Defensive coordinator Richard Smith pleased with progress of Atlanta Falcons’ defense

Keanu Neal with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Atlanta Falcons as the number seventeen overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft. The Falcons stressed getting faster and added three speedy defenders in the draft in safety Keanu Neal, linebacker Deion Jones and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. (Reuters)

FLOWERY BRANCH (TNS) — One of the takeaways from last season for the Atlanta Falcons was that the defense improved immensely under veteran defensive coordinator Richard Smith.

The Falcons went from the bottom of the NFL in nearly every meaningful category to respectability. The unit, which is aiming to get faster in 2016, finished last season ranked 16th in the league in yards allowed (347.6 yard per game. They also were 14th in points allowed (21.6 per game). In 2014, they were 32nd and 27th respectively.

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