The Falcons defense may have the task Sunday of trying to contain the Giants offense while one of their top cornerbacks is injured.
Like the Falcons, the Giants are 0-2 and will be seeking their first win of the season in the game that begins at 1 p.m. at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell left Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay with a concussion, and he remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Terrell being in protocol forces defensive back Isaiah Oliver to move to the outside cornerback position instead of playing nickel back. When Oliver was asked about the possibility of starting at outside cornerback, he showed that he is confident and ready to play that position if needed.
“You never know what is going to happen throughout the course of the game. Anyone can get hurt on any given play,” Oliver said. “You have to able to know what your spot is and what your responsibilities are. Whether you are outside, inside or both (or) at safety or whatever. Then just understanding the whole defense and that allows us to play everyone’s position, really.”
The ability to play almost any position under Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees, gives Oliver a lot of freedom in this defense. So far, Oliver is loving his role.
“(Pees) kind of coaches to the strength of his players,” Oliver said. “There is no real strict rules in the sense that you have to do it this way and only this way. If you’re better at doing something a little bit different way, he’s going to let you do that. I think that helps us all really to be able to play to the best of our ability.”
One of the positions Oliver loves playing the most is nickel back. He states that his hard work has helped him be successful at this position.
“It’s just a credit to the work,” Oliver said. “Just keep trust in the process and keep on working. It will pay off in the end. Sometimes, opportunities don’t come around. Whatever the case maybe, at the end of the day if you just keep on working hard, it will show in the field for sure.”
Pees thinks Oliver is well-suited to play the nickel position.
“I’m pleased with Isaiah,” Pees said. “I thought he had the traits that we like to have in a nickel. Being able to blitz. Being able to cover. Being able to play zone. It’s all three of those things. It’s having versatility. ... Those three traits are the ones you are looking for from any inside slot guy.”
Oliver knows that the defense will be a huge factor in this game for the Falcons to come out victorious. He understands the damage that Jones can create, especially in the zone read and RPO (run-pass option).
“You definitely have to give credit to (Giants quarterback) Daniel Jones and his running ability,” Oliver said about Jones. “You really have to treat him as a true running quarterback because he has that ability on certain plays. Some of the most successful plays have been him carrying the football.”
When it comes to Jones’ running ability, Oliver feels the defense can take lessons from their loss to Philadelphia in the season opener and apply it to this game.
“You just have to be disciplined,” Oliver said. “Everyone has to do their job. You can’t do too much. Kind of like the same thing we dealt with the Eagles. If you over-play one way and Jalen Hurts can pull it and go out the other (side). It’s the same philosophy. We have to have the same mind-set for sure.”
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Credit: Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com