Texans vs. Falcons: Who is the key to Atlanta’s resurgent defense?

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Aug 14, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Vic Beasley (44) warms-up before their game against the Tennessee Titans in a preseason NFL football game at Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

RG: The Atlanta defense seems much improved from 2014, are they for real or is this just a product of who they have played so far?

FB: It’s hard to say with any certainty because it’s so early, but the unit definitely looks much improved. It’s a combination of things really. Dan Quinn’s style is to play fast and physical and swarm to the football, and this has been evident through three games. The Falcons have made some nice additions to the roster this offseason too, and this is the biggest reason for the improvements.

Vic Beasley Jr. looks like a future star at defensive end. His burst off the snap is lightning fast and he’s beginning to impact games with sacks. Justin Durant was a good free agent signing, as was your former man Brooks Reed, who could make his debut this week after recovering from a groin injury. The arrow is pointing up for this defense, for sure, but it’s far from the finished product.

RG: Who is the most important guy for the Falcons on the defense?

FB: It’s the rookie Beasley. Atlanta managed just 22 sacks all of last season, and the biggest need in the offseason was to add pass rushers. Beasley’s addition is already making a huge impact and he can be one of the best pass rushers in the league in my opinion over the next few years.

Behind him it would be Desmond Trufant. He kind of slips under the radar nationally, but he’s an elite cornerback and is so important to the defensive backfield.

Next: Game prediction