AJ Terrell can bounce back from a rough start against the Seahawks

Tough start to the 2022 season, Atlanta Falcons Cornerback AJ Terrell’s challenges won’t get any easier this weekend as the team races against the Seattle Seahawks and dynamic receiving duo DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. The game presents itself as a good time for him to bounce back, even though.

Entering the season, everyone agreed that Terrell was among the few known bright spots on the Falcons. Coming from the 2021 season which saw him receive many accolades including several All-Pro performances, both official and unofficial, and become widely regarded as one of the top ten players under the age of 25, the only thing that was missing from his resume after he appeared That NFL season two was a collective acknowledgment from his peers and those within the league.

If those dismissals were supposed to put a chip on his shoulder in the 2022 season, he has yet to appear on the football field. Terrell struggled in the first two games of the season, earning a PFF score of 57.1, ranking him 76th out of 111 players in the qualifying corner. Terrell has allowed four touchdowns in coverage so far this year after the 2021 season where he only allowed three.

Slope and receiver quality may explain Terrell’s struggles so far

Now before I move on, I want to make it clear that I don’t think Tyrell was bad this year. It set the standard very high in 2021, likely due to some degree of decline. The nature of the back corner position means that you will get knocked down from time to time, since NFL offenses are very effective nowadays and that efficiency only increases every year.

Based on a graph of the Falcons’ defense, three of Terrell’s allowed distances came when he was selected against a large wide receiver in goal situations. Two were against Michael Thomas as part of the Falcons’ breakdown in the fourth quarter in that match. Another was against Allen Robinson last week. These are two of the best receivers in the game.

His fourth allowable touchdown came last week against Cooper Kupp and it was just a botched mission that left Kupp open in the flat, wasting Jaylinn Hawkins’ interference led to the score. Cobb has the knack of finding the end zone, since he led the league with 16 touchdowns last year.

There is no shame in being on the losing end of a match against one of the best players in the business. However, one of the reasons Tyrell is considered among the best in his position is that he has rarely found himself in this less important aspect.

Metcalf and Lockett present challenges and an opportunity for redemption

But things won’t come easy for him this week against Metcalfe and Lockett. Metcalf offers a unique combination of size and velocity, standing 6-foot-4 with a 236-pound grooved frame and a 40-yard dash time of 4.33 seconds at the Combine a few years ago.

Lockett doesn’t match the Metcalf in the size department, standing just under 5’10 inches, but brings about the same velocity with 4.40 seconds, 40 times and an elite pace to take off.

Given the strength of Thomas and Robinson, along with past struggles against Tampa Bay wide, Mike Evans, and current Cincinnati Bengals Jaymar Chase dating back to the days of the Fellowship, it’s clear that Terrell had more problems with larger, more physical receivers like Metcalf. In the past.

Kupp’s landing resistance (which I’ll stress again was a mental mistake, not physical), in previous encounters where he’s been asked to shade receivers known for their speed and trail-going abilities like Adam Thelin of Minnesota and Stefon Buffalo Diggs, has made Terrell shine. This suggests that it would be more appropriate to keep a player like Lockett in check versus Metcalf.

Also, this weekend game offers a form of payback for Terrell, who saw the Seahawks duo in their first NFL action back in a Falcons season opener loss back in 2020. In that game, Terrell was honored by the PFF by giving up seven Catching times on seven goals for a distance of 103 yards. This included a pair of catches to Lockett for 36 yards and a pair of Metcalf receivers for 50 yards, including 37 yards in double action.

Given that Terrell lines up the majority of his shots in the left corner, that puts Lockett firmly in his net. While Lockett spends a significant amount of time in the slot (42 percent of his shots according to PFF), when he lines up wide, about 80 percent of his shots line up at the right receiver, which faces the left corner.

Instead, Metcalfe mostly lines up on the left side of the attack (75 percent of his wide shots and 60 percent of all his shots) against the right-back. That would put him against veteran Casey Hayward most of the time if he followed that pattern on Sunday.

The evolving role may also have been a factor in Tyrell’s difficult start

Notably, the Falcons have asked Terrell to spend less time on the left side of the defense in 2022 than he did a year ago. All three touchdowns allowed against Thomas and Robinson came when he lined up at the right corner. In 2021, over 97 percent of Terrell’s outside corner kicks were spent on the left side of the defense. So far in 2022, that number has fallen to 67 percent.

Thus, we may very well see that Terrell takes on Metcalfe from time to time, especially in goal situations. This gives him an excellent opportunity to reverse the trend we saw in the early games if he can hold Metcalf in those situations.

Outside of these scenarios, if Pluckett can do what he did with Diggs last season, it will restore confidence that Terrell is still one of the best players in his position and that the first two games were more skewed.

This may also explain Terrell’s struggles so far, as he adjusts to a different role this season. One where in do-or-die situations near the goal line, the Falcons coaching staff is confident in his ability to eliminate the opposing team’s threat. Unfortunately for Tyrell, this belief was not confirmed by establishing the victor in those battles. But Sunday’s game against Seahawks receivers Metcalf and Lockett provides another opportunity to shift the narrative and turn the tide in his favour.

Do you think Terrell will be back this week? Or will we continue to see him struggle?

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: