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Raheem Morris praises A.J. Terrell’s virtual offseason work, promise for Falcons defense

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The Falcons need Terrell to start and play well immediately, and the team’s new defensive coordinator seems encouraged by his early progress.

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A.J. Terrell is a player the Falcons are pinning a lot of hope on. Their #1 cornerback for the past seven or so seasons, Desmond Trufant, was dumped in the offseason, and Isaiah Oliver and Kendall Sheffield have real promise but aren’t expected to be that true, lockdown option in the secondary. Clearly, the Falcons are hoping Terrell grows into that role after drafting him in the first round of the draft in April, which may as well have been ten years ago.

We have no idea how soon he’ll get there, if at all, but we love to hear anything positive about a player the Falcons have invested significant draft capital and hope in. That’s why I wanted to pass along this nice writeup from Vaughn McClure at ESPN, where Raheem Morris praises his work throughout what had to be a difficult virtual offseason.

“Going through a couple of weeks with us and listening to him talk to either [secondary coach] Joe Whitt or [defensive assistant] Chad Walker, he was able to teach back the defense, whichever one was asked of him,” Morris said. “I think A.J.’s attention to detail, his ability to listen and retain information and being able to spit it back out to coaches is what impresses us probably the most already. We all had tests. We all had different online things. We all had different ventures and different avenues of ways to test a guy, and his attention to detail was excellent.

“I think by us setting his goals and his roles going into the 2020 season of playing hard, of being able to be an outside vertical controller and being able to really lock in on his fundamentals and techniques when he’s coached, I think those things will give him the confidence to be a really good player in this league.”

Without actual on-field time to this point, the only thing rookies have been able to control is what they’re able to learn conceptually and in the playbook, and Terrell sounds like he’s acing that. There’s little doubt he’ll have some rookie year struggles if we get a full season in 2020—it’s going to be more pronounced than normal for most rookies, I’d wager—but that is a positive early sign for the team’s expected #1 cornerback.

Soon, we’ll hopefully be hearing these kinds of positive words from the practice field. Morris seems to expect it.

“He wants to get on the field, where we’re able to touch [receivers], get our hands on them,” Morris said of Terrell. “To be able to go through those situations, I think, will only help him get better.