The Atlanta Falcons are a new team. New head coach, new assistants, and a handful of new players. The future is now, Falcons fans. But have we arrived? The answer: not quite, especially on defense. While we're all looking ahead to the draft, the defensive players are trying to get their minds right. They're doing their homework.
NFL players always have homework. From studying game film to committing a game plan to memory, the game is equal parts mental and physical. And as the off-season progresses, the Atlanta Falcons are asking their defensive players to be both mindful of the past and cognizant of where they're going.
The talented Jeanna Thomas did a must-read piece about this last week. Read it now, if you haven't already. Reid Ferrin also wrote about these point-of-attack tapes over the weekend. In short, they're doing two things for the players. First, they're highlighting past strengths and weaknesses. Second, they're showing them examples of the new scheme, in the simplest possible format.
"They made point-of-attack tapes for us," Falcons cornerback
Desmond Trufantsaid. "They showed us what we did last year without (us) even knowing it. That's what they're teaching this year, including the things they would like to correct."
This all reeks of the overused expression, "you don't need to reinvent the wheel." That said, it rings true for the Falcons defense. While they aren't flush with talent, there are some building blocks already in place. Given another off-season, they may even have a complete defense.
Guys like Desmond Trufant, William Moore, and Jonathan Babineaux can anchor this defense until they get done forging this new path. It's a going to take hard work and a willingness to change, but these guys also have to be themselves. That's why the defensive coaches are emphasizing past strengths in these personalized tapes they're making for everyone. As Bob Marley once said, "in this great future, you can't forget your past."