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Vic Beasley expecting extra attention from opponents

Vic Beasley led the NFL with 15.5 sacks in 2016. The Atlanta Falcons' speedy pass rusher knows with the distinction will come extra attention on the field.

"I'm going to accept the attention," Beasley told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during minicamp. "I know some of the elite pass rushers in the league like Khalil (Mack) and Von (Miller), they get a lot of attention just like that."

The Falcons moved Beasley from defensive end to outside linebacker to put him in better situations to get after the quarterback. With a quick first step and improving technique, Beasley made the leap last year -- a leap he saw coming.

"Yeah, I was definitely expecting it as I progressed as a player and becoming a better player over the course of my career," Beasley said. "I knew that I was going to start getting more attention like the elite pass-rushers in this league. It comes with the success."

Beasley understands he still has room for improvement entering Year Three. Of his 15.5 sacks, 6.5 came in two games against terrible offensive lines (3.5 vs. the Broncos, and 3.0 vs. the Rams) and he had seven games without a QB takedown. He also had more than four tackles in a game just once last season.

Against better offensive lines in the playoffs Beasley was shut out of the sack department. The 24-year-old knows the sort of attention with extra blockers and chippers he saw in the playoffs will continue in 2017.

"It's just the attention that I'm about to get," Beasley said. "You get chippers and a lot of attention, whether it is two or three men blocking you. (I) worked on things and practiced those type of things out there on the practice field. Then I'll try to see if I can apply it to the game."

The Falcons upgraded the pass rush this offseason, adding first-round pick Takkarist McKinley and free agents Dontari Poe and Jack Crawford. Atlanta also hasn't shut down the idea of bringing back veteran Dwight Freeney for a part-time role.

With the attention Beasley will receive from offenses this season, others along the front should be in for an enhanced year in a quickly improving Falcons defense.

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