Trufant did not record an interception in 2018, partially due to opposing passers electing to target the Falcons' lesser-polished defensive backs. The 28-year-old ranked as the team's best cover man this season according to Pro Football Focus, grading as the No. 35 player at his position while no other Atlanta cornerback ranked inside the top 80. Trufant was a key reason for the Falcons' improvement against the pass during the latter half of the season, as Atlanta held opposing quarterbacks to fewer than 250 yards passing in six of the final eight games of the year, compared to one such performance between Weeks 1 and 9.
Trufant (ankle) does not have an injury designation for Sunday's game against the Panthers, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Trufant has been upgraded in practice each day after being held out to begin the week, and he was a full participant during Friday's session. The starting cornerback has not yet missed a game this season, and he'll look to keep his streak alive Week 16 against Panthers interim quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
Trufant (ankle) was limited for Thursday's practice after being unable to participate Wednesday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Riding a streak of 14 consecutive starts, Trufant's return to practice Thursday bodes well for his chances of suiting up Sunday. In spite of a lack of forced turnovers from the defense (11 interceptions rank 12th worst), Trufant and the secondary have been coming on over the latter half of the regular season, refusing to allowing a single passer to eclipse 220 yards against them in six straight games (352 passing YPG against in six outings prior). Trufant picked up his first sack in over a year when Atlanta fell to the Packers in Week 14, but he remains in search of his first pick of the season. He'll have an opportunity to hunt down the inaugural interception of 2018 facing Panthers backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who will be making his first start since his senior year at Old Dominion in 2014.
Trufant recorded five tackles (four solo), including a sack, in Sunday's loss to the Packers.
Trufant's sack came on a well-designed blitz in which he was able to go unblocked after Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The five tackles give Trufant 54 on the season, the most he's recorded since 2014. Looking ahead, Trufant and the Falcons will take on the Cardinals in Week 15.
Trufant (dehydration) returned to Thursday's game with an IV bandage on his arm, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
The IV indicates that Trufant was likely dealing with cramps when he was forced to exit the game. If the veteran corner is forced to miss any more time, Brian Poole should see additional work at cornerback.
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