Atlanta Falcons' defensive tackle Vance Walker has flourished this season with increased playing time, writes Orlando D. Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Prior to this season, Walker started just two games for the Falcons during his first three seasons in the league. In 2012, Walker started eight games and rewarded the team's decision by registering 32 tackles, three sacks and a forced fumble.
Although there are still games in which Walker doesn't participate in the majority of the team's plays, head coach Mike Smith finds his production vital to the defense's success:
"He's done a very nice job for us in the rotation. I think he's probably been our most productive defensive tackle in terms of pass rush this year statistically. He's a very good anchor point. He has a very good understanding of what we are trying to do and he understands his role in the rotation."
As for Walker, a fourth-year pro out of Georgia Tech, he recognizes his improvement on the field, but won't allow himself to become complacent:
"I'm not content with anything. But at the same time I want to be better than what I was last year and at the end of the day, I want to help the team win a championship and win that ring."
Walker and the Falcons have the weekend off as a reward for finishing with the NFC's best record. They'll face the conference's lowest-remaining seed from this weekend's games on Sunday, Jan. 13 at the Georgia Dome.