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Super Bowl LI: Young Falcons defenders excited to face Patriots QB Tom Brady

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The Falcons defenders promise they won’t be starstruck.

The Atlanta Falcons defense might be playing out of depth in the Super Bowl. After a season that ranked in the bottom of the league in performance and production, the Falcons are about to face the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL in New England Patriots QB Tom Brady- and the Falcons are excited about the challenge.

“It should definitely be fun,” Falcons rookie LB Deion Jones said. “These are things kids dream about, being in the Super Bowl and especially playing against Brady. It’s going to be fun. Being the competitor that I am and the competitor that he is, I can’t wait for this match-up.”

Jones isn’t the only young Falcons defender to express a degree of interest in facing Brady. There are four rookies playing heavy snaps in the Atlanta defense, and an additional three players in their second season in the league. Brady and the Patriots boast a 7-0 record when they play a defense with two or more rookie starters, so the Falcons are on notice.

“I think I might have been eight or nine when he [Brady] won his first Super Bowl,” Falcons rookie LB De’Vondre Campbell said. “He’s been doing it at such a high level for such a long time. Having the opportunity to go out and compete against him- I’m just really looking forward to it.”

“I’m blessed,” Falcons sophomore EDGE Vic Beasley agreed. “I’m blessed to be on the same field, be in this position and be on the same field as Tom Brady. He’s a Hall of Fame quarterback and he’s going to bring it this game and I know he’s brought it his whole career. He’s a great competitor so it should be a fun game.”

“It’s crazy,” Jones added. “It’s a dream come true. Even to be on the field with a guy like that, one of the best quarterbacks of our time. I can’t wait for the match-up. Especially on this stage. It should be great.”

The young Falcons defenders assert that they’re not going to let the moment get to them and that they’re prepared to face Brady and the Patriots offense.

“I don’t want to say I’m in awe,” Campbell said. “I don’t try to make the situation bigger than what it is. It’s just another game. He’s a great player. They have a great team, a great organization and they’ve earned the respect. They’ve been doing it for so long. They’ve earned the respect. They’ve earned that right to be in the position that they’re in.”

“Tom Brady is a great quarterback, but as far as emotions go, just trying to treat it as any other game,” Falcons sophomore CB Jalen Collins said. “He is somebody that I'm playing against, not somebody that I'm watching on TV as a fan.”

Brady has played in more NFL games than these seven young players combined and he’s playing in his seventh Super Bowl. The Patriots defensive game plan will try to manipulate the young Falcons defenders and pull them out of position so the Patriots can make plays down the field.

“The biggest thing with him is his intelligence and experience,” Falcons rookie S Keanu Neal said. “He’s a very smart quarterback and he knows how to exploit defenses.

“We just have to do our job and play our game and we’ll be fine.”