You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myAJC.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myAJC.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myAJC.com.

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

Neal, Jones named to PFWA All-Rookie Team
Neal, Jones named to PFWA All-Rookie Team

Falcons safety Keanu Neal and middle linebacker Deion Jones were named to the Pro Football Writers of America’s All-Rookie team on Tuesday. Neal, who was taken with the 17th overall pick, finished second on the team with 105 tackles. He started 14 games and added a physical presence to the defense. Jones starter 13 of 15 games and led the team...
LEADOFF: Falcons say PSL sales surpass 40,000
LEADOFF: Falcons say PSL sales surpass 40,000

The Falcons’ sales of personal seat licenses for their new stadium have rallied along with the team’s on-field performance, rising from less than 33,000 at the start of this season to more than 41,000 now. The latest total: 41,102 seat licenses sold as of late last week, according to Michael Drake, the Falcons’ senior vice president...
Falcons amped up for NFC Championship game
Falcons amped up for NFC Championship game

With a few days to savor their playoff win over the Seahawks, the Falcons’ excitement about Sunday’s NFC Championship game against the Packers in the Georgia Dome was impossible to miss. As players burst into the locker room Tuesday afternoon following a walk-through, it was clear that everybody’s jacked about it. Coach Dan Quinn...
Hooper pinching himself over shot at NFC Championship, Rodgers
Hooper pinching himself over shot at NFC Championship, Rodgers

Austin Hooper sounds a bit like he’s having a hard time believing not only that he and his teammates are going to play in the NFC Championship game, but that they’ll square off against one of his boyhood idols — Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Growing up in San Ramon, Calif., before he went to Stanford, Hooper followed nearby Cal...
As Packers feel grind, Falcons ‘physically and mentally healthy’
As Packers feel grind, Falcons ‘physically and mentally healthy’

Now could be the time when their bye for the opening weekend of the playoffs really pays off for the Falcons. It might also be when the Packers finally run out of steam. It’s not as if the Falcons haven’t had their share of setbacks, injuries or otherwise. But compared to the Packers, they’ve had a stress-free path to the NFC championship...
More Stories