The Atlanta Falcons have been putting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2012, and they’re looking to continue that trend heading into Sunday’s matchup with the San Diego Chargers. Norv Turner’s squad showed vulnerability in the pass-blocking department last week, and they’ll have their hands full once again in Week 3.
Left tackle Jared Gaither is still recovering from a back injury, forcing Mike Harris to take over the job of protecting Philip Rivers’ blindside. Harris rated a -6.2 overall last week after taking on Kamerion Wimbley and allowing 10 quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus ($$). While Harris has not allowed a sack yet in 2012, he is letting pressure get to Rivers frequently.
On the other side of the line, Jeromey Clary finished with a -3.7 in pass protection against the Titans, yielding three sacks, three hurries and one other hit on Rivers. San Diego as a whole currently holds a rating of -5.4 in pass protection this year, ranking in the bottom 10 in the NFL.
Defensive end John Abraham is not going to make things easier for Harris this week. The veteran pass rusher only recorded one sack in the first two weeks of the season, but if Harris puts in another performance like he did against Tennessee, Abraham can easily take advantage of the situation. After taking on the likes of Branden Albert and Ryan Clady, two solid left tackles in the league, Abraham will welcome the sight of Harris on Sunday.
Safety William Moore currently holds the highest rating among the Falcons in regards to pass rush with a 1.4 overall, according to Pro Football Focus. New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan is releasing the full potential of Moore this season, allowing him to do a bit of everything on defense. He’s been vital in attacking opposing quarterbacks, and if the Falcons can send him on blitzes outside against these weak tackles, Rivers won’t be taking his time to scan the field very often.
Rivers looks more like his 2010 form this season, which is why the Falcons must rattle him early on. Putting pressure on the Chargers leader and forcing him to make hurried throws will lead to more turnovers by this aggressive Nolan defense.