One of the most important things the Atlanta Falcons defense has to accomplish during the Super Bowl on Sunday is getting pressure on Tom Brady. That’s the key to slowing down the Patriots offense, as many teams have shown throughout the years.
One of the Falcons’ best pressure guys, although he plays in a rotational role, is Dwight Freeney.
Freeney missed Thursday’s practice with a calf injury that seems to have just popped up. He had not previously missed any practice this week or last.
According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Freeney’s calf issue is not considered serious, and that’s a big break for Atlanta. Freeney finished third on the team in sacks this season, but his 46 pressures, per Pro Football Focus, were actually one more than NFL sack leader Vic Beasley totaled.
Freeney is likely to see 25-35 snaps as a rotational pass rusher Sunday, and will have to go full bore to get to Brady before the quarterback gets the ball out to his man. Freeney spoke earlier this week about how frustrating it is to play against Brady for exactly that reason. He has sacked Brady about half as often (once every 3.25 games) as he has sacked other quarterbacks (once every 1.65 games) over his career.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Dwight Freeney sits out Falcons’ Thursday practice with calf injury