Beasley was limited in practice again Friday as he continues to nurse a minor ankle injury, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Beasley's ankle issue will be monitored heading into Sunday's tilt against the Steelers, as the pass rusher was unable to log a full practice this week. Fellow defensive end Derrick Shelby (groin) has already been ruled out for Week 5, so the team could rely heavily on Takkarist McKinley if Beasley were to suffer a pregame setback.
Atlanta can ill afford another injury to the defense, as the season is already on the brink of derailment with four Week 1 starters inactive for Sunday's must-win game at Pittsburgh. The Falcons desperately want to witness a resurrection of the 2016 Vic Beasley, who paced the NFL with 15.5 sacks, but he has been underwhelming in recording just six sacks over his past 18 appearances. Beasley and the front seven look to generate consistent pressure on Ben Roethlisberger, whose offensive line has looked more suspect than it did this time last year -- surrendering 2.3 sacks per game, compared to 1.5 sacks allowed per game during 2017.
Beasley, a 2015 first-round pick, is set to make $14.2 million in the final year of his deal in 2019. The Falcons were always expected to pick up Beasley's option after general manager Thomas Dimitroff confirmed as much in late February, but it took nearly two months before the team made the transaction official. After leading the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, Beasley saw his total drop to five in 14 games in 2017, prompting the Falcons to move him from outside linebacker to defensive end this offseason.
Beasley is a 2015 first-round pick whose salary is guaranteed for injury only. The plan is for him to move back to defensive end in 2018, where he racked up 15.5 sacks during the 2016 season.
According to head coach Dan Quinn, Beasley will move back to defensive end full-time next season, Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "I have re-assessed it," Quinn said. "He played six games at linebacker and two injured. I'm going to put him full-time, all-the-time back at pass rusher. I thought it was best for the team even though some of his production would go down. His best role is doing what he does. He won't go back to linebacker."
Beasley saw a serious dip in production in 2017, following up his league-leading 15.5-sack performance in 2016 with a disappointing five sacks this past year. A return to the defensive line for Beasley could spell the end for Adrian Clayborn's run with the team, as the starting defensive end enters the free agent market this offseason.
|Bye: Week 8|
|9||11/4/18||@ WAS||1:00 pm|
|10||11/11/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|12||11/22/18||@ NO||8:20 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ GB||1:00 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|