Atlanta Sports: Local Football Teams About to Put the “D” in Deep South

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 26: Desmond Trufant
NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 26: Desmond Trufant /

With just a few weeks away from college football kicking, and a few more weeks after that for the baddest dudes on the planet to start the NFL season, defense is on the horizon.

Even though Steve Spurrier has always driven me crazy, he’s always good for throwing out clear catchphrases that rock the lexicon. His quasi-pejorative term “talkin’ season”, referring to the media lead up to football season, has taken hold. Well, talkin’ season is almost over, and when one looks around at some of the local football teams, there is a common theme: Improved defense.

Think about it. A quick gander around the region shows that most of the regional teams will showcase an improved defense. This is regardless of conference or level of play.

The Atlanta Falcons have, unequivocally, the fastest and most physical defense that we’ve ever seen in a Falcons uniform. That isn’t hyperbole. I could go into the numbers, but i don’t feel like I should have to. You know it. I know it. They know it. Even the troglodytic New Orleans Saints fans know it. Head Coach Dan Quinn, in his first few drafts, has already stamped this team with his brand of “Seattle” demon defense. That unit should be top 15 in the NFL this year, and that is playing rookies and 2nd year players all over.

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The Georgia Bulldogs, in Coach Kirby Smart’s 2nd year, look to have a defense that could be ranked top 10 nationally. Returning 10 of 11 starters from a unit last year that was top 20 in total defense, the Dawgs will rely on that side of the ball in their quest to relieve pressure off of Sophomore QB Jacob Eason and conquer the SEC East. Barring injury, the UGA Defense could have up to 6 dudes taken in the 2018 NFL Draft, if they choose to go. That’s stout.

Those Yellow Jackets from Georgia Tech have more depth this year on defense than in recent memory. With 40 scholarship players on that side of the ball, DC Ted Roof seems excited (as much as a DC will show) about this unit and their potential. If Tech can beat Tennessee in that first game, and some of the young additions and recent recruits can consistently contribute, GT could make some noise in 2017.

Then you have the Georgia State Panthers with New Coach Shawn Elliott and their new digs at former Turner Field. The pass rush from the Defensive Line was one of the strengths in 2016, and 2017 should be no different. The difference , though, could be more in style. New DC Nate Fuqua, by way of Wofford, usually sports a swarming stye of defense, rather than the more “bend but don’t break” type of style. Either way, with their ability to get after the QB last year, and more of an emphasis on attacking the ball, that Defense should continue to improve, and might even be a terror.

Next: Atlanta Falcons: ATL Might Have Fastest Defense in 2017 NFL

Who knows if any of our local teams will win championships in 2017, but all of them should showcase improved defensive units. And you can’t win anything without stout defense.