send players from different positions.
"We have a pressure-type defense," Hamilton said. "If you're pressuring, you're sending other people, sending some linebackers and defensive backs. It's kind of like the Jets. The sacks are going to be spread around. If you're only rushing four guys, then your sacks will be mostly from your defensive line. Our system, we have other guys rushing and coming in there like that. The whole key is to put pressure on the quarterback. This is a quarterback-driven league. We want to make him make quick decisions and hopefully he'll make some wrong decisions and we'll get some interceptions and sacks and everyone will be productive."
Hamilton said he thinks Lawrence Sidbury and Cliff Matthews are two players that will be able to help in that pressure package.
"We've got a good group of young guys," he said. "(Sidbury) and Matthews, those guys, they have to come back this year, get better, improve and show that they can be productive day in and day out. We expect that him and Matthews will come in and compete for jobs."
Head coach Mike Smith has preached the philosophy of rotating defensive linemen since he's been in Atlanta. Hamilton says that won't change with Nolan at the head of the defense.
"Every team in the league now, practically, has seven or eight defensive linemen that they play with," he said. "You try to roll those guys and keep them fresh. We're the only position, besides the offensive line, on the field that is making contact and wrestling with somebody every single snap. It wears you out."