Atlanta Falcons: Ten Standout Players Versus Miami

Atlanta Falcons, Russell Gage (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Russell Gage (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons pass rush (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons Defensive Standouts

The Young Defensive Ends

The Atlanta Falcons got surprisingly good performances from several young defensive ends. The attack on Miami quarterbacks was led by Durrant Miles, Chris Odom, John Cominsky and Austin Larkin.

Austin Larkin went undrafted in 2018 out of Perdue and was released in training camp by the Dallas Cowboys. The 6’3 265 pound defensive end signed with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason and is fighting for a spot on the roster.

Larkin is the nephew of former Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Barry Larkin and first cousin of former Boston Celtics guard Shane Larkin, who is now playing professionally in Turkey. He played for San Antonio in the now defunct AAF last season..

Austin Larkin tied safety Ryan Neal for the Atlanta Falcons team lead in tackles with six. Four of those six stops held Dolphins ball carriers to three yards or less, with one tackle resulting in a loss.

Most importantly Larkin racked up a sack and had three total quarterback pressures. One of the pressures resulted in a hit on the quarterback. He was graded 71.8 by Pro Football Focus for the game.

Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff spoke with Vaughn McClure, ESPN Falcons beat writer this week about Larkin and gave the following quote:

"“Nice quick step. Gets around the corner well with athleticism. … He’s not the fastest guy, but he plays fast.’’"

John Cominski did not have the dominant game that he had game one, but he still played well. He made two tackles in the ballgame, with one of those tackles for a loss.

Cominski also flashed once as a pass rusher, hitting the Miami Dolphins quarterback as he released the football. The negative is that Cominski did have the first missed tackle of his NFL tenure. PFF graded the rookie out of Charleston’s performance, a solid 73.3.

Chris Odom also made waves against the Miami Dolphins. Odom is another former AAF player, playing for Salt Lake. He showed flashes as a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons in 2017, prior to being released during the team’s final cuts.

Chris Odom only had one tackle in the game, but it did result in a Dolphins’ loss. He made his mark, putting pressure on opposing signal callers. Odom created pressure three times, including two hurries and one quarterback hit. He earned a PFF grade of 73.6 for his solid outing.

Durrant Miles was the fourth and possibly most impressive of the defensive end quartet. The undrafted free agent from Boise State played in just 17 snaps, but he certainly made his presence felt.

Miles executed two tackles in his limited playing time. One of those tackles dropped the Miami ball carrier for a loss and forced a fumble. The other tackle was a sack of Josh Rosen. That’s making the most of two tackles!

Durant Miles added another quarterback pressure to the stat sheet. He also showed his versatility by dropping into coverage five times, allowing only one catch for five yards.

Miles was rewarded with a PFF grade of 82.4 for his efforts. That ranked him number two among his eligible defensive teammates. It will be a tough climb for him to make the roster due to depth at the position. At the very least he should have earned more playing time, in the Atlanta Falcons next game.