Last Sunday, Desmond Trufant played all but one of Atlanta's defensive snaps against the Cowboys. Despite this heavy workload, and despite Brandon Weeden's efficient performance, the talented CB saw only three balls come his way.
This wasn't an anomaly. Trufant didn't get targeted at all by Eli Manning in Week 2, and Sam Bradford tested him on only four occasions during the season opener. So far in 2015, opposing QBs have completed three of seven attempts against Trufant for just 60 yards, good for a paltry 73.5 passer rating.
That's 0.48 yards against per snap—or, in other terms, less than 1.5 feet.
While someone as competitive as Trufant would rather stay busy, he knows his time will come. And he knows he can't allow this inactivity to disturb his focus.
"I just do what I can. Just play my technique," he said. "When it comes my way I'm going to be there to make the play. You've got to stay ready. They want to lull (you to) sleep and catch you not doing your technique and being lazy on a play and that's when you get hit. So I'm just staying ready."
Although Trufant could have a heavy workload on any given Sunday, don't be surprised if this trend continues for another week. The Texans are led by Ryan Mallet and rank in the middle of the pack in total offense. Odds are they're preparing to line up DeAndre Hopkins, who's on pace for more than 1,300 receiving yards, on the other side of the field.
"The reason why he's not targeted is because he's a really good player," Texans head coach Bill O'Brien said of Trufant. "He's a guy who's a smart player. He's an interceptor. He can get his hands on the ball. He's a physical player. He's got really good instincts and transitional ability. He fits in well with coach (Dan) Quinn's defense. He's a great player."
Praise like O'Brien's illustrates a level of respect few are giving in the NFL. Although Trufant isn't a household name—at least not yet—it's clear those in the league's inner circles view him as one of the best corners around.
This, not public perception, is what truly matter.
"That's what we play for—respect," Trufant said. "That's the ultimate thing. Eventually they're going to take a shot at me, so I'm just going to stay ready."