They're going to attack him. They're going to make him prove himself. They're going to tell Jamaal Charles to run right at him. And guess what? There's nothing Dent can do about it.
Dent has to play to his potential, put aside the butterflies, and perform like a professional. I'm confident he can do those things. Smitty shares my conviction.
"Yeah: Do what you’ve been doing your whole career and relax," Smith said. "He’s been a guy that’s played already. He’s played special teams, so it’s not like it’s going to be his first time out there on an NFL field and he’ll have to go out there and relax and let the game come to him. He’s been playing it a long time. I’ll tell him, ‘It’s still 120 yards long, 53-and-a-third yards wide and every 10 yards there’s going to be a first down made when they earn it and go out and play.’"
We don't have a defense full of seasoned veterans, but as recent Falcons defenses go, this one ain't bad.
Our secondary is above-average. Spoon and Nicholas are more than capable. And the defensive line - notwithstanding the absence of Peters - is at-worst passable and at-best pretty good. There's experience on that side of the ball. Dent has special teams experience. But he lacks game experience. That said, you have to start somewhere. There's always a beginning and an end. This is Dent's beginning.
Look, the kid isn't in this position by chance. He earned this. He killed it in special teams duty last year, showing off his nose for the ball. He had 19 special teams tackles, the most on the team. Playing first team defense is another challenge entirely. Still, it's well within his element. He won't need to cover Dwayne Bowe on fly routes this week, and if he does, something has gone terribly wrong.
Have faith Falcoholics. He can do this. At least that's what I'm telling myself.