2015: The Year of Desmond Trufant?


FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga.– When you’ve had the first two seasons in the NFL that Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant has, you’d think that there’s not much more to add the rest of the way from the individual prospective. If you talk with Trufant, he wants more.

In his first two seasons with the team, Trufant has led the Falcons secondary in pretty much all categories. He has posted 131 combined tackles, defended 33 passes, and intercepted five balls.

In fact, Trufant defended 17 passes in his rookie season to set a Falcons record that was previously held by Darnell Walker in the 1993 season. Walker only had 13 in that season.

The third year man out of University of Washington is even getting publicity from the national media. NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison listed him and punter Matt Bosher on his ‘Most Underrated’ Team recently.

Trufant is cool with people thinking that about him. But, he’s not satisfied with just being good in the NFL.

“I know I haven’t reached where I want to go,” Trufant said. “But at the same time, I know I’m a good player. So I’m just working every day and I’m trying to be the best. If they’re not saying I’m the best, I don’t really listen to it.”

Right now when it comes to who the best cornerbacks are in the league, Trufant’s name isn’t one of the first names you hear. Likely that goes to the Seattle Seahawks Richard Sherman, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, or the New York Jets Darrelle Revis.

That said, the first name in that group thinks very highly of Trufant. Sherman even went as far to answer a fan on Twitter, calling the Falcons cornerback a “beast.”

When it comes to Trufant’s ability on the field, no one seems to deny that he has already accomplished a good amount in the early parts of his career. When it comes to other things like film study and knowing the playbook? Assistant head coach and passing game coordinator Raheem Morris says that he reminds him so a lot someone he coached in Tampa. Hint? He was pretty good.

“What he brings to the game as far as above the neck is rare,” Morris said. “He’s almost Ronde Barber-ish, when it comes to above the neck football. He loves it. He knows what everyone around him is supposed to do. He just loves being in the meetings (and) he can answer any question you ask him. If you ask him a D-Line question, he can answer it. He’s just a joy to be around, when you talk about a meeting setting.”

Trufant and the rest of the Falcons are playing under mostly an entirely new coaching staff, with exception to a couple of position groups. His new position coach is former NFL defensive back Marquand Manuel.

Manuel played in 116 games over an eight year career, that included a stop with the Seattle Seahawks from 2004-05. During that time, he played alongside Desmond’s older brother Marcus.

The Falcons new defensive back’s coach spent the last three years as an assistant coach in Seattle and says that his previous relationship with the Trufant family made this transition very easy.

“Our relationship goes way back,” Manuel said. “You know where you can take a guy (when you know him) and you know the buttons to push. The credit goes to the family, mom and dad are great people. So, I knew exactly what I had when I signed on. I was excited.”

Coming into this season, there is another area of the game that Trufant would like to see advanced. He doesn’t look to be a follower.

“I’m just working on my leadership,” Trufant said. “(Like) bringing our room together, everyone playing together as one, staying consistent, and taking advantage of my opportunity. When the ball presents itself and if they want to test me or challenge, I want to be there to make a play.”

His position coach thinks there’s no reason to believe that 2015 couldn’t be the year we see Trufant become a leader.

“I know Willy Mo (safety William Moore) is the more older and experienced guy,” Manuel said. “But, now he’s (Trufant) proven. Most guys get into their third year with the first year trying to feel it out, second year you’re unsure what you learned in the first, and the third year you kind of start to step in to become who you’re going to be in this league. I think he’s at that point right now. That’s just natural being a veteran at this point in his career.”

The Falcons are in need of a more consistent pass rush and just overall more pressure from the front seven this season, if they want to get back to winning the NFC South. One thing that can do is make defensive backs more dangerous.

We saw this come to fruition during Quinn’s time in Seattle. Now, Falcons fans want to see Desmond Trufant and the rest of the secondary bring that success here.

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