Means played in eight games for the Falcons last season (starting four) and collected 14 tackles with one sack along the way. His path to playing time is a bit clearer at the moment with Brooks Reed out of the picture, but that could change depending on what Atlanta does in the draft and free agency.
Means tallied three combined tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack during Sunday's 40-14 win against the Cardinals.
Means has seen an uptick in playing time of late, fielding 25 defensive snaps per game between Weeks 14 and 15, compared to 18.5 snaps per game through his first four appearances of 2018. As Atlanta continues to play out the string, the veteran defensive end figures to remain firmly fixed in the line rotation, both for his effective streak of play lately (four TFL in the past two games) as well as for evaluative purposes, as he heads into what will be a long offseason for coaches and player personnel alike. In Week 16, Means will look to get after Cam Newton and a Panthers offensive line that's allowed only 29 sacks all year, tied for seventh-fewest in the NFL.
Head coach Dan Quinn said he would be comfortable inserting Means into the lineup against New Orleans on Sunday if the situation calls for it, as the Falcons have both Takkarist McKinley (groin) and Derrick Shelby (groin) besieged by injuries. The one-time Super Bowl champion (with Philadelphia in 2017-2018) has played sparingly since entering the league as a fifth-round draft choice five years ago -- tallying 13 tackles over 26 career games with the Buccaneers, Ravens and Eagles.
Means narrowly missed out on a roster spot with the Eagles after a strong preseason and 2.0 in the preseason finale. Now with Atlanta, Means, who's only appeared in 15 games over the past five seasons, will likely serve as a depth defensive lineman.
Means logged six tackles (five solo), three sacks, and a forced fumble in Thursday's preseason win over the Jets.
Means is on the bubble to make the Eagles' 53-man roster but certainly helped his case with the monster performance. He is currently battling with rookie Josh Sweat to be either fifth or sixth on the depth chart at defensive end, and neither player is assured a spot on the team. Whoever makes the team will be at the back end of a rotation already including Michael Bennett, Chris Long, Brandon Graham (ankle), and Derek Barnett and therefore will likely have minimal fantasy impact.
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||5||3.0||2||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||1||0.0||1||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||No.||Yds||Lg||Avg||Blk||I20||TB||Downed||No||Ret Yds||TD||Net Avg|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||---|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||0||0||0||---||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||---|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2013||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||10||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2014||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|