Falcons head coach Dan Quinn spent the last two years as defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks. His team's defenses registered 81 sacks in 32 games, a dominating trend he wants to continue in Atlanta. Before even holding his first team meeting as the Falcons leader, Quinn has worked with general manager Thomas Dimitroff to sign additional players to the roster who can help create chaos for opposing quarterbacks in 2015.
Among the new free agents signing contracts to play defense in Atlanta include former Seahawks linebacker O'Brien Schofield, who played for Quinn the previous two years, learning the key to achieving high sack numbers as a team.
"I think the biggest thing, more so than the front-seven, or a defensive unit period, is going to be the closeness," Schofield said. "How close we're able to get, just as far as bonding and understanding how one another plays, the chemistry is going to have to be there."
Schofield recorded three of Seattle's 81 sacks under Quinn in two years. One might think the versatile linebacker would be unsatisfied with a quarterback takedown ratio of roughly one sack per 11 games, however, that wasn't the case for the five-year veteran.
Schofield said Seattle's sack numbers weren't high initially as "everyone was trying to rack up the stats and go out there and get sacks, but it wasn't until we understood that we need everyone for the pass rush before we started to see more success."
The Falcons' 2016 roster is constantly evolving and we've amassed all the players in one gallery that will be updated throughout the year
The same chemistry Schofield is talking about is what Quinn has been vocalizing since hired by the Falcons in early February. Once Atlanta's defense plays fast, physical and disciplined collectively as expected, the sky is the limit for what it can do this season.
"You have to rush as a unit (in unison) and when you do that, you're able to create so much pressure that it gets to the point (where) it doesn't matter who gets the sack, because we're all celebrating," Schofield said.
"We all have success when someone gets a sack."