Atlanta Falcons Blog

Atlanta Falcons blog by D. Orlando Ledbetter, the pro football and Atlanta Falcons reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cox wants widespread panic from quarterbacks

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MOBILE, Ala. – New Falcons defensive line coach Bryant Cox will be charged with ramping up the pass rush.

We’ll have to stay tuned to see if the Falcons trade up to get South Carolina’s defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who will be long gone if they sit in the No. 6 spot of the NFL draft..

The Falcons had only 32 sacks, tied for 30th with Houston last season. Only Jacksonville (31) and Chicago (31) had more.

Cox shares head coach Mike Smith’s philosophy about sacks not being the key barometer of the pass rush.

He subscribes to the widespread panic approach to affecting the quarterback.

“If you can make the quarterback move his feet and get him off the spot, a lot of times that creates errant throws and that creates interceptions, turnovers and panic,” Cox said. “So, I would agree that sacks are not necessarily always the thing you strive for. I think the biggest thing is that you want to affect the quarterback. You want to make him know and understand and feel that you’re are around at all times.”

Under Smith, the Falcons have averaged 31.2 sacks preseason and have never been ranked in the top 10 in the league. (See chart below).

Cox, when he was the defensive line coach with Cleveland in 2009, had a top 10 finish. The Browns had 40 sacks and ranked eighth in the league.


Year Sacks League rank

2008 -- 34 -- 11th

2009 -- 28 -- 26th

2010 -- 31 -- 20th

2011 -- 33 -- 19th

2012 -- 29 -- 28th

2013 -- 32 -- 30th

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About the Author

D. Orlando Ledbetter is the Atlanta Falcons beat writer for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.