For all the questions about whether or not Akeem Dent can get the job done this season, let’s review.
Rewind to January 13, 2013. Atlanta Falcons take on the Seattle Seahawks. By the end of the third quarter, things were looking pretty darn good. Dent brought a screeching halt to Marshawn Lynch’s first two carries. The Falcons were up 27-7 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Then it all fell apart.
In a nutshell, the defense screwed up in the fourth quarter…and that is probably a blanket understatement at best. The Seahawks not only made up the double-digit point differential but pulled ahead by one point, albeit briefly. The only thing that saved the Falcons was a Matt Bryant field goal that put them back ahead with eight seconds remaining. Dent—and the other defensive line members—are going to really have to pull it together to ensure that nightmare doesn’t come around again.
Is one playoff game enough to judge on what’s coming in the future? Absolutely not. Though at the current time Dent is listed on the depth chart as the top middle linebacker, anything could happen. In this case, the definition of ‘anything’ does not refer to injury. Dark horse Brian Banks is working hard—maybe harder than any of the others—to make his mark. None, especially Dent, can take it easy and think the position will be his by default because it may not be. There’s a lot at stake this season. Not to say there isn’t a lot at stake in all seasons, but none of the guys should rest on their laurels of the past.
To answer the question, yes. Dent can definitely get the job done. During training camp, however, Dent should be prepared to really step it up as he narrows his focus on his game and keeping his position…because there’s always someone else waiting in the wings.