Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett is coming off back to back pro bowl season as a defensive tackle. He lined up as a defensive end in new defensive coordinator Dean Pees' 3-4 scheme against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, and he was held without a tackle.
The Falcons starters on both offense and defense sat out all three preseason games, and the vast majority got their first taste of live action against the Eagles. Jarrett is confident that it will just take time and dedication to see results from Pees' new defense, hopefully as soon as this Sunday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Any time you're in a new system and you don't have a lot of live reps in it, it's going to take some trial and error," said Jarrett. "Nothing that we can't get done. We've gotta do it and learn it. It's a fun system to play in, so I'm excited to get better at it."
"There's definitely some things built in the scheme that give guys opportunities to make plays."
Jarrett was voted one of the Falcons' captains by his teammates this season, and he's leading by example.
Jarrett was asked if he had a preference of playing against a mobile quarterback like the Eagles' Jalen Hurts or a pocket passer like this week's opponent Tom Brady, and he was philosophical with his response.
"To be honest, my preference on that don't really matter," said Jarrett. "You've got to play who you're playing. Mobile guys have success, guys who like to stay in the pocket have success. You've got to deal with what you're dealing with."
In short, Jarrett's preference doesn't change who they have to line up against on Sundays.
The Falcons had very little success in slowing down Hurts last week. He had a 77% completion percentage and used his mobility to extend several plays.
Brady will be more of a stationary target for the pass rush, but there might not be anyone in the history of the game who identifies a primary receiver and releases the ball more quickly than Brady.
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Unless the Falcons get put Brady under more duress than Hurts, Jarrett is right, it won't matter who they're facing. A mobile quarterback or pocket passer is going to have success against Atlanta.
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