Hayden Hurst Confident Falcons Will Make Defenses ‘Uncomfortable’

Hayden Hurst

Getty Hayden Hurst #81 of the Atlanta Falcons hurdles Keisean Nixon #22 of the Las Vegas Raiders.

They say change doesn’t happen only in the gym, but also in the kitchen. Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst hasn’t taken that saying lightly.

He’s ditched the bad foods and has made it his goal to get faster, bigger, and stronger this offseason.

“This year was big for me, adding the diet to my routine as well,” Hurst said via AtlantaFalcons.com. “I’m down to almost eight percent body fat right now. I’m definitely a man on a mission this year. I have a lot of reasons to play a little bit harder.”

Among those reasons could be the fact that he has some new competition in Falcons’ first-round draft pick this year, tight end Kyle Pitts. It could also mean he has a lot to prove if he plans on signing another contract with the Falcons next year after the team decided not to pick up his fifth-year option.

Whatever is fogging his mind, he’s made it clear he’s not letting anything stop him from having a breakout season.

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 Hurst is Stoked for Arthur Smith’s Offense

The Falcons offense will be run a bit differently this year under new head coach Arthur Smith, who also plans to do the offensive play calling.

While Hurst put up career-high numbers last season, he still wasn’t able to showcase everything he’s got. But under Smiths’ two tight end formations, that should change.

“What I bring to the table is pretty unique as far as my vertical speed and how I’m able to move at my size. The way I play in games, my tempo is a match [to the system]. I think it’s a great offense and I’m excited. I think that, in my fourth year, I’m going to get utilized vertically. That’s what I was able to do in college. Finally, an offensive coordinator can see that and utilize it this year.”

In Tennesee last season, Smith had four tight ends who played more than 200 snaps and the most frequent formation he used was 12 personnel, which consists of one running back and two TEs.

“That’s the beauty of this offense,” Hurst said. “We’re going to operate at multiple tight end sets. History has proven that with Coach Smith in Tennessee. I think we have a pretty good group of guys here in Atlanta and that he’s going to be able to utilize all of us in specific ways to create mismatches and make defenses uncomfortable.”

Despite Hurst and Pitts on the Field, the Falcons also have a rising star in Calvin Ridley and another promising young receiver in Russell Gage.

 Smith is All About Creating Conflict

Not only should the Falcons have an excellent passing game, but their ground game should be superb too as Smith joins the Falcons after leading the best rushing attack for two straight seasons with the Titans.

Smith plans to mix it up a lot in Atlanta as well to keep the offenses off-balance.

“You don’t want to become obvious,” Smith told Jeff Schultz of The Athletic. “Yeah, we’re going to run the football, and we’re going to throw play action at you. But if you’re sitting up there [in the box] and you know what’s coming, then shame on us.”

“It’s about creating conflict,” elaborated Smith. “We want to constantly put stress on the defense.”

Falcons fans should get pumped for this season as this Atlanta team will hopefully be revived after relying heavily on their passing game over the past four seasons.


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