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Falcons see potential in rookie A.J. Terrell


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https://www.ajc.com/sports/atlanta-falcons/falcons-see-potential-in-rookie-aj-terrell/QK3OKTIZOBBOPFTJM27ENV4WDI/

 

by Sarah K. Spencer for the AJC

 

All in all, in the Falcons' Week 1 loss to the Seahawks, the secondary failed to slow down quarterback Russell Wilson, who completed 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards (averaging 9.2 yards per pass) and four touchdowns. On an individual level, however, Falcons defensive coordinator Raheem Morris liked what he saw out of rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell in his NFL debut, even if Terrell made a few mistakes.

 

“I thought the guy played pretty well,” Morris said. “You’re talking about a rookie who’s out there playing hard, playing fast, playing physical. He went throughout the day and played some sticky coverage on some really good wideouts. He stood up in some really big moments. He gave up a big play on a four-minute drive where he was taking a shot at jumping a ball. I can’t blame him. In that moment, if he makes that play it’s a big-time play for us.”

 

Through a combination of film study and muscle memory, Terrell prides himself on not making the same mistake twice, and that’s something that’s a priority for the Falcons as they move on from the loss and prepare to play in Dallas Sunday, he said.

“That’s also what they’ve been preaching to us as a defense and as a unit, as a whole team, just not making the same mistake twice and just getting the things corrected and just going out there next time, being alert for it and making a play when it comes,” Terrell said.

errell, who attended Westlake High School in Atlanta and played three seasons at Clemson before the Falcons drafted him in the first round, registered six tackles in Sunday’s 38-25 loss. He played every snap on defense.

He thought he played decently in Week 1, but the 21-year-old will look to improve and tighten things up moving forward. The biggest difference he noticed in transitioning from college to the NFL, he said, was the increased speed and pace to the game. Terrell was targeted on defense five times, according to Pro Football Reference, and allowed all five passes to be completed.

“Just watching film, no specific play in particular, but just watching film overall, I feel like I had a decent game for the first time stepping out there," Terrell said. "Of course there’s always things to get better on, anything in technique, tackling, just little keys and details of the defense, just watching more film, little things like that.”

 
Battling receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley in practice helped Terrell prepare for his NFL debut, as did all the big-game experience he garnered at Clemson.

So, when Week 1 came along, Terrell was ready to go, despite all the anticipation.

“Just playing the game for so long, of course you have nerves and just eagerness and anxiety going into a game, but at the end of the day you’ve just got to be confident in yourself, trust the system, and just make plays and just ball out,” Terrell said. “Just don’t think too much of it and just all I do is just go out there and have fun.”

From what coach Dan Quinn has seen so far, Terrell has the potential to give the secondary a boost, provided he keeps developing.

“This is a very good competitor," Quinn said. "The corner, the support in tackling in the run game, the ability to stay down and challenge guys, there will be some growing as he’s going to go but he’s the type of person who doesn’t repeat a lot of mistakes. That’s the sign of a guy who is turning the corner, when the same mistake doesn’t show up twice. There will be some on the job training, it will happen with him, with Matt Hennessy, with Mykal (Walker), all the guys going through that. But the advantage of that as you’re going through it, you’re gaining that experience and they improve at such a fast pace. I’m very excited about A.J. and what he can bring to the team.”

 

 

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16 minutes ago, g-dawg said:

it annoys me how when a corner gets beat how exaggerated it is.   No position other than cornerback has such wildly overly dramatic reactions from fans.

it's really gonna be OK.

Even the mighty Julio loses some battles. Every player has bad plays every game, but like you said Corners get crucified because their mistakes end up being so visible. 

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9 hours ago, g-dawg said:

it annoys me how when a corner gets beat how exaggerated it is.   No position other than cornerback has such wildly overly dramatic reactions from fans.

it's really gonna be OK.

He never was really beat neither. That's the part fans can't grasp. He gave up some cheap passes because he was 10 yards off. The deep over to Lockett is a very hard cover for any corner with a guy running full speed away from his leverage and he was still in solid position. The sluggo was when the game was over and he was looking to make a play. I'll always take that one. 

The problem is when CBs make plays that aren't INTs, nobody cares. But when they "lose" a rep, it's usually a sizable play (See: Oliver, Metcalf). 

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2 hours ago, vel said:

He never was really beat neither. That's the part fans can't grasp. He gave up some cheap passes because he was 10 yards off. The deep over to Lockett is a very hard cover for any corner with a guy running full speed away from his leverage and he was still in solid position. The sluggo was when the game was over and he was looking to make a play. I'll always take that one. 

The problem is when CBs make plays that aren't INTs, nobody cares. But when they "lose" a rep, it's usually a sizable play (See: Oliver, Metcalf). 

Yeah but buddy ran past Wilson and he didn't even attempt to option. That was horrific. Looked like Decoud out there avoiding contact.

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1 minute ago, stizz said:

Yeah but buddy ran past Wilson and he didn't even attempt to option. That was horrific. Looked like Decoud out there avoiding contact.

His man was the WR who he ran to. That's his assignment. He was correct. If the safety read the play correctly, he is the force man on the QB/pitch man. If he was there and forced a pitch, Terrell is in perfect position for the tackle. Not his fault. 

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2 minutes ago, vel said:

His man was the WR who he ran to. That's his assignment. He was correct. If the safety read the play correctly, he is the force man on the QB/pitch man. If he was there and forced a pitch, Terrell is in perfect position for the tackle. Not his fault. 

Lol so running past the QB who doesn't even fake a pitch when he sees Terrell is acceptable for why he completely ran past him coming from the other side of the field. 

The mental gymnastics fans do on this board in accepting mediocrity is insane. 

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2 minutes ago, stizz said:

Lol so running past the QB who doesn't even fake a pitch when he sees Terrell is acceptable for why he completely ran past him coming from the other side of the field. 

The mental gymnastics fans do on this board in accepting mediocrity is insane. 

You have a rookie CB in man coverage running across the formation. They've run jet sweeps as an offense pretty often. He's literally the only one running that direction with his man. Yes, he's late to recognize it's a triple option (because teams regularly run that right?), but he's literally the only one doing his job. Did he have tunnel vision on the WR? Yes. But it was literally his man. 

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4 minutes ago, vel said:

You have a rookie CB in man coverage running across the formation. They've run jet sweeps as an offense pretty often. He's literally the only one running that direction with his man. Yes, he's late to recognize it's a triple option (because teams regularly run that right?), but he's literally the only one doing his job. Did he have tunnel vision on the WR? Yes. But it was literally his man. 

When a ball carrier runs across your face you've got to diagnose that, especially when Wilson saw him and still didn't attempt the fake.

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2 hours ago, vel said:

He never was really beat neither. That's the part fans can't grasp. He gave up some cheap passes because he was 10 yards off. The deep over to Lockett is a very hard cover for any corner with a guy running full speed away from his leverage and he was still in solid position. The sluggo was when the game was over and he was looking to make a play. I'll always take that one. 

The problem is when CBs make plays that aren't INTs, nobody cares. But when they "lose" a rep, it's usually a sizable play (See: Oliver, Metcalf). 

Well the game was not quite over....it was still just a 2 score game and there were around 6 minutes left...if the defense forces a stop then the Falcons still had some life.

But he bit hard on the sluggo....which some how on peoples mind is both being too soft and playing too aggressive.

For his first game he was not bad.

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Just now, stizz said:

When a ball carrier runs across your face you've got to diagnose that, especially when Wilson saw him and still didn't attempt the fake.

There are rules. When you start bailing on the rules and freelancing, it leads to big plays.

AJ's man is the WR. If Foye doesn't crash like a mad man, he's there to read the play correctly. You're literally taught "QB in the shotgun, slow play the handoff in case he pulls out and runs". Foye crashes, leaving nobody out there. It's basic RPO key reading on the edge. 

That's my point. AJ did the correct thing. Yes, it looks "bad" because he just "runs by him". But if the other guys do their job correctly, AJ is there to make the tackle on Lockett. You're basically saying AJ should have seen his teammate blew his assignment and adjusted full speed. That's unrealistic. 

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Just now, falconsd56 said:

Well the game was not quite over....it was still just a 2 score game and there were around 6 minutes left...if the defense forces a stop then the Falcons still had some life.

But he bit hard on the sluggo....which some how on peoples mind is both being too soft and playing too aggressive.

For his first game he was not bad.

If he makes a pick and potential pick six, it's a MASSIVE play. If he gets beat on the double move, it doesn't really change anything. They were in a desperate position needing a play to be made. I can live with a rookie having the balls to shoot his gun. That's something you can work with. 

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Just now, vel said:

If he makes a pick and potential pick six, it's a MASSIVE play. If he gets beat on the double move, it doesn't really change anything. They were in a desperate position needing a play to be made. I can live with a rookie having the balls to shoot his gun. That's something you can work with. 

Agreed 100%

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7 minutes ago, vel said:

There are rules. When you start bailing on the rules and freelancing, it leads to big plays.

AJ's man is the WR. If Foye doesn't crash like a mad man, he's there to read the play correctly. You're literally taught "QB in the shotgun, slow play the handoff in case he pulls out and runs". Foye crashes, leaving nobody out there. It's basic RPO key reading on the edge. 

That's my point. AJ did the correct thing. Yes, it looks "bad" because he just "runs by him". But if the other guys do their job correctly, AJ is there to make the tackle on Lockett. You're basically saying AJ should have seen his teammate blew his assignment and adjusted full speed. That's unrealistic. 

Nah I just think you refuse to fault the guy for anything. As I said before, my issue in drafting him wasn't his coverage, but his tackling. That game wasn't just about all targets being completed against him, but he shied away from contact on more than one occasion. 

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