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Culture Setter: Why Former First-Round LB Rashaan Evans Chose Atlanta Falcons

New city, similar staff. Maybe that’s what linebacker Rashaan Evans needed following a down season in 2021.

Evans, a 2018 first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans, struggled with consistency following departure of longtime defensive coordinator Dean Pees. In his final year with the Titans, Evans wasn’t a good full-time starter at middle linebacker, splitting reps with David Long Jr. and former Houston Texans’ standout Zach Cunningham

From the get-go, Evans considered Atlanta because the “right place” for him to rebound. The Falcons, who run exactly the same defense under Pees, needed an upgraded for league-leading tackler FoyeOluokun.

Thats finished . concerning the NFL, things workout the direction they do, and its own for grounds,” Evans told reporters Thursday. “For me personally to possess another possibility to be amongst excellent coaches, in addition to a great team and an excellent organization that is clearly a match manufactured in heaven if you ask me, Im excited for the growing season. Im excited because of this team.

Evans’ best season came in 2019 under Pees in the Music City. He recorded 111 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, eight quarterback hits and 2.5 sacks. He also played a career-high 86 percent of defensive snaps.

There’s still time for Evans, 26, to revamp his career in Atlanta. He’s already further ahead in understanding the defense than rookies Troy Andersen and Nate Landman. He also offers a knowledge of Pees, something fellow veteran Nick Kwitkowski continues to be looking for.

Evans said that certain of the major factors that went into his decision to sign with Atlanta was the support of Pees, calling him “greater than a coach” in all respects of his life.

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“Hes a mature guy, obviously. Nevertheless, you know, he knows lots of things,” Evans said. “And hes helped me a whole lot. In order that was one of the primary things for me personally coming here.

Atlanta will require a veteran controlling the center of the defense. Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones remains on the PUP list in the beginning of camp. He also offers been at the forefront of trade rumors and release chatter before the start of regular season.

The Falcons could view Evans tend to be more than simply a run-stopper up the center. During his time at Alabama, he often would shift to the exterior, becoming a highly effective blitzer. When Pees ran Tennessee’s defense, he often would implore designed pass rushes for Evans to include pressure from the “A” gap.

“Whether its on the edge, whether its in the centre, anywhere,” Evans said of his role at the next level. “Dean Pees and Arthur (head coach Smith) did a really, excellent job of how theyve used me overall at this time, and you also know, Im just happy for all those things.

Smith praised Evans for his mental and physical tools that worked under Pees in Nashville. Up to now, all that has been on display early in camp. Even though Evans could have much to prove, he’s already made a direct effect used, flying to the football and keeping the quarterbacks’ heads on a swivel.

Titans teammate Marcus Mariota can remember Evans playing just like a man burning during practice in Tennessee. This is actually the first time both have already been teammates since 2019, but in accordance with QB1, little has changed.

“You obtain a man like him, he flies around and makes plays. He creates only a mentality for that,” Mariota said. “Being around him for a bit in Tennessee, I believe hes likely to bring that kind of culture here.

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