FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – If there’s one thing for sure about Mike Nolan’s new defense in Atlanta, the safeties love it.
Both William Moore and Thomas DeCoud used the word “fun” on multiple occasions Wednesday as the team wrapped up its next-to-last session of Organized Team Activites (OTAs) at the team’s training facility in Flowery Branch.
While gushing about Nolan, Moore said the biggest difference in Nolan from Brian VanGorder’s scheme last year is intensity.
“He’s aggressive,” Moore said about Nolan. “I love the defense; I love the scheme and what he’s got us doing. He’s letting us roam around and play football from the back end. As you can see we got a lot of looks in. It looks like we’re freelancing, but we’ve got some organized football going on and it’s fun. I say that most importantly, it’s fun.”
Moore, DeCoud and the rest of the safeties are speeding around the ball like never before. It’s impossible to tell yet if the safeties are all over the place by specific design or if they are already making judgment calls of their own, but the movement is quite impressive.
During rookie minicamp, secondary coach Tim Lewis said the biggest area where DeCoud could improve in 2012 was making calls and getting the defense set up quicker. He said that would allow him to make more plays on the ball.
DeCoud echoed those sentiments exactly Wednesday.
“That’s always a part of our job description as safeties to get guys lined up,” said DeCoud. “Like I said, it’s a little simpler of a defense, we’re able to makes calls and [then] really get off the leash and make plays as a secondary.”
In Nolan’s new scheme, DeCoud said he’s able to get his playing calling duties done earlier because the defense is simpler. That’s going to free up the safeties to be much more involved.
DeCoud was careful not to say this defense was “safety oriented” but he did note that he and Moore would be “in the mix” on a lot of things.
Moore said the duo was open to be more aggressive and that he and DeCoud could even swap positions at time to confuse offenses.
“We have a chance to just play around with the defense, and like you said it let’s the safeties be more aggressive,” said Moore. “We’re open to do what we want, but we still have responsibilities.”