July 27, 2014 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -- The Atlanta Falcons need new leadership on defense, and coach Mike Smith says second-year cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford fit the job description perfectly.
Coming off a 4-12 season that ended with their defense ranked last in third-down efficiency, second-worst against the run and third-fewest in sacks, the Falcons still have unfulfilled leadership roles at several positions.
But that's not the case at cornerback.
Trufant and Alford are showing a healthy dose of swagger in training camp, particularly after meeting expectations as first- and second-round draft picks in 2013.
The Falcons' defense struggled last year as linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, defensive end Kroy Biermann and defensive tackle Corey Peters were injured and cornerback Asante Samuel and safety Thomas DeCoud fell out of favor with coaches.