The Atlanta Falcons haven’t had a top 10 defense since the last time they made the NFL playoffs in 2017. But veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell sounds convinced that’s going to change this fall.
Campbell sent a rather clear message in his first interview as a member of the Falcons, arguing that the defense will be much better and the team, as a whole, will be closer to its competition in 2023.
“This team is going to be a very competitive, tough team,” Campbell told the media. “Based off of our conversations I feel like this defense can be a force and if we have a stout defense, with the offense being able to score points and the run game controlling the clock, I think this can be a very strong team.”
Campbell originally visited the Falcons during the third full week of March. He signed a one-year deal to join the team on March 31.
The veteran defensive end will be 37 years old before Week 1, but he remains a strong defender. Last season, he had 5.5 sacks with 14 quarterback hits and 2 forced fumbles.
In 2023, he will aim to bring that strength to turn around Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons haven’t finished better than 26th in yards allowed during two years under Arthur Smith.
“Just being a veteran leader, going out there giving everything I got, and being a force on the defensive line,” Campbell said. “Arthur Smith said he wanted a violent d-line, and I can bring a lot of violence that’s for sure.”
The Falcons are still looking for long-term solutions on the defensive line to pair with Pro Bowler Grady Jarrett. But Campbell should be a bridge to that solution.
He also brings an attitude that has been missed on the Falcons defense for years.