Atlanta Falcons: Akeem Dent ready to take over at MLB

Stephen Nicholas (right) joins fellow linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Akeem Dent during a training camp practice. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Stephen Nicholas (right) joins fellow linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and Akeem Dent during a training camp practice. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons middle linebacker Akeem Dent is set to make his first NFL start against the Kansas City Chiefs at 1 p.m. Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium.

The second-year player from the Georgia and Douglass High will attempt to fill the spot vacated by Curtis Lofton, who left to sign with the Saints in free agency. Lofton led the Falcons in tackles with 159 last season.

While Dent had a strong exhibition season, defensive coordinator Mike Nolan doesn’t know want to expect once the regular season starts.

“The game changes when it goes to the regular season,” Nolan said. “In my opinion, he’s has done a very good job in the preseason. I’ve been impressed with him. Especially knowing that he didn’t really play at all in the regular [defense last season].”

Dent, who led the team in special teams tackles last season with 19, will play in the base 4-3 defense. He’ll come out when Nolan calls for the nickel package.

“All indications to me are that he’s going to be a good, solid player,” Nolan said.

Dent is trying to take a low key approach to his new starting spot.

“I’m just going out and making sure that I’m being sound fundamentally, just play assignment football and try to make some plays,” Dent said.

Dent is trying not to focus on the fact that he’ll be making his first start in the league.

“I don’t really think about it like that,” Dent said. “It’s just another football game and I’m just trying to take it one step at a time. I just want to go out and play to the best of my ability. “

Nolan is anticipating that Dent will hit some rough patches as a first-time starter.

“They’ve got to start somewhere,” Nolan said. ”But I have been pleased with what he’s done so far. He is currently a two-down player. I think in time he could do a decent job as a three-down player. But right now we’ll start with just trying two. …hopefully in the base he does a good job.”

Nolan wants Dent to continue to play through his setbacks and try to improve as the season progresses.

“As it is with all young guys, he’s going to start at one level and if they are good, he’ll continue to climb and finish the season looking back on it and saying ‘God, I’ve really gotten better,’” Nolan said. “I hope he does that.”

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34 comments Add your comment

Falkonfan

September 5th, 2012
4:46 pm

Time to remove the training wheels and let the players play!!!!! Oh yeah, First!

Greg

September 5th, 2012
5:36 pm

Frankly, I think Dent looks quicker and faster than Lofton was, so I won’t be surprised if he’s soon in there on at least some third downs. The big question will be how he plays off blocks on running plays. Lofton was pretty good at that. I haven’t seen enough of Dent against 1st-team guys to know what to think yet.

Post-It

September 5th, 2012
5:57 pm

Give him a couple of games to get into the flow and we’re going to be thrilled that Dent is in there. Meanwhile Lofton will still be nursing that nagging high ankle sprain and getting torched by tight ends across the middle.

loyalfalconfromthemississippi

September 5th, 2012
6:06 pm

i have no doubt in dent he will be better than lofton was no doubt go falcons

Mike Franklin

September 5th, 2012
6:27 pm

Add a little extra padding inside that helmet, Akeem… the less dents in that respect, the better.

falCANS

September 5th, 2012
7:11 pm

Dent hasnt been impressive at all

lakedawg

September 5th, 2012
7:40 pm

Roger

September 5th, 2012
7:44 pm

Dent does have good size and speed, but there really isnt any way of knowing exactly what he can really do untill after a few REAL games with teams scheming against the Falcons Defense. Hopefully the results will be impressive or at least enough to build on. He is basically a rookie as a linebacker in the NFL and mistakes are expected to happen.

SeenThisB4

September 5th, 2012
7:55 pm

Still lamenting the loss of Lofton.

If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be criticizing him every other post.

“Target that soft falcan’t defensive middle and fire all weapons!”

Whadda Ya Know?

September 5th, 2012
8:02 pm

SeenThisNoMore…why you still hanging around here? You must have a program that notifies you every time someone posts to a Falcon blog.

Rise Up Nation

September 5th, 2012
8:09 pm

Seen you stole my line! However it sbould be aimed at that gushy soft Aint defense! Not just the middle….they soft everywhere!

[...] From Other Great Blogs issue #1 By NFC South Daily Editor, on September 5th, 2012 Atlanta Falcons: Akeem Dent ready to take over at MLB – blogs.ajc.com 09/05/2012 Stephen Nicholas (right) joins fellow linebackers Sean [...]

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged Akeem, Atlanta, Dent, Falcons, over, ready, take. Bookmark the permalink. ← Colts eager to see how Luck performs in NFL debut (The Associated Press) [...]

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged Akeem, Atlanta, Dent, Falcons, over, ready, take. Bookmark the permalink. ← Colts eager to see how Luck performs in NFL debut (The Associated Press) [...]

DR. FALCON

September 6th, 2012
12:25 am

AS A FORMER FREDERICK DOUGLASS ASTRO, (CLASS OF ‘80)> I WANT TO WISH MY FELLOW ALUM. AKEEM DENT, GOOD LUCK! THE ONUS IS ON YOU, NOW!

Gamer

September 6th, 2012
5:52 am

In any sport, every good player is coached into greatness through sheer God-given talent and player’s preparations….With Dent, there will be no exception….I agree with Nolan’s notion that Dent must start learning to play the game somewhere…..

Dent got the atheleticism. He got good study disciplines displaying his corrigibility. Now can he geal it altogether…

CAN DENT PUT A DENT IN OPPOSING RUNNING BACKS AND TIGHT ENDS WITH ONE HIT????? ONLY GAME TIME WILL ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS……HE SHOWN HARD HITTING ABILITY LAST SEASON WHILE PLAYING SPECIAL TEAMS..

PERSONALLY I THINK HE CAN PUT A DENT IN OPPOSING PLAYERS THAT IS ON HIS RADAR..IF HE CAN AVOID CONCUSSIONS BY SOUND TACKLING TECHNIQUES THEN DENT WILL DO WELL…

FALCONS ON THREE, DOMINATE!!!

redcoat

September 6th, 2012
6:03 am

Seen is like those has been, or never were, high school athletes that go sit on the visitor side at high school games just to “stir it up”, be able to have some kind of fake pride, and soon disappear when their team stops winning…….very sad, I wonder where they go and do after their run is through?……..change their name and get on another band wagon I guess?

[...] Akeem Dent ready to take over at middle linebacker [...]

Mike is Back

September 6th, 2012
7:57 am

Dled, really like the BullDog Dent…I use to get tee off because we didn’t draft more defensive players from the BullDogs.

You can see from the Preseason…he is going to have some rough spots…However, he possesses SPOON like potential…with Nolan coaching him…The Sky is the limit.

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about middle linebacker Akeem Dent as he gets ready for his first NFL start on Sunday in [...]

Post-It

September 6th, 2012
9:47 am

@seen
Still lamenting the loss of your team’s reputation.

If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be trashing the team winning the right way every other post.

chc4

September 6th, 2012
10:01 am

Dent will be tested on Sunday. With a shaky QB, KC will try to run it alot with Charles and Hillis. Both Dent and Jerry need to step up in their new starting roles.

hammerinhankhammeredsaints

September 6th, 2012
10:49 am

exactly ,I believe he will step up !he played in the, SEC!!he will step up ,with Nolan helping him ,and spoon hovering inside and outside the box

*Frederick(Bailey)Douglass*

September 6th, 2012
11:17 am

Dent, do your job. Tough love here bro. Be aggressive. Find the ball. Importantly:

Make Douglass High School PROUD

Most Important:

DONT EMBARRASS DOUGLASS HIGH!!!!

FBD

P.S. This is what you always dreamed. Fell in your lap: HIT SOMEBODY!!!

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

jgeezy29

September 6th, 2012
9:20 pm

falcons need a pass rush

[...] Akeem Dent ready to take over at middle linebacker [...]

Jonathan

September 7th, 2012
8:22 am

So…we get rid of our MLB because he isn’t a 3 down LB and replace him with essentially a rookie MLB who is only a 2 down LB…And who exactly could we not have afforded by giving Lofton the contract he wanted? Not sure this is going to work out in the long run…maybe we should start looking at Monti Te’o (ND) or Kevin Reddick (UNC) in the draft.

Jimmy

September 8th, 2012
4:30 am

Uhhhhh, Jonathan – learn the game before you speak (or type).

On 3rd & long down and distances, your weakest LB (coverage wise) usually comes out of the game and is replaced by a defensive back (or nickel). Dent can’t cover well so if there is little chance the opposing team will run the ball, why have him in there?

Jimmy

September 8th, 2012
4:30 am

Uhhhhh, Jonathan – learn the game before you speak (or type).

On 3rd & long down and distances, your weakest LB (coverage wise) usually comes out of the game and is replaced by a defensive back (or nickel). Dent can’t cover well so if there is little chance the opposing team will run the ball, why have him in there?

[...] Akeem Dent ready to take over at middle linebacker [...]

[...] solid play for at least two downs. “They’ve got to start somewhere,” he told Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I have been pleased with what he’s done so far.” If Dent falters, that will put [...]

[...] Akeem Dent ready to take over at middle linebacker [...]

[...] Akeem Dent ready to take over at middle linebacker [...]