Offensive and Defensive line season review.
It was a struggle all year for Falcons in general, and the offensive and defensive lines didn’t live up to their expectations.
Even though Matt Ryan had one of his best seasons of his career statistically, the offensive line allowed opposing teams to pressure the quarterback far too often. The offensive line as a whole was ranked 20th in the NFL according to NFL.com. They allowed Matt Ryan to be sacked 42 times and he was hit 108 times total in the season. This caused for a lot of broken plays which led to bad outcomes for the Falcons side. There were times where the offense would start to build a rhythm, however, a missed block or a false start or holding penalty would stall the offense.
The run blocking wasn’t up to par either. There were games where the Falcons could not get anything going in the run game, which led to their play-style being predictable for the defense. The Falcons finished the season 27th in rushing yards per game.
The defense was ultimately set back by major injuries, however, it was still an underwhelming performance from the defensive line.
Throughout the season the Falcons just were not able to limit teams in the run game and a lot of the yards given up were due to big gaps up the middle. The Falcons linemen were hardly able to collapse on the middle to get the stops that were needed. The Falcons gave up the 9th most rushing yards to opponents in the 2018-19 season.
Another area where the defensive line struggled with is putting pressure on the quarterback. Atlanta ranked 22nd in the NFL in sacks with 37 on the season. The lack of pressure on the quarterback led to other teams to get comfortable in the pocket and hurt the Falcons secondary play.
The Falcons will definitely look to improve both their offensive line and their defensive line over the off-season through the draft and free agency. The main priority will be to resign DT Grady Jarrett as he has been the most important player on the line.
Daric Clemens | @DClemens_