In reviewing last year's defensive woes, Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith knew tackling had to be a primary focus going into the 2014 season.
Since there is no live contact allowed during offseason workouts and only 14 padded practices allowed during the regular season, the Falcons needed to improvise. So Smith and the coaching staff introduced the players to a variety of new tackling drills.
"Well, we weren't a very good tackling team last year,'' Smith said bluntly. "That was apparent. So one of our focuses in the offseason was 'How can we improve our tackling without taking guys to the ground?' And we've come up with a myriad of drills ... gosh, probably 10.
"It's very hard to simulate tackling. And we want to simulate the finish of the tackle. And when you simulate the finish, that's when you're taking guys to the ground, and you can't do that. So we're using dummies to do it.''
Smith avoided explaining e...
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