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Falcons Training Camp 2016: Defensive Highlights from Day 9

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This defense is looking fired up.

NFL: Atlanta Falcons-Training Camp Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

As Jeanna noted in her coverage of the offense, the Falcons opted to practice on the surface of the sun on day 9. Here are some of the things I noted while keeping an eye on the defense.

Defense:

  • Robert Alford is quietly having a very good camp. He completely blanketed Julio on one play, and looks to be consistently where he’s supposed to be. It’s nice to see the veteran continuing to develop into a reliable and quality starter.
  • The linebackers were rotated a good bit, but it did look like De’Vondre Campbell was getting lots of first team reps along with Sean Weatherspoon. His speed is very noticeable when he’s on the field.
  • The defense as a whole looks much, much faster overall. This seems to be true at all three levels.
  • The defensive line is generating pressure, often getting into the backfield (today was a pads practice). Don’t read too much into this, but it is something to pay attention to going into the preseason.
  • Undrafted DB Brian Poole continues to look the part, demonstrating good quickness and aggressiveness. He’s definitely a name to keep an eye on during the preseason, as he could be pushing for the nickel corner position.
  • Keanu Neal showed flashes of his incredible closing speed, and looks comfortable on the field.

All in all, the defense had a really solid practice. They play with a tremendous amount of intensity, and they are absolutely flying to the ball. It’s still just camp, so we should try not to get too excited, but it is worth watching through the preseason.