It’s hard to feel very positive about the Atlanta Falcons at the moment unless you’ve mastered that art over many long years of practice. There’s a relatively light schedule coming up, Calvin Ridley looks like a superstar, and those uniforms do look snazzy. What else is there?
I’d humbly submit that watching some of the team’s young defenders are deserving of a mention here, even if the overall defensive effort has been less than ideal.
In Week 2, Foye Oluokun, John Cominsky, A.J. Terrell, and Deadrin Senat were among the young defenders who thrived. Oluokun forced three fumbles in the first quarter, and as good as I think Mykal Walker will be, losing the third-year veteran crushed Atlanta in this one. Cominsky continues to be an active, disruptive presence along the defensive line, and Senat has turned offseason talk of him being cut into back-to-back excellent efforts, albeit in limited snaps.
Terrell is maybe the best early story of them all. He wasn’t stellar against the Seahawks in Week 1, allowing every pass thrown his way to be completed, but he showed good physicality and instincts even if he didn’t make many plays. In Week 2 against Dallas, Terrell looked very sharp, and Dak Prescott barely challenged him and didn’t get much when he did.
Highest graded #Falcons defender yesterday (minimum 20 snaps):— PFF ATL Falcons (@PFF_Falcons) September 21, 2020
Rookie CB A.J. Terrell
-79.8 overall grade
-Targeted 3 times
-Allowed 2 receptions for 7 yards pic.twitter.com/473xdc4Gfb
I’m writing this not to try to convince you that this defense is going to miraculously be good soon—we don’t have a lot of evidence in the early going for that one—but because it’s nice to remember that whatever comes next for the Falcons, they have some pieces to build on. Terrell could legitimately be a stud sooner than later if he keeps building on his game, Oluokun looks like a quality starter at the absolute worst and his second game hinted at stardom, and Cominsky, Walker, and Senat look like strong reserves at worst. The Falcons will need all of them—and players we haven’t seen as much of yet, like Marlon Davidson and Jaylinn Hawkins—to play and play well if they’re going to have a brighter future.