While he didn’t get the notoriety of teammates Vic Beasley Jr. or Dwight Freeney, Clayborn was a key member of the improving Falcons pass rush. Clayborn was hand selected to play in Falcons head coach Dan Quinn’s 4-3 under base scheme back in 2015 free agency. He was key in the Atlanta pass rush helping set up looping stunts for Beasley to get quarterback sacks.
Quinn has coached up his defensive line, as this is his specialty as a coach. However, missing Clayborn the rest of the way doesn’t help the Falcons in their quest to Super Bowl 51. His injury in Saturday’s night home game against Seattle went a bit unnoticed given how well Atlanta was playing. However, his impact will be felt in his absence the rest of the way.
In the 2016 NFC Championship Game, Atlanta is guaranteed to face a starting quarterback that can make plays with his legs. Atlanta will face the winner of Sunday’s NFC Divisional game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. If Atlanta struggles to wrangle either Dak Prescott or Aaron Rodgers next Sunday, Clayborn’s absence could be a big reason for that.