The Falcons are making some changes on their defensive line this week, just in time to see a backup quarterback start for the Indianapolis Colts.
Matt Hasselback will replace Andrew Luck for the Colts, as Luck is out with a lacerated kidney and an abdominal tear. Hasselback is 40 years old, but Falcons head coach Dan Quinn knows the veteran from their time together in Seattle.
The Falcons are last in the NFL in sacks with only 10. They must improve on that number in the final seven games of the season if they are to make the playoffs.
Rookie Vic Beasley, who has only two sacks this season, will move over on nickel situations to the left side of the defensive line. O'Brien Schofield, who also has two sacks, will be on the more-important right side. The Falcons will have Adrian Clayborn (two sacks) and Jonathan Babineaux (no sacks) in the middle.
Atlanta also must get more production from second-year lineman Ra'Shede Hageman, who continues to do well on run defense. He has only one sack on the season. Ricardo Allen, Kroy Biermann and Nate Stupar have the other three sacks for the Falcons.
The Falcons' run defense has been so strong all season, but for it to be a more balanced defensive attack the team must improve the pass rush. Schofield is perhaps a major player in this effort, as he has the most experience in Quinn's defense. Plus, with Schofield now on the quarterback's blind side, it will give him a clearer path to perhaps put more pressure on the passing game.
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