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Dean Pees: Falcons ran 60 percent of defense last year, up to 100 this year

Chris Simms' 2022 Top 40 QB Countdown stops in Atlanta, where Marcus Mariota gets another chance as a starter in the NFL -- but has some things to clean up if he wants to fend off Desmond Ridder.

The Falcons ranked near the bottom of the league in most defensive metrics last season and defensive coordinator Dean Pees believes part of the reason for that was because the team wasn’t running the full scheme.

Pees was hired by the Falcons after they named Arthur Smith as their head coach last year and he said that he felt “there were some things last year that we were probably going to be able to digest and be able to do” as a result of the short time that everyone had to learn the defense. The Falcons have brought in a number of new faces on defense last year, but Pees believes “we can add a lot more to it to be a little more aggressive” this time around.

“I kind of know [that] the guys that are back kind of know what to expect,” Pees said, via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “You know what we’re really looking for. Last year, I’d say we put in, at the end of the year, maybe 60 percent of the defense that we really want to run. This year, it’s going to be 100 percent.”

The Falcons were able to go 7-10 last year despite the defense’s shortcomings, but Matt Ryan is gone this year and the defense may need to do more to pick up the slack left behind. They’ll be hoping that 100 percent of the playbook helps pave the way to that kind of performance.