Falcons still looking for their first sack

The Falcons must get Osi Umenyiora going on the pass rush against Tampa Bay.

Zero sacks. That’s a scary number, even after two games for the Atlanta Falcons. They have yet to bring down a quarterback in eight quarters so far this season.

They are the only team in the NFL to not register a sack so far this season. Washington actually leads the league with 10. Even the Jaguars have eight sacks on the season in the first two games.

Last season the Falcons had only 32, tied for third-worst in the NFL. With the change in defensive scheme, the hope was that number would increase instead of decrease.

Thursday night the Falcons will face Josh McCown, who is in his first year as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback. His completion percentage is high (67.9%), but McCown has the 30th-ranked passer ranking (75.1). McCown has thrown three interceptions so far in two games, which has been a surprise since he had only one pick last year for the Bears in eight games.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan has voiced his displeasure with the lack of a pass rush for the Falcons so far this season. It will be interesting to see if the Falcons change things up a bit against Tampa Bay. The Bucs’ offensive line has been dealing with several injuries. Center Evan Dietrich-Smith was limited in practice Tuesday with a bad back, as was guard Logan Mankins as he was dealing with a knee issue. Tackle Demar Dotson was back at full strength despite a lingering hamstring problem.

Atlanta must get Kroy Biermann or Osi Umenyiora in the backfield to put pressure on McCown, who will want to get the ball downfield to dangerous receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans. With McCown’s struggles, Jackson has been limited to 87 yards on eight receptions in two games, while the rookie from Texas A&M has nine catches for 86 yards.

The Falcons want to win games with defense, but to do that they must develop a pass rush. This might be the game they are able to do that with the issues facing Tampa Bay on offense.

Listen to “The Bill Shanks Show” from 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WPLA Fox Sports 1670 AM in Macon and online at http://www.foxsports1670.com/. Follow Bill at twitter.com/BillShanks and e-mail him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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