Thomas DeCoud Primed for the Pro Bowl?

One Year Wonder or Franchise Defender?

 Thomas Dimitroff certainly isn’t above criticism in his drafts as General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons, such as him oft-injured and highly questioned Sam Baker at left tackle in the first round. His picks of the “injury twins” Peria Jerry and William Moore with his first two choices in the 2009 NFL Draft has raised some eyebrows as well. However, even after you count Matt Ryan, Curtis Lofton, Harry Douglas, and Kroy Biermann in the 2008 draft, fans now arrive at, perhaps, one his absolute best picks of all in free safety Thomas DeCoud. After having a pretty fantastic year in his first as a full-time starter, is DeCoud ready for another huge year and maybe a Pro Bowl, or was it a one year emergence for a player with no tape for offensive coordinators? Pick a side and have at it Ladies and Gentleman……..

DeCoud By the Numbers

((All safeties ranked together: both strong safeties and free safeties))

Snaps – 1035

Overall Comprehensive Safety Ranking – 10th (+4.6 Rating)

Pass Rush – 6th (+1.8 Ranking)

Coverage – 44th (-1.1 Rating)

Run Defense – 7th (+4.9 Rating)

Sacks – Tied 1st (3 Sacks)

QB Hits – Tied 26th (1)

QB Pressures – Tied 37th (1)

Tackles – 24th (68)

Defensive Stops – Tied 42nd (14)

Opposing WR Catch % – 19th (48.6%)

Yards Given Up – 74th (339 yds)

Yards After Catch – 42nd (88 yds)

TDs Given Up – 66th (3)

Ints – Tied 15th (3)

Passes Defensed – Tied 24th (3)

Opposing QB Rating – 38th (74.4%)

Great Games – Carolina (1), New England, New Orleans (2), Buffalo

Bad Games – NY Giants, Tampa Bay (1)

(((Special Thanks to ProFootballFocus.com for their Excellent Work)))

Good Year, But Coverage Too Weak

Thomas DeCoud certainly is a great talent and seemingly is a cornerstone of the completely revamped defense, but he’s got too many issues in coverage as a free safety to be considered on the verge of an All Pro year. While being very good against the run and rushing the passer, DeCoud had serious issues in covering receivers (his main responsibility), finishing 44th in coverage, 74th in Yards Given Up, and 66th in TDs Given Up.

While obviously DeCoud is very young (25), he needs to put in some serious work in his coverage ability to be considered elite. Pair #28’s weaker coverage ability with strong safety Erik Coleman and you have serious issues considering you play the best passing offense in New Orleans twice a year. Also think about Josh Freeman as an emerging young talent in Tampa Bay, Matt Moore’s good performance over the final stretch of last season, and that’s not even including Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and Carson Palmer on the schedule. Fans will be thinking only about improving a leaky pass coverage and not about DeCoud’s Pro Bowl potential.

DeCoud on Verge of Greatness

The Falcons coaching staff felt so strongly about Thomas DeCoud’s ability that they not only let Lawyer Milloy walk, but moved Erik Coleman to strong safety after spending most of his career as a free safety. In only his first year, DeCoud was one of the best QB rushing safeties (6th), tied for the most sacks in the NFL (3), ranked 15th in INTs, and even almost equaled the sack total of the entire linebacker corps (3 to LB’s 4). Many fans may have forgotten about DeCoud since he spent his entire rookie year learning behind both Lawyer Milloy and Erik Coleman. Dimitroff took a gamble when he replaced 5 starters on defense, but he obviously knew that DeCoud would be a huge part of that equation.

DeCoud definitely has to work on his coverage ability, but it was his first year as a full-time starter. It’s hard to argue that DeCoud got much help from his secondary mates when you look at their 2009 performances. Erik Coleman was terrible in coverage, Chris Houston was so bad that he’s now with the Detroit Lions, Brent Grimes had a poor first half, and Chris Owens suffered the typical rookie struggles. Also consider the linebacker corps and defensive line was anemic in pressure, and its surprising that DeCoud’s coverage wasn’t worse. With improvement and health at every level of the defense (Weatherspoon, Robinson, Jerry, Peters, Biermann), look for Thomas DeCoud to have a record breaking Pro Bowl worthy year. Just ask Drew Brees about #28.

 

Kings and Queens of the Cage Turn (You)

-Which do you choose: Weak Coverage or Verge or Greatness? Why?

-Is Thomas DeCoud ready for a Pro Bowl year?

-Will DeCoud improve his coverage?

-How many picks and sacks will #28 get?

-Is #28 the leader of the defense?

-Will the Falcons pass coverage improve?

 

Check Out DOL’s Countdown to Training Camp Series

-Day 10 – Defensive Line

-Day 9 – Linebackers

-Day 8 – Cornerbacks

-Day 7 – Safeties

-Day 6 – Offensive Line

-Day 5 – Tight Ends

-Day 4 – Wide Receivers

 

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233 comments Add your comment

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
12:44 pm

Great post my brother. Hope that the down time is doing you and the family well.

Thomas DeCoud’s stock is definately on the rise. This gem was found by TD in the third round of the 2008 draft. He was known to be an impact player with versatility and consistency as his hallmarks.
Special teams play were assets as well. TD rolled the dice and it is working. While yes there is still some work to do when it comes to playing coverage, I think that will get better in time. DeCoud has skill at both safety and cornerback. The shortfalls that we saw last season will be smoothed out in time, especially given the intensity that Coach Lewis brings to the table as well as what he requires of his DBs.

A year under his belt in terms of experience. An offseason spent aggressively training, both in the physical and mental. I think the sky is the limit for DeCoud.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
12:47 pm

Coverage skills were a major issue across the board last season for sure. I still think the lack of a pass rush (minus Babs, Abe, and Biermann…there was none) was the major issue in the very effective use of the pass against the Falcons. Add to that the weak skill set of pass coverage in the LB corps and it was a turbulent year for all. But as a old hymn my grandmother loves to sing goes…

Help is on the way.

As indicated in the post, significant upgrades have taken place in the LB corps as well as in the CB corps. Faster, more experienced, more physical players are now in place. We have to know see if the Process is ready to take the next step. I think it is..

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
12:56 pm

One more point. If I am correct about my assessment of a more Tampa 2 like scheme, our safeties will then cover the back halves of the field, being ready to react to anything in front of them. Physical play will be key as they will attack the ball carriers with speed and intensity. DeCoud has shown this skill and when he hits the field, William Moore, based on history, is very similiar in statute and technique. Given his production at Montana, Schillinger appears to bring the wood as well as have an eye for being a ball hawk.

The Process continues…

D. Orlando Ledbetter

July 26th, 2010
1:13 pm

Love it!!!! TD also put some big hits on folks last year!!!

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SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
1:24 pm

DOL, I feel ya. Get used to the following two phrases this season.

1) RISE UP!!

2) FEAR THE SPEAR!!

Rikus

July 26th, 2010
1:46 pm

If everyone can stay healthy, we will have a tremendous amount of depth on D this year, with a good blend of experience and raw talent.

DeCoud’s coverage stats are highly dependent on how well his teammates are playing. I don’t think we can assume that he is “bad at coverage.”

Nookah

July 26th, 2010
1:46 pm

D3,

Nuff respect my bro!!! Great post as usual. I have been away for a while but you guys have always been on my mind. As it is close to training camp you know all systems are a go!!!

I see the “old faithful” are still here!!….Seminole, whatup bro!!! Nookah is back in the house so ……”don’t worry ’bout a t’ing, cause every little thing is gonna be all right!!!!

I am pregnant with expectancy for the upcoming season!!!!! It’s gonna be a blast!!!…RISE UP!!!

Rastaman Vibration yeah, positive vibration yeah!!!

Shout out to the rest of the crew who no doubt will soon chime in!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!!

Go Falcons!!!

Ben Hill Falcon

July 26th, 2010
2:27 pm

@ Seminlole Warrior You are so correct sir and as a fellow falcons fan I appluad your knowledge. Thomas Decoud will not be flashy but will be a blue collar force which Is my favorite kind of player just gets in works his butt off and make plays. I think as we improve our pass rush and play in coverage from our linebackers and our corners we will see an very talented and underrated defense shock the league. What gets lost in all of this is that last year was a transitional youth movement with plenty pf growing pains. This year we will be ready for all out action. And Seminole warrior you may not rmemebr this convo we had before last season but you my goood sir were correct about Brent Grimes and I owe you a beer

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
2:46 pm

Welcome home Nookah…..yes!!

Ben Hill Falcon, thanks my brother. Good to have you in the Cage.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
2:47 pm

BHG, I can’t have the beer do to medical issues but you can definately make that a lemonade anytime at the Dome my brother….Look me up in section 209, row one. You will not miss me I assure you of that…

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
2:48 pm

Ooops…that should be BHF, not BHG.

RISE UP and FEAR THE SPEAR!!!

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
2:51 pm

What the world saw in the evolution of Brent Grimes last season they will see even more so this season in the RISING UP and coming out of one Koy Biermann.

And by year’s end, you will know why the Spoon Express was destined for the ATL all the time.

RISE UP…..FEAR THE SPEAR.

SeminoleWarrior

July 26th, 2010
2:53 pm

Time to break right….night beat this week. If you are holding it down at home or work, keep the faith and everything, as Nookah would say, is going to be alright.

If you care about someone, let them know it. If that special one is in your thoughts, share those thoughts and that care. Nothing is promised, time is precious, and dreams can only come true if they are shared with those you treasure. God willing, I will see you on the other side. I’m your brother, your partner, your Falcon mate….I’m your Warrior and I’m out!!

RISE UP….FEAR THE SPEAR!!

JJ

July 26th, 2010
3:06 pm

SW, damn it was hot out there today. Did you get your ESPN mag in the mail today? It’s there FFL special. How’s our Queen Lady doing? I’m shooting for the sat. 12:00 mock scrimmage, think it’s the 7th? Would love to see ya there!

Queen Elizabeth

July 26th, 2010
4:38 pm

Mr. JJ, Were you referring to me? Dear me, I am flattered.I’m afraid we had our arses handed to us in the World Cup in our brand of futball. Your football is my last shot at a Crown that really matters. At my age, that last “high ball” may have been my last shot! I say to you across the pond, have your Falcons win that Crown this year while I am still around to see it. I so like that Captain Smith of yours. Ours was a fine man, but alas failed as the winter came on. May you play and win well into your winter under your Captain Smith. Wonder if they are related???? Cheerio….

Zone4FalcFan

July 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

I think DeCoud had a great year for a first time starter and 3rd round pick. The kid struggled IMO due to the poor play in Coleman and Houston. DeCoud was the most consistent player in the secondary (which is why he is the only one who may not be replaced this offseason.)Coleman should be replaced by Moore and Grimes should be Owens. I’m not saying DeCoud was perfect but I think he will be a very good player (hopefully multiple Pro Bowls)

kgb

July 26th, 2010
4:43 pm

All the stats listed are nice but somewhat hard to draw a conclusion from. I think it’s easier just to say that Profootballfocus.com ranks Decoud as the #10 safety out of 88 safeties rated. Now that puts it in a clearer perspective. (and not too shabby for Decoud either).

Eric

July 26th, 2010
4:51 pm

Thomas DeCoud showed that he has the skill to play at the NFL level. He does need to improve in pass protection. In think that whether you are talking about Grimes, Owens, or DeCoud, improved pass defense starts with the defensive line. If DeCoud improves his pass coverage skills, and the defensive line puts pressure on the quarterback, DeCoud just might have a pro bowl year.

Eric

July 26th, 2010
4:52 pm

By the way, I want to see DeCoud wallop Brees all game long. “Biermann picks up the ball and it’s a touchdown”.

Nookah

July 26th, 2010
4:52 pm

kgb,

Thanks for that info. That’s a pretty good rating. Let’s hope he lives up to the hype, which I think he will and William Moore has a stellar season. That would be icing on the cake!!!

Go Falcons!!!

Nuff respect everytime!!!

waynester

July 26th, 2010
5:20 pm

I definitely view DeCoud as a top 10 safety in the League and am looking for tremendous things this year. If Grimes can hold down the right side like he did late last season, the addition of Dunta R on the left side should make our secondary much harder to pick apart…..

Ben Hill Falcon

July 26th, 2010
5:30 pm

You got it Siminole Warrior If i make it to one of the games you will have your lemonade funny thing is I dont drink. I think you are one hundred percent correct about Kroy Bierman. In limited action he was non stop like the second coming of Patrick Kerney. He should have at least 10 sacks in a full time starters role

CBrass

July 26th, 2010
6:01 pm

D3,

Great job. DeCoud was outstanding considering how bad our D was last season. He along with Grimes and Owens really came into their own last season. I look for him to take a huge step forward this season. He was involved with the MMA training and he said that he could feel the different after the first day. Just think DeCoud and Moore probably will be our starting safeties by the latter part of the season and I for one can wait to see him play together!!!

Nookah,

How I’ve missed you!!! Good to see you back!!

BT

July 26th, 2010
6:28 pm

Like everyone else, I am all over TD #28.
He has a bright future that just might involve some pro bowl visits?
At a minimum he`s solid and works his tail off.

On the question, is he the leader of the defense?
Curtis Lofton is that guy but DeCoud may very well assume leadership in the secondary?

On the question of DeCoud and the Falcons secondary improving their coverage?
I think, it will but if it don`t?
This is directed at the rest of the secondary and not so much at DeCoud.
There will be more that a couple of new names on the Falcons roster (again) competing for jobs in that secondary, IMO.

CBrass

July 26th, 2010
6:39 pm

BT,

Lofton is more of the guy that leads by example. I can see either Spoon or DeCoud being the vocal leader(s) in the future.

Moose

July 26th, 2010
6:45 pm

DaCoooooooo…… I can hear the chants now…….. Kids gonna play lights out this year with a much improved supporting cast………….

Howdy all……… Storms keep knocking out our connectoin……. AT&T is a PITA………..

This is one player that I have no concerns with what so ever………

Moose

July 26th, 2010
6:59 pm

Your right about Lofton CBrass but Spoon will soon be the Voice………….IMO…..

Paul

July 26th, 2010
7:05 pm

I’m not trying to be a jerk, but you really screwed the pooch on this article. You have yards given up as 74th in the league. There’s only 32 teams, so 64 starting Safeties. I pulled the stats from the page, and they are including safeties that only played 25% of their teams defensive snaps. Of course they are not going to give up as many yards, they were not even on the field to give them up. #1 on the list only played 376 snaps. DeCoud played 1035. #1 only had 5 passes thrown in his coverage all season, so he was probably the Safety on the punt return unit.

Change it to 75% of their team’s snaps, and DeCoud ranks a LOT better. He’s 9th in percentage caught. If you want to leave it at 25%, you could change it to percentage caught to compare apples to apples, and he’s 19th in the league. He was actually very good in coverage, the only thing bad was your stats.

BT

July 26th, 2010
7:08 pm

This just in….
Harry Douglas has been cleared to report to training camp after meeting with Dr. Andrews.

That`s great news!

CBrass,
If`n I had to choose between a vocal leader or one that leads by example?
Actually, I am fine with either..after they proven it on the field.

BT

July 26th, 2010
7:10 pm

I am with you Paul, I believe what I see.
Pro football focus is highly questionable with their stuff.

Moose

July 26th, 2010
7:28 pm

Good news on HDouglas BT……. Paul is right that the stats can be misleading but in the offseason what else is there to base an honest opinion on?…….. Gut check works for me on alot of players after watching them play………. And yes ya do need to compair apples to apples……..

BT

July 26th, 2010
7:46 pm

Moose,
I have been reading your post, your a welcome addition to to cage and our FFL.
You know you Falcons football.
Pay on attention to JJ and his newly acuicured ESPN Mag. FFL cheat sheet.
It will be old and stale before our draft..hehe

Wabe

July 26th, 2010
7:52 pm

DeCoud’s hit on Drew Bree’s last season in the Superdome that resulted in a fumble/Biermann TD = priceless.

The guy can hit. He’s a hard-hitting safety. No doubt that the guy needs to work on his coverage abilities, but I’d say that holds true for the entire Falcons secondary. I think the emphasis on TEAM DEFENSE is crucial. Regardless of how good a guy’s coverage abilities are, you’re only gonna hold your guy for so long. It’s up to the FRONT 4 to apply a solid pass rush to help the guys in the secondary out.

I think the Falcons have enough talent in the backhalf of the defense, but will they have enough up front to disrupt what offenses are trying to do.

Wabe

July 26th, 2010
7:59 pm

And Paul, the stats in the article maybe a bit off, but the fact remains that DeCoud often times was very late rotating to his appropriate spot. I’m not a big stat guy, but I know that the Falcons were one of the worst in the league in holding off BIG PLAYS (20+ yards). Whether you want to pin that on the front 4’s lack of a pass rush or the poor secondary play – that’s up to you. But, as a FS, you’ve got to be protecting the backhalf of the defense. And, there’s no way you can give up so many big plays and not look at the safeties – whose jobs are to protect the corners over the top.

Just my take on it.

robertussen

July 26th, 2010
8:43 pm

that picture above is from the bears game. i think that should on the list of great games. he had two of his three interceptions in that game.

Sarah B

July 26th, 2010
9:00 pm

No not a 1 year wonder. He will continue to be a force for many years to come. Now we just need our corners to get their intensity from him. We really could make to Big Game this year. I know this is a time of hope and I’m hoping like Hell!!!

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:03 pm

Good points Wabe….. 3rd and down killed us last year and the play from Chris ( I can’t turn my head around) Houston was a key factor……….

Thanks BT and back at ya………. Look forward to the FFL but DAMMMMM I’m ready for some Falcons Foottball……..LOL

This teams got what it takes……… Have not been so excited in a long time about a team taking it to the house for a few years to come…

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:08 pm

Hey Sarah B ……….How are things going for you jobr hunt?………

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:09 pm

Jobr? Job I mean…….

Sarah B

July 26th, 2010
9:14 pm

I knew what you meant Moose, and it going very slow. I’m about bored out of my mind. I’m running DeKalb Library out of books. Let me know if you hear of anything out there.

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:21 pm

I’ts not you kiddo the job market is in the tank right now………. Hang in there………

Mike V.

July 26th, 2010
9:23 pm

I hear that the Falcons will be looking for a Head Coach next year if you can wait that long.

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:26 pm

Oh, I saw you and JJ talking about camp but……..
Long story but our good neighbor across from us who is 78 broke her leg and is comming home later this week…

We have already told her kids that live outta state not to worry about her being taken care of… The wife and I along with others are going to be there for her but that could play a big role in when we make it to a practice game…. Right now it’s all up in the air as she is not home yet……..

We’ll make at least two but it will be on the wing is my guess right now…….

Sick & Tired Of Being Sick & Tired

July 26th, 2010
9:29 pm

DeCoud is decent but he’s got a long way to go to become a Pro-Bowl level safety. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong with his play this year….I certainly hope so.
I still remember the hard hits dished out by Scott Case…now that was a Falcons safety who knew how to hit and play the position.

Sarah B

July 26th, 2010
9:37 pm

Yes Sick & Tired I remember Scott Case well. To bad the rest of the team sucked.

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:41 pm

Scott Case could lay some wood, no kidding about that…….. Kernny was always my fav with the hits and he liked it….. The guy was a total motor from the snap until the play was called hitting anybody in his way……..No real cheap shoots just down and out hit em till ya hear the whistle………. Great guy too…………

Sarah B

July 26th, 2010
9:44 pm

Moose, you had to go and mention Kerney didn’t you… Most everyone here knows I had a major thing for him. Now that he’s retired I don’t know where to stalk him.

Moose

July 26th, 2010
9:49 pm

LOL…… I did not know that Sarah B However I will give you kudos for picking one of the best we have ever had……..