Paul Soliai on IR, D.J. Tialavea promoted to 53-man roster


Paul Soliai‘s 2015 season with the Atlanta Falcons comes to an end, as the Atlanta Falcons place their nose tackle on Injured Reserve with a calf injury.

Early in Sunday’s upset victory over the then undefeated Carolina Panthers, starting nose tackle Paul Soliai had trouble with his calf. The biggest man on the Atlanta Falcons at times could not walk on the sidelines his calf was hurting him so badly.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons thought it was best to put Paul Soliai on the Injured Reserve list, thus ending Soliai’s 2015 campaign with the Atlanta Falcons, his second season with the team. Atlanta opted to promote tight end D.J. Tialavea from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to compensate for Soliai’s game on IR.

Atlanta signed Soliai to a five-year deal worth $33.5 million during the free agency period before the 2014 NFL season. Paul Soliai was a 1-technique nose tackle in Dan Quinn’s 4-3 Under base defensive scheme. While nose tackles normally don’t seem in 4-3 defensive schemes, the under shift put Soliai up against the interior offensive line with rookie pass rusher Vic Beasley coming off the edge in a defensive end/outside linebacker role better known as the LEO.

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Soliai does his best work taking on multiple offensive linemen, allowing his defensive ends and other pass rushers to either disrupt the quarterback or stuff the run. Though Atlanta’s pass rush was again lackluster in 2015, it did at one point have the best rushing defense before the massive six-game losing streak ruined that.

Paul Soliai was literally a big reason for the Atlanta Falcons’ success in first and second down defense. He finishes 2015 with 10 starts in 14 games played with 17 tackles and 5 assists. With rookie Grady Jarrett questionable to go against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, that could mean a ton of action at defensive tackle for second-year player Ra’Shede Hageman and veteran defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux. Look for Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn to get creative with his defensive line in the final regular season game for the Falcons.

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It is doubtful that D.J. Tialavea will get some action on Sunday, as the Atlanta Falcons already has three tight ends on the active roster: Jacob Tamme, Levine Toilolo, and Tony Moeaki. However with this game having no playoff implications for either the Atlanta Falcons (8-7) or the New Orleans Saints (6-9), we really have no idea what Dan Quinn or New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton have cooking for the biannual NFC South rivalry game. Rise Up!