The Atlanta Falcons announced on Thursday afternoon that they had released starting defensive lineman Anthony Rush.
Rush had started all four the Falcons previous games this season including Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns. He had just seven tackles on 87 defensive snaps this season.
The Falcons had played more four-man fronts this year, relegating Rush, who plays nose guard, to the bench. Grady Jarrett slides inside to his more natural defensive tackle position when the Falcons are in their four-man front.
That Rush proved ineffective may be one reason why defensive coordinator Dean Pees had elected to use more four-man formations than he did last season.
Rush had an overall player grade from Pro Football Focus (PFF) of a paltry 47.1 after four games. That put him 101st our of 118 eligible interior defenders according to PFF.
Rush was signed by the Falcons in November of last season after the Tennessee Titans had waived him. He helped immediately with his size in the middle of a light defensive front, but the Falcons talent and depth has improved in 2022, making Rush expendable for the time being.
Not coincidentally, the Falcons signed former Minnesota Vikings starting defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson to the practice squad on Wednesday. Johnson started all 16 games for the Vikings in 2020.