Falcons defenders (from left) Kemal Ishmael, Duke Riley, and Austin Larkin take down Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Falcons linebacker Duke Riley is showing signs of improvement

“I think you come off of a game where you perform well and it always adds to your confidence,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said on Monday. “One of the real topics we hit on him was how much stronger could he get during the offseason. That was something we pushed, so he’s bigger than he has been in the past. I think his legs are stronger than they have been in the past.”

Riley, who was drafted in the third round of the 2017 draft, helped to turned back the Redskins from a first-and-goal from the 1 and a second-and-goal from 1. On third down the Redskins had a holding penalty.

Jermaine Grace batted down a pass on third down-and-11 and the Redskins were forced to kick a field goal. 

“I think that leans into the good goal-line play,” Quinn said of Riley’s new strength. “That leans into his tackling. I was excited to see. I thought he was one of the standouts in the game because of the physicality and the tackling. I want to see some more of that.”

Riley played in 12 games and made six starts as a rookie. Last season, Riley played in 16 games and made 10 starts before eventually losing his starting spot to Foye Oluokun.  

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