Ex-Falcon Smith: Anderson ready for leap

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

At least there's someone in Atlanta, beyond the inner circle of the Falcons, who is not ready to give up on defensive end Jamaal Anderson.

Daniel Cox reports former Atlanta defensive end Chuck Smith believes Anderson is ready to have an impact after two disappointing seasons.

"I expect Jamaal to have a huge jump this year," Smith said.

Although a lot of fans believe the Falcons need to move on from Anderson, Smith doesn't. Smith said the third season often is when a defensive end fully evolves.

Sure, that's just Smith's opinion. But I covered him during his brief stay with the Carolina Panthers and have dealt with him since his career ended and the guy is one of the more cerebral players I've been around. Smith was a solid defensive end before his knees betrayed him.

He's remained a student of the game and runs Defensive Line, Inc., where he works with college and pro defensive linemen to improve their skills. I respect Smith's opinion's very much.

"The key to this year's team ... on the defensive side of the ball, it's got to be the development of Jamaal," Smith said. "The guy still has huge upside."