Despite only attending one day of mini-camp, Atlanta Falcons defensive end Calais Campbell is optimistic about how the defense will perform in the upcoming season. When asked to express how he feels about the upcoming season he responded with a promising response.
“We’re built for dominance,” Campbell replied
Atlanta Falcons Defense Poised To Take Massive Leap
With five straight seasons of losing records, dominance is a surprising choice of words to describe the team. It is common knowledge that the Falcons can’t win games because they neglect their defense. Last year, the team ranked 27th in total yards allowed, 23rd in rushing yards, and 25th in passing yards allowed last season. The Falcons were also ranked no. 21 by Bleacher Report as the best defense for the upcoming season.
Improved Talent on Roster, Coaching Staff
Campbell’s optimism is a result of time spent rebuilding the defense in the offseason. Standout free agent Jessie Bates has signed a four-year contract worth $64.02 million. Bates spent the 2022 season with the Cincinnati Bengals, recording 71 tackles and a career-high four interceptions. That playmaking ability and nose for the football should translate well to the NFC South and their relatively uninspiring quarterbacks.
Zach Harrison, a third-round pick, has also received attention. As a defensive end for The Ohio State University, Harrison has accumulated 58 solo tackles and 39 assisted tackles.
The Falcons have also changed their coaching staff. The Falcons have hired Ryan Nielsen as a defensive coordinator and he should be a worthy successor to Dean Pees. He has previous coaching experience at North Carolina State University as a defensive line coach and spent two seasons at Northern Illinois.
Bijan Robinson Praises Atlanta Falcons Defense
Running back Bijan Robinson has even talked about the new defense. “The defense is looking good. That’s all I can say. I haven’t been here in the past, but I know that this year … they are coming in with a major chip on their shoulder and they understand who they are as players and the skin that they got in it.” As Robinson praises the defense, he also holds high expectations as the offense is expected to soar this year after the controversial exit of ex-quarterback Marcus Mariota.
With some impressive additions to the team, it is also worth noting that Isaiah Oliver, a key player, has signed with the 49ers. However, A.J. Terrell is stepping up to take his place. Terrell has played with the Falcons for two seasons and has accumulated 53 assists and 139 solo tackles. As his third-year approaches, he is expected to be a leader for the defense.
Can the Atlanta Falcons Defense Lead A Playoff Push?
While the Falcons haven’t sniffed a winning record in half a decade, they are in a position to earn a winning season and qualify for the playoffs. This could be due to their dominant defense and promising quarterback, Desmond Ridder. They have a good mix of returning experienced players and young fresh players, a relatively easy schedule compared to other teams in the conference, and a new defensive coordinator, so I believe they have a really good chance of winning the NFC.
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