Latest On Falcons LB Troy Andersen

After seeing action in all 17 games (five starts) as a rookie in 2022, Falcons linebacker Troy Andersen opened the 2023 season as a full-time starter alongside Kaden Elliss in Atlanta’s defense. Unfortunately, the shoulder and pectoral injuries he sustained in Week 3 sidelined him for the remainder of the campaign, and his replacement — 2022 UDFA Nathan Landman — piled up 110 tackles, three forced fumbles, two sacks, and an interception in his stead.

As D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes, Andersen has no limitations as he participates in OTAs, with the player himself saying, “yeah, I feel good. Kind of back to normal. Hopefully, better than normal. Yeah, it’s pretty good.”

Landman has been working with Elliss and the first-team defense, while Andersen has been finding his footing with the second-team unit and fifth-round rookie JD Bertrand. But given Andersen’s draft pedigree — he was a second-round draft choice in 2022 — it is fair to assume that he will at least push for a starting role, and Ledbetter actually lists Andersen as a starter ahead of Landman on his depth chart.

The Falcons are transitioning to a 3-4 alignment under new head coach Raheem Morris, so there will be an opportunity for Elliss, Andersen, and Landman to get plenty of burn, and Morris indicated that all three players could be on the field at the same time on some occasions.

“Watching those three guys out there, man, it’s been fun to watch,” Morris said. “You’re talking about some big humans that can move really quickly and do some special things, particularly with the ball and getting in the way and getting in the way of passing lanes. They do so many good things, it’s almost like three different coaches sitting in a room at the same time. It is going to be exciting to get them on the field. Maybe all at the same time, because they have that type of ability that warrants more playtime.”

Elliss is the big-money member of the trio, having signed a three-year, $21.5MM contract with Atlanta last March. He held up his end of the bargain, recording 122 tackles and four sacks while grading out as Pro Football Focus’ 20th-best linebacker in the league out of 82 qualifiers in 2023.

Landman also fared well in the eyes of PFF’s metrics, finishing as the site’s 28th-best LB. PFF dinged him for his work in pass coverage — something many ‘backers struggle with — but he more than made up for it with his performance against the run.

As such, Morris and defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake have a good problem on their hands when it comes to finding reps for all of their linebackers, and the return of Andersen will further bolster a defense that finished 11th in total yardage last season. In his two games in 2023, the Montana State product notched 19 total tackles (including one TFL) and a half-sack.

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