Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver Ready to Fill Desmond Trufant’s Shoes

Isaiah Oliver

Getty Desmond Trufant #21 and Isaiah Oliver #26 of the Atlanta Falcon.

With Desmond Trufant heading to a new home in Detroit, there are some shoes to fill at cornerback and Isaiah Oliver is ready to take on his new role in the Falcons’ secondary.

The 23-year-old expressed his excitement to step up on a video call with Atlanta media on Wednesday.

“With Tru leaving, I definitely have to step into more of a leadership role,” Oliver said. “There’s a lot of young guys in the room, but I’m capable and ready to do that. I understand the defense really well. I understand what the coaches want. It’s just a matter of going out there and doing it every week.”

The Falcons selected Oliver in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Oliver Bounces Back After a Rough Start

Oliver was looked at as one of the worst NFL cornerbacks in 2019 until the second half of the season when head coach Dan Quinn handed the defensive coordinate role to Raheem Morris.

The Falcons started last season 1-7 and finished much stronger winning six of their final eight games. Morris was able to get players to focus on their individuality and what they brought to the table.

“Whether it was playing a certain technique or playing a certain receiver a certain way, he wanted us to be comfortable with what we were doing and really work on that one thing,” Oliver said. “He didn’t want everyone trying to do the same things. We’re all different types of players.”

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Oliver Still Has Work to Do

Still, as one of the most experienced corners on the roster, Oliver has some work to do.

Oliver started all 16 games in 2019, playing nearly 90% of the defensive snaps. He had 62 tackles and broke up 11 passes. However, the one thing he didn’t do all season was have one intercaption. Hopefully, Falcons’ new secondary hirer, Joe Whitt can fix that.

Oliver also said on Wednesday how he’s looking forward to working with Whitt.

“He knows the game really well,” Oliver said. “He’s coached a lot of great DBs, including some guys who were not supposed to be good DBs but ended up being good DBs.”

Whitt will be dealing with a lot of young bucks at cornerback, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. But, Oliver isn’t batting an eye at the fact that these guys all have two or less years of experience under their belts.

“I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’ve talked about it a little bit as a group,” Oliver said. “This is an opportunity to show just how good we really are.

“It is a young group, but a really smart group. The guys are already at a level of understanding the defense really well even if they’ve only been in the system for one year. Obviously, losing a guy like Tru changes some things. But I definitely like the group we have.”

A.J. Terrell Headed to Atlanta

Oliver will also get to work with and show the ropes to Falcons’ first-round pick and Clemson standout, A.J. Terrell.

I said had earlier last month, that when you look past the championship game, Terrell is a promising player who will help the Falcons in the long haul. He’s quick, lengthy, and extremely aggressive so, don’t let his one moment on the big stage fool you. There’s no doubt he’s going to make up for it and show Atlanta that he’s pro worthy.

Oliver and Terrell are expected to be the primary starters with Kendall Sheffield thrown into the mix as well.

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