Goober Pyle

Here’s the catch: Desmond Trufant has worked hard to ‘turn that weakness into a strength’

36 posts in this topic

https://theathletic.com/1225924/2019/09/19/heres-the-catch-desmond-trufant-has-worked-hard-to-turn-that-weakness-into-a-strength/

 

Desmond Trufant, dripping sweat, will stand roughly 10 yards from the JUGS machine, catching pass after pass after practice has ended. He’ll stand there for up to 15 minutes doing what might seem like a mundane chore when he could otherwise call it a day. A lot of times, he’ll do this when practice ends, fatigued from the two-plus hours of work he just put in. Or he could do this before practice, depending on that day’s schedule. And if he’s not on the JUGS machine, he might ask to run some routes for Atlanta’s younger quarterbacks during their Plan D period.

Regardless, it has become practically a ritual for Trufant to ensure he works on catching the football. Considering he’s Atlanta’s No. 1 cornerback, Trufant knows he needs to secure more interceptions than the nine he’s had after his first six NFL seasons.

Interceptions haven’t been a staple of Trufant’s career. The most he’s ever had in a season is three, which came in 2014. Considering how fast Trufant is, he is able to stay with or recover on just about any NFL receiver. But being able to pick off passes has been a needed area of improvement and one Trufant recognizes. He’s spent plenty of offseasons bettering himself.

This time around, he’s devoted even more time to become a more recognizable top-flight cornerback.

“I feel like if I can just turn that weakness into a strength, there is no stopping me at this point,” Trufant said.

Because Trufant plays cornerback, he’s aware of the attention the position brings. As he dropped potential interceptions during the 2018 season, he was often criticized, whether by media outlets or fans. Trufant said he did his part to keep things from becoming personal. Still, he saw what people were writing and heard what they were saying. And he wants to prove them wrong.

Trufant understands this, whether it’s fair or not. It’s the nature of the game. When you’re rewarded with a five-year, $68.75 million contract, the expectations are high. Trufant went into the most recent offseason with the realization that he’d have to do more than he has previously when it comes to interceptions.

“It’s the league. I’m in that position. I play corner. It just comes with it,” Trufant said. “But when you know the type of player you are, it is what it is, and I know what I can do on Sundays. It feels good to go out there and play like I know I can play.”

Trufant made his presence felt early against the Philadelphia Eagles in last Sunday’s 24-20 victory. For the first time in his career, Trufant intercepted two passes in a single game.

The first pick came with less than two minutes left in the first quarter. Off the snap, rookie receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside ran a go-route, with Trufant matching him step for step down the field. Quarterback Carson Wentz was forced to roll out to his right before he launched the ball. The pressure helped force an underthrow, with Trufant using his body to shield Arcega-Whiteside from getting back to the ball. Trufant jumped, grabbed the ball and secured his first interception of the season.

The second occurred with less than eight minutes to go in the second quarter. This time, Trufant was matched up against Mack Hollins and stayed on top of his route while recognizing the moment Wentz was set to throw the ball. On film review, it appeared Trufant was the only one in the general vicinity to realize Wentz’s ball was about to fall well short. Trufant quit the route, changed direction and dropped low to the ground to secure the interception. He then popped up and ran it back for 10 yards.

This pick, in particular, was big because Atlanta scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

“He gets a lot of chances to jump in front of some balls,” safety Ricardo Allen said. “We’ve been telling him, ‘If you just catch them, you’ll be one of the top corners in the league every year.’ Everybody knows he can cover. Everybody knows he’s one of the most competitive corners in the league. It’s just the reason a lot of people don’t give him the respect on a yearly basis is because he don’t got as many picks as most corners. If he starts catching them like last game, there ain’t nothing they can do to deny exactly who he is as a player.”

On days where Trufant isn’t on the JUGS machine after practice, he will run over to the offense’s Plan D group to catch some passes from second-year quarterback Danny Etling. The Plan D group is designed for the developmental players to get additional reps once practice is over.

Obviously, Trufant is not working on being a receiver. To get the feel of catching a ball from a quarterback, he will run some routes as a receiver with Etling, which proves to be mutually beneficial, because Etling also gets additional work.

“That’s a testament to how hard he works,” Etling said. “Even after a long, hard day out in the heat, he’s trying to get more catches to better himself and make the plays when they come his way.”

Receiver Julio Jones has matched up against Trufant plenty of times at practice over the years. What stands out to Jones are the blended qualities Trufant possesses at the position. He has good size at 6-foot and 190 pounds. He has great speed and agility, too.

Not many corners in the league have both attributes, Jones said.

“With corners, they’re either long and can’t stop, or they’re too small but have short-space quickness. And they can’t really defend the deep ball or jump ball,” Jones said. “But Tru, he’s got great size, great weight, speed, things like that. He matches up well. It’s fun to get each other better every day at practice. For sure, he’s one of the best to do it.”

If Trufant can start accumulating interceptions, he could be in for one of the best seasons of his career.

The speed and change of direction have always been there. He spent a good portion of the offseason working on being more physical at the line of scrimmage, which has shown through the first two games. The lone area that hasn’t always surfaced has been the picks.

If the game against Philadelphia was an indicator, this year could be different. Trufant worked awfully hard at improving his ball skills at the position. With those two interceptions, his confidence is only growing.

“I’m just locked in. I’m ready to take my respect, it’s that simple,” Trufant said. “People say what they say. It doesn’t control me, but I feel it, you feel me? It is what it is. I’m ready to show them what’s good.”

 

Emmitt, citsalp, JDaveG and 13 others like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The pressure up front will give him more opportunities.  We haven't had that consistantly for a while.

A lot of people wrote him off not realizing our pressure up front was extremely lacking.

dawgsfan426 and Emmitt like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

“I’m just locked in. I’m ready to take my respect, it’s that simple,” Trufant said. “People say what they say. It doesn’t control me, but I feel it, you feel me? It is what it is. I’m ready to show them what’s good.”

Love seeing Tru succeeding!  You talk to some around here he shoulda been cast away 2 years ago.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its just amazing to me that he wasn't doing this until now, developing your hands is a crucial part of being a top-tier corner.

Glad it is finally happening though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, FalconAge said:

Its just amazing to me that he wasn't doing this until now, developing your hands is a crucial part of being a top-tier corner.

Glad it is finally happening though.

He was always doing this. It has been documented in previous years before.

The thing is that it's a weakness. When you work on your weaknesses, then you improve only incrementally instead of exponentially.

It's just extremely possible that it's taking him longer than he or others expected to improve that weakness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, athell said:

“I’m just locked in. I’m ready to take my respect, it’s that simple,” Trufant said. “People say what they say. It doesn’t control me, but I feel it, you feel me? It is what it is. I’m ready to show them what’s good.”

Love seeing Tru succeeding!  You talk to some around here he shoulda been cast away 2 years ago.  

I’ve always been a defender of Trufant. People who complain about stats on corners really just don’t get it. Trufant blankets his opponents. Did he struggle for a bit after his injury? Yes. But getting nicknames like “Toastfant” from posters here was ridiculous. He was never actually that bad. Alford on the other hand...

Ovie_Lover, falconsrus and athell like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, JD dirtybird21 said:

I’ve always been a defender of Trufant. People who complain about stats on corners really just don’t get it. Trufant blankets his opponents. Did he struggle for a bit after his injury? Yes. But getting nicknames like “Toastfant” from posters here was ridiculous. He was never actually that bad. Alford on the other hand...

Yes, he was bad.

Peyton and Jerz #Quinning like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's cool that he caught those balls and even better that he appears to be playing hard.  He didn't always do that last year.  It's going to be a hard call for TD and Quinn at the end of the year. They have to find some money somewhere.

Flying Falcon likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Peyton said:

It's cool that he caught those balls and even better that he appears to be playing hard.  He didn't always do that last year.  It's going to be a hard call for TD and Quinn at the end of the year. They have to find some money somewhere.

Cap is going up every year. They can convert some to signing bonus too. And then there's the new CBA...lots of ways around the cap.

PS: they can cut Sambrailo, Stocker, and Schaub for a total of 8 mil in relief. That's not even considering some of the bigger cap hits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Peyton said:

It's cool that he caught those balls and even better that he appears to be playing hard.  He didn't always do that last year.  It's going to be a hard call for TD and Quinn at the end of the year. They have to find some money somewhere.

It's not going to be a hard call. #1 corners don't grow on trees.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just imagine if he caught HALF of the INTs he should have, he’d be on everyone’s list as top tier CB in the league. Glad he recognized his issue and put in work to fix it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, NeonDeion said:

Fire up the bbq. Lotta crow gonna be eaten this year 

Desmond Trufant had games last year where he simply didn't play hard.  He can be an All Pro this year and it won't change that.  I doubt it though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, athell said:

You will never be happy, let's be honest.

We both know he has a good game with an int then goes back to dropping ints left and right. I want to see how he does against good qbs and good wrs. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 minutes ago, caponine said:

We both know he has a good game with an int then goes back to dropping ints left and right. I want to see how he does against good qbs and good wrs. 

I will refer you to my previous reply.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, falconidae said:

Been wondering if he'd working the juggs machine over the off season.

He doesnt need a jug machine...he just needs to massage some jugs....if you know what I mean....

A woman will tell you...you too rough...too hard...once you get that down...when she aint saying nothing...you good...

 

Soft hands equals more interceptions

:ninja:

Flying Falcon likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now