Falcons cornerback Desmond Trufant appears to be back.
Against the Jets, Trufant was solid in tight pass coverage and physical with any ball carrier who dared to venture onto his side of the field. For several onlookers, it was reminiscent of the veteran’s play in 2015, which earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl.
“It was just good to be back out there,” Trufant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Get out there, run around and fly around. Make some plays. I felt good. I just have to keep building each and every week.”
In 26 snaps against the Jets, Trufant had five tackles, one tackle for a loss and a pass breakup.
“He did have a good game,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “It was really, you saw the quickness to go and break. The big play that he made on third down, that was man-to-man, where you saw the speed to go. He broke up another pass. Those are ones that I thought were clear illustrations of speed and the ability to match up on different guys.”
The Falcons have played Trufant on both the left and right sides of the defensive backfield this offseason and in training camp. He’s played only on the left side during his seven previous years in the NFL.
“That was a good performance by him,” Quinn said. “Good aggressiveness. He’s had a good camp and really has been disciplined and on it.”
The defense is undergoing some minor reconstruction because the Falcons will play eight games against mobile quarterbacks this season. But Trufant has suggested that the defense will be more aggressive with Quinn calling signals.
“Every week, we are getting closer,” Trufant said. “We are two weeks out now. We are just trying to tighten up on the details. Communication. Just get our rhythm together as a defense.”
As far as making it back to Pro Bowl status, he’s looking for big things this season.
“I feel good,” Trufant said. “I feel primed to do my thing. I’m just focusing on leaving it out there. Being relentless and leading these guys. That’s what I’m here for. I’m going to be ready for the challenge every Sunday.”
In addition to improved play from Trufant, the Falcons are welcoming back strong safety Keanu Neal and free safety Ricardo Allen. Neal is coming back from left knee surgery, Allen is recovering from Achilles surgery and both played 21 snaps against the Jets.
“Definitely, those guys are major to our defense,” Trufant said. “They are ahead of their time mentally.”
And Trufant has had a determined approach -- and newfound inspiration -- as he prepares for the 2019 season. During the offseason, he became a father.
“It’s dope,” Trufant said of fatherhood. “It was a blessing. One of the best moments of my life. I’m just blessed. I’m happy he’s healthy. It’s just something, another thing that’s pushing me to greatness.”