Freeney to see increase in play with Clayborn sidelined


Khadrice Rollins

krollins@ajc.com

With defensive end Adrian Clayborn out following surgery because of a knee injury he suffered against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the Falcons will look for 15-year veteran defensive end Dwight Freeney to take on a bigger role with the defense.

“We usually play him somewhere in the 20 to mid-30 (snap range), and we’ll ramp that up a bit, and then we’ll just take it game-by-game from there,” coach Dan Quinn said. “The fact we’ve limited him some up until now, he’s feeling fresh and ready to go at this stage of the season.”

So far this season, Freeney has played in 10 games for the Falcons (7-4), missing only the Nov. 3 game against Tampa Bay (6-5). In addition to monitoring his snap count, the Falcons have also limited Freeney in practice, a strategy that has paid off. He is third on the team in sacks with three, trailing only Clayborn (4.5) and linebacker Vic Beasley Jr. (9.5).

Beasley said Freeney’s leadership is a reason the Falcons’ pass rush has improved so much this season, going from 19 sacks in all of 2015 to 24 sacks through 11 games this year. He added that because of his experience, Freeney will be prepared to step up with Clayborn out.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

New England Patriots accepting major philosophical shift for now

The New England Patriots have always put a lot on the shoulders of quarterback Tom Brady but, with a lackluster running game and no defense, things have gotten even harder. Yet, Brady is game for the challenge. With the defense giving up 417 yards of total offense to the Houston Texans and getting just 59 yards rushing on 20...
Seahawks, Titans don’t participate during national anthem

Both sidelines were empty during the national anthem in Nashville. The Seattle Seahawks released a statement saying that the team will not be on the field for the national anthem on Sunday. In the statement the Seahawks stated that the “will not stand for the injustice that has plagued people of color in this country.” Minutes...
WATCH: Von Miller, Broncos penalized for joking with Bills QB Tyrod Taylor

The Denver Broncos might have just lost the game because outside linebacker Von Miller decided to have a joke at the expense of Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Miller made a hit on Taylor and the Broncos were about to force the Bills off the field to get another chance to tie the game down seven points. However, when...
National Anthem protests: How all 32 NFL teams chose in Week 3

National Anthem protests became front page news over the weekend after President Donald Trump demanded NFL players who chose to protest be fired on Friday night. That sparked outrage from every corner of the NFL. Commissioner Roger Goodell, several NFL owners, the NFLPA and players from across the league expressed outrage at...
Steelers, Bears have wild end to first half

The first half between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears had a strange plot twist. Steelers kicker Chris Boswell had his field goal attempt blocked by Bears cornerback Sherrick McManis. Cornerback Marcus Cooper picked up the loose football and had nothing but green grass right in front of him. Unfortunately for the Bears, Cooper...
More Stories