Atlanta Falcons head coach Raheem Morris isn't one to mince his words and when asked about his evaluation of Dante Fowler's season, his response was honest and direct.
Fowler has two sacks in the 13 games he's played in with the Falcons following a season in which he had 11.5 sacks with the Los Angeles Rams.
"It just wasn't good enough for the standard that he's provided for himself or for the standard the Atlanta Falcons have for him," Morris said. "Obviously, he wants to go out and be a disruptor every single time, he wants to get after the quarterback and he has not been able to do that enough this year whether its bee COVID whether it has been injury, whatever the case has been. A lot of things in this business you don't have time for excuses for and he won't be one of those guys to make excuses. We have to get him going, he's a guy we have big plans for, and we'll figure out where we can go next with him."
Fowler started his first season in Atlanta with an ankle injury that occurred during training camp. It wasn't until early October that Fowler said he felt close to 100 percent from a health standpoint. Then he injured his hamstring and was also placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Nov. 14 and wasn't activated to the 53-man roster until Nov. 25.
When he signed with the Falcons in March, Fowler said he had expectations to exceed his production from 2019. When asked about his coach's comments regarding is production this season, Fowler said he agrees with him "100 percent" and respects Morris and loves playing for him.
Fowler said he thinks the best game he played this year was against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 30 where he had one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit.
"In order to be the best edge rusher in the league, you have to put up double-digits [sacks] every year," Fowler said. "That's my job, that's my goal to be consistent every year come out with double digits."
And while Fowler's injuries and the amount of time missed on the reserve/COVID list certainly played a role in how his season went, Morris says he and Fowler won't make excuses. When asked what specifically hasn't been good enough, Atlanta's head coach pointed to one area.
"What hasn't been good enough is he hasn't had his sack numbers," Morris said. "In order to play in this profession, you have to be known for something. If you're going to be known for getting sacks, you have to go out and get sacks and you have to be consistent and you have to be consistent with your effort."