FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – With the trading of Deion Jones to Cleveland, the Falcons linebacker room has been completely revamped from a season ago. Jones has been an anchor for this Atlanta defense since being drafted in 2016.
GM Terry Fontenot's issued statement from Monday further elaborates what went into trading Jones to the Browns. In Monday's press conference, head coach Arthur Smith also speaks about the Jones trade.
"Like any move we make, we try to do it with the best interest of the team," Smith said. "We're always mindful of the players and we're very appreciative of all the players that played here. Very appreciative of what Deion has done for us."
Mykal Walker and Rashaan Evans now lead the charge with the additions of Troy Andersen, Nathan Landman, and Nick Kwiatkoski adding depth. Walker currently leads the defense in tackles (44) and one interception that was returned for a team high of 21-yards. Evans sits right behind Walker with 41 tackles. Smith described this core group as a strength of the team.
"Mykal Walker has been playing really good football and the numbers show that and the same with Rashaan. They all have their strengths," Smith said. "Troy, he played a little more against two stacked running back batches and thought he handled them really well. For Nate, he has to play a little more because Mykal was out. We feel good about Kwiatkoski too, so we feel like it's a strength of our defense."
The consistency of this group has been a stand out through all five games, providing stability that will be needed as the season continues.
We take a monochrome look at the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 9, 2022.