During the off-season, the Atlanta Falcons hired a new defensive coordinator, Mike Nolan, in an effort to shore up their defensive unit. Koetter brought in a new scheme that has allowed the Falcons to be more aggressive against the pass. Last season, if an opponent wanted to beat Atlanta their best bet was to do it through the air. However, the Falcons are making opponents think twice about that and safety, Thomas DeCoud has a lot to do with that.
DeCoud was drafted in 2008 out of the University of California. He has been with the Falcons his entire five year career. The Oakland, Ca. native had a solid season last year and has continued to take his game to the next level this season. So far, Decoud has four interceptions, good enough to be tied for third in the NFL with Casey Hayward of the Green Bay Packers. DeCoud’s four interceptions through seven games match his total for all of last season.
The Falcons safety, DeCoud is probably reaping the benefit of playing alongside Asante Samuel in the secondary. With Samuel usually able to provide lockdown coverage on receivers, DeCoud has been able to lurk around and snag interceptions. In the Falcons game against the Philadelphia Eagles, the safety notched nine tackles and was able to record his first sack of the season. In his bio on Twitter, Thomas Decoud describes himself as a “Chuck Norris Connoisseur”. Seems to be an accurate depiction so far given that DeCoud has been giving quarterbacks headaches all season.