The Atlanta Falcons announced the signing of defensive end Allen Bailey. While he won’t be the answer to the team’s pass rush woes, the signing of Bailey signifies that the Falcons are prioritizing stopping the run.
The Atlanta Falcons surprised the fans with a late free agent signing. The team announced the signing of defensive end Allen Bailey to a two-year 10.5 million dollar deal. 3.5 million dollars of the deal will be guaranteed.
Allen Bailey is a big defensive end at 6’3 and weighing 288 pounds. He is an eight year veteran, that has spent his entire NFL stint with the Kansas City Chiefs until now. He was originally a third round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Bailey is a native of coastal Georgia.
Pass rushing has been the Atlanta Falcons biggest deficiency over the past few years. Bailey can provide some help in that department. He has 21 career sacks to his credit in 102 games and 61 starts. He also has hurried quarterbacks 125 times, with 16 hits that didn’t result in a sack.
Allen Bailey has collected eight sacks over the past two seasons. Six of those sacks came last season. He has 58 hurries, six quarterback hits, and one of his eight career passed batted down in that same time span.
In comparison, defensive end Takk McKinley has logged 13 sacks over the past two seasons. Vic Beasley who has disappointed as a pass rush specialist, has ten quarterback takedowns over the last two seasons. Allen Bailey’s six sacks last season matched McKinley’s number and was one more than the five that Beasley logged.
However Allen Bailey is much more than a pass rusher. His greatest attribute is stopping the run. He has 34 tackles for a loss and six forced fumbles during his time in the NFL.
127 of Bailey’s 196 career tackles register as stops, according to Pro Football Focus. This means he held the ball carrier to three yards or less, without the play resulting in a first down or touchdown.
Over the past two seasons, Allen Bailey has collected 79 total tackles, 52 stops and three forced fumbles. He’s missed 18 tackles in that time span and 27 for his career.
Last season Allen Bailey achieved career best in several categories. He achieved personal bests in total pressures with 36, total tackles with 44 and stops with 30. Unfortunately he also had a career worse 10 missed tackles.
Bailey also tied career highs in sacks with six, quarterback hits with four and forced fumbles with three. His personal best in hurries with 32 came in 2017. He batted down three passes in 2013, his highest total in one season. A real positive stat concerning Bailey, is the fact that he has only committed four career penalties.
Overall Pro Football Focus gave Allen Bailey a defensive grade of 63.3, out of a possible 99.9. He graded 62.0 as a run defender and 58.4 as a pass rusher. The overall grade was the third best in his career, the run defense grade was his fifth best and the pass rush grade his third best.
In a recent article by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC, he quoted coach Dan Quinn on why he is excited about the signing of Dan Bailey:
"“Allen is somebody that we had our eye on for some time. He’s got versatility at defensive end to defensive tackle. … His toughness, his attitude, the edge that he can bring to our club is something that really coveted and wanted.”"
As coach Quinn stated, Bailey brings positional versatility to the Atlanta Falcons. He will likely factor into defensive tackle rotation as a pass rusher.
Allen Bailey should see the majority of his snaps, on early downs as an edge setting defensive end. Expect to see him paired with the returning Adrian Clayborn on the edge often, as the Atlanta Falcons save Vic Beasley and Takk McKinley for pass rushing scenarios.
Bailey should prove to be a good mentor for rookie John Cominski, a player of similar size and versatility. The broken ankle recently suffered by defensive tackle Michael Bennett, made signing Bailey a priority for defensive line depth.
Allen Bailey alongside defensive tackles Grady Jarrett and Tyler Davidson and defensive end Adrian Clayborn, should form a formidable foursome for defending the run. Defense end Takk McKinley, along with tackles Deadrin Senat and Rasheed Hegaman, should factor into the ground game defense as well.
The Atlanta Falcons defensive line gelling into a formidable run stopping unit, is the first step in the defense returning to its top ten status of 2017. If the pass rush steps up and the coverage is improved, the Dirty Birds could have their first top five defense in many years. If that happens, look for Atlanta to be serious contenders to appear in Super Bowl 54 in Miami on February 2.
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