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No nerves as Falcons’ Duke Riley prepares for debut

Falcons rookie linebacker Duke Riley will start at weakside linebacker in the team’s base defense in the season opener against the Chicago Bears at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Riley doesn't plan to be nervous, either.

but that means you’re ready, Riley said. "I’m not nervous about playing football. I’ve been playing every day of my life. I’m pretty sure there will be butterflies before every game. If there’s not,"Butterflies are like a common effect, something’s wrong."

The Falcons have made a concerted effort to better cover running backs and tight ends in the pass defense. The speedy Riley is taking over for De'Vondre Campbell, who started at weakside linebacker last season.

Campbell was moved to strongside linebacker and also will play in the nickel in a rotation with Deion Jones and Riley.

" Riley said. "Focus on controlling what I can control,"I’m just going to take it like I take every day, and then just move forward."

Veteran LaRoy Reynolds started the first two exhibition games at weakside linebacker. After he suffered a torn pectoral muscle and was placed on injured reserve, Riley's path to the starting lineup was clear.

“Duke is somebody who has impressed us right from the beginning,” Quinn said. "He’s going to play a lot. He’s going to start at (weakside) linebacker in the base package. He’s going to be active in the nickel package as well.”

The Falcon started three rookies on defense last season in Jones, Campbell and strong safety Keanu Neal.

In addition to Riley, first-round pick Takkarist McKinley also will play right defensive end some in the team's nickel defense.

Quinn credited his staff with getting the young players ready to play.

you have to have belief in them,womens Jalen Collins Jersey,"Quinn said. "It was going to be earned,“One,Authentic Kamalei Correa Jersey, not given. So the reps had to be earned and they have to go through the trial of OTAs, then the next test at training camp and then the preseason games. It had to be earned.”

Riley had some help getting ready from Jones,womens Bronson Kaufusi Jersey, his old LSU teammate.

" Jones said of his advice for Riley. "Don’t rush and capitalize on everything you can. For instance,womens Maxx Williams Jersey, recovery,"Just take it one day at a time,study, take your time and enjoy the season because it’s going to be a long one."

The Falcons’ linebackers will have a tough assignment against the Bears' run-oriented attack that features running back Jordan Howard. He runs behind the interior line of guards Kyle Long (three Pro Bowls) and Josh Sitton (three Pro Bowls) and center Cody Whitehair (NFL All-Rookie team last year).Authentic Maxx Williams Jersey,

a real aggressive team," Jones said. "They do a real good job up front of creating creases for the running back, and you just have to lock into our game plan and stay with our fits and play fast and physical,"They’re a really good run team, and he hits it hard. He’s a big, physical guy and we’ve just got to get him on the ground."

Riley believes he's ready for his first NFL start.

it’s a faster practice and pace," Riley said. "There’s so much in tendencies and learning their positions and the plays that can be run out of positions,"The practice style here, stuff that I didn’t learn in college and high school."

In addition to Jones, Campbell and free safety Ricardo Allen have been helping Riley.

"That’s one of the main things we do around here,"womens Breshad Perriman Jersey,Riley said.

the defense will receive a boost from the return of cornerback Desmond Trufant, who missed the final 10 games,In addition to Riley, including the Super Bowl, with a torn pectoral muscle.

He’s set to return to his left cornerback spot.

get back to doing what I love,” Trufant said. “Can’t wait,Authentic Jalen Collins Jersey,womens Ronnie Stanley Jersey,"It’s definitely exciting just to get back out there, and it will be a big week for us.”

Trufant tried to help out where he could after the injury. He turned into an extra secondary coach for Robert Alford and the rest of the cornerbacks.'Authentic Breshad Perriman Jersey,

"Obviously,womens Kamalei Correa Jersey,' Trufant said. “That’s what you work for,Authentic Bronson Kaufusi Jersey, you want to be out there, to go out there and play,what you put the work in for every day, I moved past it,but it wasn’t my time at that time. So, and I’m looking forward to this year."

Allen believes the defense will be much-improved. Authentic Carl Davis Jersey, ,With the additions of Riley, McKinley, free-agent defensive tackle Dontari Poe and the return of Trufant

I think we have a pretty good chance of making it pretty far this year.,“I’m not giving any predictions that we will make it back to the Super Bowl this year,Authentic Ronnie Stanley Jersey,” the way that it has pushed itself," Allen said. "I’m just saying that the way that this team has developed, we are a better team than we were last year. If we made to the Super Bowl last year

"I’m not saying that we might make it to the Super Bowl.womens Carl Davis Jersey, I’ve got to clear that up."

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