Any silver lining is hard to discern at this point in the Falcons 2-6 season. It's a depressing time, and it's hard to keep the faith. Recognizing a silver lining is crucial, lest you get apathetic and stop paying attention to the team. But alas, there is one: our young defensive core. Notwithstanding the defense's present imperfections, the future is bright for the many Falcons defenders.
The rookie cornerback tandem each notched an interception in Sunday’s game, Trufant’s the first of his career and Alford’s a pretty effort to keep two feet in the end zone to stop a Carolina scoring threat.
Massaquoi was all over the field Sunday, earning half a sack in the score book along with three tackles, a QB hit and a pass defensed.
Worrilow topped all the young Falcons with 19 tackles, a similar showing to his breakout in the Falcons’ preseason opener when he had 11 takedowns.
While the fans of many teams have the luxury of discussing their respective playoff pictures, we're really just looking to the future now. And I won't lie, I like how the future looks. While pressuring opposing quarterback is something the Falcons will need to improve upon, they have some key pieces already in place. A successful, line-focused draft and free agency could easily rectify many of the struggles the Falcons have endured in this injury-riddled, forgettable season.
I'll say it, Paul Worrilow is great. Just great. Like that extra (and free) candy bar you nabbed at the vending machine while your co-workers weren't looking, he's a bonus. An undrafted free agent, nobody expected him to achieve at this level this quickly. Akeem Dent's struggles to stay healthy are largely responsible for the extended look at Worrilow the Falcons are getting. While tackle totals aren't the best measure of a player's effectiveness, his rookie campaign is exceeding expectations.
Next, there's Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. With these two, the sky's the limit. As you'd expect, they've had some growing pains, but on the whole, I'm thoroughly impressed with the duo, and so is the rest of the league.
In short, the future is bright if the Falcons play their cards right this off-season. Getting these players as many reps as possible is the goal for now. And in time, this could very well become a dominant defense. It's tempting to let these guys do their thing and then come back once we're again atop the standings. I, for one, will use the rest of this season constructively. I'm sure the team will do the same.
Let's take time to recognize players like Worrilow, Trufant, Alford, and Massaquoi in these final 7 games. I want to see them develop and learn. If they do that, and if the Falcons front office makes the necessary moves to fill out the defense, the future truly will be bright.