The Falcons’ secondary will be at full strength for its showdown with quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
The Falcons (7-5) trail the Saints (9-3) in the NFC South with four games to play ahead of Thursday’s game at 8:25 p.m. at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Starting left cornerback Desmond Trufant (concussion) and nickel back Brian Poole (back) are officially listed as probable for the game. Both went down two games ago against the Buccaneers and missed the 14-9 loss to the Vikings on Sunday.
The Falcons can move Ricardo Allen back to free safety full-time and move him to the slot for Poole. C.J. Goodwin took over for Trufant against the Bucs, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson started for the former Pro Bowler against the Vikings.
Trufant looks forward to a return to the lineup.
“Of course, you want to be out there,” Trufant said. “But it just wasn’t my week that week. I have a good opportunity this week to get back on track.”
Trufant was hit by teammate Keanu Neal when they collided while combining on a tackle. Trufant said he felt pain from head to foot following the hit.
No hard feelings.
“It’s all good,” Trufant said. “I need to talk to him, but it’s all good.”
Poole is ready to return, too.
“Man it was tough. I haven’t really missed a game in my whole football career from all the way back to little league,” Poole said. “That was kind of tough.”
The Falcons are going to need Trufant and Poole. The Saints pass for 266 yards per game, which ranks third in the NFL. The Falcons give up 207.8 yards per game, which ranks seventh in the league.
“You definitely have to make them one-dimensional,” Trufant said. “We just have to limit their explosive plays. They’ve had a lot of explosive plays this year. We just have to bring it. It’s going to be a good one.”
Trufant, who’s in his fifth season in the NFL, has seen plenty of Brees.
“He definitely has a quick release,” Trufant said. “He can look you off and move the defense around. He believes in his receivers. He’s going to throw it up there and give them a chance to make a play.”
When the Falcons go man-to-man, Trufant is expected to cover Saints top receiver Mike Thomas, who has 75 catches for 875 yards and three touchdowns this season.
“He’s doing really good,” Trufant said. “They are throwing the ball to him a lot. They do a lot of screens and they like to take deep shots as well to open you up.
“They do a little bit of everything. So we have to be prepared and try to limit the big plays. That’s what really gets them going. We just have to stop that, and I think we’ll be all right.”