ATLANTA — Improving the team’s pass rush is one of the Falcons’ offseason priorities.
With Vic Beasley and Grady Jarrett not attending the voluntary OTA workouts, defensive end Takkarist McKinley has been getting individual attention from coach Dan Quinn, who’s considered one of the top defensive line coaches in the NFL.
McKinley led the team in sacks last season, with seven.
But, he made 5.5 of those sacks in the first three games of the season before going seven consecutive games without making a sack. He made 1.5 sacks over the last two games after the team was eliminated from the playoffs.
McKinley didn’t want to fully discuss his offseason when he met briefly with the media Thursday.
Here’s how the interview with the local media went:
Good afternoon, how are you doing today?
“I’m good,” McKinley said.
How are things going for you in the middle of the OTAs and so forth? How are you feeling about that?
“It’s going good,” McKinley said.
What are some of things that you are trying to focus on here in the offseason program?
“I’m just trying to be good, get good,” McKinley said.
While you’re trying to be good, coach (Dan Quinn) said last week that he has you at some linebacker there, saw you working on some takeoffs today. How are those things coming? How new and different are they for you?
“It’s going pretty good,” McKinley said.
After McKinley tried to leave, he returned to answer more questions.
A couple of years into the NFL now, showing backup for offseason workouts, how does it feel different now versus the past few?
“Pretty good,” McKinley said.
There were a lot of Falcons fans that were following the news this summer in California who were concerned. What should they know about what you were going through? What's the message to them?
“I’m good,” McKinley said.
I don’t know if you heard (about) the support. I just saw a lot of it on social media. What was that like for you, hearing your supporters reaching out?
“It was good,” McKinley said.
McKinley was drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft and immediately became a media darling after his raw emotional arrival on the NFL draft stage with a picture of his grandmother, who raised him.
During his rookie season, while recovering from shoulder surgery, he played in all 18 games and had eight sacks, including two in the playoffs.
Last season, he started eight of 15 games.
When the Falcons drafted McKinley, they were hoping that he and Beasley would turn into a dynamic pass-rushing duo.
The last time the Falcons had two double-digit sackers was in 2004, when defensive end Patrick Kerney had 13 and defensive tackle Rod Coleman had 11.5 as the Falcons were on their way to the NFC Championship game.
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