If you hit the snooze button a few too many times Tuesday morning, you likely missed head coach Dan Quinn's interview with John Fricke and Hugh Douglas of 92.9 The Game in Atlanta. And if that's the case, you missed a few important tidbits.
Don't worry. I was stuck in traffic and was able to tweet some of them out and I'm providing them here for you.
Let's start with the biggest revelation. The Falcons lost a big man in the middle when they released NT Paul Soliai and didn't address the position in the draft or free agency. The reason? Grady Jarrett.
Those are pretty high expectations for the sophomore defensive lineman, but not completely out of left-field. Jarrett was touted as one of the biggest — if not the biggest — steals of the 2015 draft and saw his playing time continue to increase throughout the regular season.
If you're like me, you're probably thinking of a traditional nose tackle — the Casey Hampton, Ted Washington-type player who is just mammoth and eats up blocks. That won't be what Jarrett is asked to do. At 6-foot, 305 pounds, Jarrett's main objective will be backfield penetration and shedding blocks to get to whoever has the ball.
Jarrett played some snaps nose-up at times in 2015, so this isn't completely new for him, but from a traditional sense, it might be a new concept to most fans who thought they knew what a nose tackle's role is.
"We love his strength inside," Quinn told 92.9 The Game. "He's got leverage, he's strong, he can shed. He was a very productive player so we're counting on him to take over a big role for us. We think he's got a huge future in where he's heading."
Let's move over to Jarrett's college teammate, Vic Beasley Jr., whom the Falcons selected with their first pick in 2015. Beasley had a season where he continually improved throughout and ended up leading the team in sacks with four. I know that's not saying a lot for a team that only put together 19 on the year, but Quinn said Beasley is putting together a "tremendous" offseason and that his final thing to work on is his finish — that is, getting to the quarterback and bringing him down before he has a chance to throw.
Quinn on @929TheGame: Beasley will work left and right side. It's now time for him to work the finish. He's had a tremendous offseason.
If you are having the pass-rusher blues after the Falcons went without adding one in the draft, fear not. Quinn says the Falcons may not be done just yet. Remember, the team went out and added Derrick Shelby in free agency, and while that may not seem like an overwhelming add right now, he could turn out to be a force in this defense — Michael Bennett-type player, if you will.
Secondly, Beasley, as mentioned, is expected to make a big progression in Year 2. If that's not enough for you, Quinn said the coaching and scouting staff is still very active in looking around the league for more players in that area.
The final question of the interview was reserved for 2016 first-round pick Keanu Neal as Fricke asked Quinn what he has to say to fans who may not be overly thrilled with the selection.
We've taken the liberty of giving you some tape below, just in case.