Atlanta Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan experimented with lining up rookie inside linebacker Prince Shembo on the edge as an added pass-rusher during Sunday's loss against the New York Giants. And Nolan indicated Shembo in that role could be utilized more often.
"I would like to do more of it," Nolan said. "He pitched in on the outside. He did it in college. He's stout enough to play that. So that's something that we'll continue to probably use as we go forward."
Although Shembo was drafted as an outside linebacker, he was moved to inside linebacker in May and recently took over the starting job from Joplo Bartu. In college at Notre Dame, Shembo had 14 career sacks, including 5.5 sacks during his final season.
Shembo played four snaps on the edge against the Giants and dropped into coverage on one of those plays.
"Man, I'll do whatever they ask me to do," Shembo said Monday. "I just lined up. It's just about being a football player. We had some plays using it in practice.
"Osi [Umenyiora] always told me as a rusher, you always have to perfect your craft. Obviously if I go back to it, I'm going to be rusty. It's just like writing: The more you write, your penmanship is going to get better. It's the same as an edge rusher. You've got to do it every day."
The Falcons certainly need someone to spark the pass rush that has just four sacks through five games, which is tied for 29th in the league. The only game the Falcons really got after the passer was the 56-14 blowout against Tampa Bay, when they recorded three sacks and seven quarterback hits.
Maybe the Falcons will find a way to get pressure against "gunslinger" Jay Cutler and Chicago on Sunday. The Bears could have an unproven left tackle starting in Michael Ola, who moved over from left guard following a knee injury to veteran and former New Orleans Saints standout Jermon Bushrod.
Nolan was asked if such a lineup change for the Bears could work to the Falcons' advantage in terms of creating more pressure.
"We study all their players, and I would like to say that we can take advantage of what's perceived as a weak link or a new player," Nolan said. "Until we prove that we're not weak links ... we're just trying to win some matchups more than anything else.
"Sometimes when you're on a roll, [taking advantage of a weak link] is a big part of the game plan. For us right now, we [have] a little bit bigger concern than somebody else's weakness. ....I try not to spend as much time as I normally would do because we have our own issues to try and correct at this time."