It's been 14 months since Brooks Reed joined the Falcons, and after dealing with injuries most of last season, he seems poised to return to form in 2016.
Reed, who signed a five-year contract with Atlanta last spring, was hampered by a nagging injury through most of 2015. His troubles began in the summer when he needed groin surgery for the third time in his career. The procedure slowed him down for an extended time, he admitted, and while he appeared in 13 games, the 2011 second round pick never seemed to find his groove.
But that doesn't mean Reed won't be an important piece moving forward.
Now healthy, the former Houston Texan is someone Atlanta believes can be a major contributor on defense. And although the Falcons didn't add any sack artists during the 2016 NFL Draft, they believe Reed can help in that area.
"We're hoping Reed comes alive," said Quinn. "He was big time injured last year. We know he's got pass rush to him."
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There's some evidence to suggest that Reed can be a formidable pass rusher: During his rookie season, he tallied six sacks in 16 regular season games, then earned 3.5 sacks in two playoff contests. Reed then notched 10 sacks in his next 31 appearances before signing with Atlanta.
Those might not be eye-popping stats, but if he can establish consistent pressure in the backfield and drag opposing quarterbacks down on occasion, it'll go a long way toward getting Atlanta's defense to the next level.
"All I can say is I'm working to be a better football player," Reed told ESPN.com in December. "It's going to take just a lot of hard work. All I can say is that I'm working at it and it's going to come. I promise that.
"That's something I expressed to the coaches when they signed me: What they saw in the player in Houston is what they're going to get here, and more. My development isn't finished yet. My peak ... I haven't played my best football yet. I'll get there. It's a work in progress right now."
By all accounts, Reed's offseason is off to a good start. He's lost some weight, according to general manager Thomas Dimitroff, who noted that the 29-year-old "was looking good" during recent workouts. Paul Worrilow has been encouraged by Reed's progress, too, and believes his fellow linebacker will have a lot to offer this year.
"He's slimmed down; he looks fast," Worrilow said. "I think he's actually having an offseason this year. I think that's going to go a long way for him. There's no denying him coming off the line, his ability to play football. It's there; he's a ballplayer. I'm excited for him that he's going to get a real offseason to get his game right. I expect a lot of him."