Countdown to Training Camp: DAY 7 — Safeties

Safety Thomas DeCoud "congradtulating" Saints quarterback Drew Brees on Monday Night Football on Nov. 2. The hit led to a Falcons touchdown.

Birdland – This is the fourth of 10 installments in the “COUNTDOWN TO TRAINING CAMP 2010.”

Each morning until Training Camp starts, we’ll take a quick look at a position group. before the players report for camp on Thursday, July

When will William Moore break into the starting lineup?

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29. They will hit the field for their first practice next Friday.

We’ve already looked at the defensive line, linebackers and cornerbacks.

The safeties are up today

THE REALLY BIG QUESTION: Will William Moore be able to battle his way into the lineup?

Thomas DeCoud had a breakthrough season at free safety last season and strong safety Erik Coleman was the team’s second leading tackler.

William Moore, who was selected in the second round of the 2009 draft, spent most of last season on injured reserve. The Falcons can’t wait to see if he can stay healthy and mount a challenge for the starting strong safety spot.

Before being beset with knee and hamstring injuries, Moore appeared headed for some major playing time last season.

The Falcons’ defensive coaches could decide to get creative against some teams and find a way  to get Moore on the field. One scheme would call for DeCoud to slide over to cornerback in a nickel alignment to play against big slot receivers (I’m thinking New Orlean’s Marques Colston).  Also, Coleman played some cornerback earlier in his career.

Given the Falcons depth at safety, they could tinker with a 2 cornerback-3 safety nickel package to get Moore on the field  instead of the more conventional 3 corner-2 safety alignment.

Behind the top three safeties, the Falcons also scooped up Matt Giordano and drafted Shann Schillinger in the sixth round of the draft.

But most of the attention in this position group will be on Moore.

FIVE GOALS FOR THE SAFETIES IN 2010

Falcons safety Erik Coleman getting an interception against New Orleans' Drew Brees during the 2008 season. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

Falcons safety Erik Coleman getting an interception against New Orleans' Drew Brees during the 2008 season. (CURTIS COMPTON/AJC)

  1. Be enforcers on the back end of the defense.
  2. Cover better against top tight ends.
  3. Provide protection for the cornerbacks over the top in zone coverages, especially Cover Two.
  4. Get everyone lined up properly and communicate the coverages and calls.
  5. Continue to play strong against the run.

Here’s a look at the safeties:

Thomas DeCoud: Started all 16 games last season and had 113 tackles (73 solo), seven passes defensed, one fumble recovery. His sack of New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees that caused a fumble that was returned for a touchdown was one of the top plays of last season.

Matt Giordano: A five-year veteran who’s played with Indianapolis and Green Bay.

Rafael Bush:  An undrafted rookie free agent from S.C. State.

Gabe Derricks: A four-year starter at San Diego.

Erik Coleman: The team’s second-leading tackler over the last two seasons.

Williams Moore: Coaches want to see what he can do after two injury-marred seasons. He was also hurt for much of his senior season at Missouri.

Shann Schillinger:  A sixth round pick from Montana. Will get a chance to show if he can contribute on special teams while he makes the jump from Montana.

Date, Practice Times (public availability)

Friday, July 30 — Practice 8:30 – 10:10 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (open to the public).

Saturday, July 31 — Practice 8:30 – 10:10 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:50 p.m. (open to the public).

Sunday, August 1 — Practice 9:35 – 10:30 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:55 p.m. (open to the public).

Monday, August 2 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Tuesday, August 3 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Wednesday, August 4 — Practice 1:30 – 3:40 p.m. (open to the public).

Thursday, August 5 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Friday, August 6 — Practice 10:15 – 11:55 a.m. (open to the public)

Falcons Allstate All-Access “Friday Night Lights”

Team Scrimmage at North Gwinnett High School – 7:30 p.m. (open to the public)

Saturday, August 7 — Mock Game at Flowery Branch – 12:00 p.m. (open to the public)

Sunday, August 8 — No Practice.

Monday, August 9 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH JACKSONVILLE.

Tuesday, August 10 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:50 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH JACKSONVILLE.

Wednesday, August 11 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Thursday, August 12 — Practice 8:50 – 10:55 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. (closed to the public).

Friday, August 13 — Preseason Week 1 vs. Kansas City 8 p.m.

Saturday, August 14 –No Practice.

Sunday, August 15 — Practice 9:30 – 11:35 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:25 p.m. (open to the public).

Monday, August 16 — Practice 8:30 – 10:40 a.m. (closed to the public); practice 3:45 – 4:40 p.m. (closed to the public).

Tuesday, August 17 — Practice 8:30 – 10:55 a.m. (open to the public); practice 3:45 – 5:35 p.m. (open to the public). COMBINED PRACTICES WITH NEW ENGLAND.

Wednesday, August 18 — Practice 10:15 – 11:35 a.m. (closed to public).

Thursday, August 19 — Preseason Week 2 vs. New England 8 p.m.

Friday, August 20 — No Practice.

Saturday, August 21 — 9:30 a.m. – 11:35 a.m. (closed to the public); 3:45 p.m. – 5:25 p.m. (closed to the public).

Sunday, August 22 — 9:35 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (closed to the public)

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105 comments Add your comment

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
7:21 am

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
7:24 am

Come on DOL, using a 2008 Saints/falcants photo? Don’t you have anythimg more recent?

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
7:26 am

FIRST, SECOND AND THIRD1

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Blue Fender

July 23rd, 2010
8:15 am

How many safeties did we carry last year on the roster?

Rod "Straight Outta Augusta" Johnson

July 23rd, 2010
8:19 am

I think our Safeties will definitely be a group to watch. However, I think people are really over looking SC State Safety Rafael Bush. Coach Smith has always been a advocate for toughness and speed. This guy is an absolute monster on the field. There is only 1 or 2 clips on this guy on youtube. I think a lot of scouts overlooked this school. I see “Bob Sanders” w/o the injuries written all over this guy.

CapBuster

July 23rd, 2010
8:30 am

DOL, I’m liking these position breakdowns right before camp. What impresses me so far is how deep we seem to be at several positions. Few jobs are “safe”. I can see us having a top 10 defense this season which will just make the offense better. Can’t wait to look at the offense next week!

The Real Falcon

July 23rd, 2010
8:38 am

No certain if a 3 safety set works against 3 wides with a slot. Slots as a rule are faster than safeties.

Hamp

July 23rd, 2010
8:39 am

I believe the falcons want moore to beat out coleman because he should be better in coverage but I know coleman is not gonna just give him the job. If moore can beat out coleman I say trade coleman and keep Decoud, Moore, Bush and Shannlinger (sp?). If we could get a third or fourth rounder that would be ideal.

Section242

July 23rd, 2010
8:43 am

If Moore can finally live up to his potential, he can give us the hard hitting SS that makes receivers thing about going over the middle. A DeCoud – Moore tandem would give us solid pair od safties for a long time.
Start the season!

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
8:52 am

Decoud on Colston, are you kidding DOL? No way, Decoud’s what 6 foot? (barely!) and less than 200 lbs? I’ve seen atlanta prom queens, in heels, bigger than that!

And it’s a big, big statement when you a safety is your second leading tackler….I wonder how often he was catching up to the receiver to make those tackles.

Paddy

July 23rd, 2010
9:06 am

Seen this B4… if you had to ask the question about DeCoud tackling from behind, you didn’t watch many Falcon games. Some guys just never get the memo!

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
9:12 am

Paddy….you’re correct, I didn’t watch many falcant games, just two, both of the falcant games against the current Champions.

BeefATL72

July 23rd, 2010
9:42 am

B4, DeCoud runs a 4.4 & has a 42″ vert & like 1% bodyfat. Do a youtube search on him & watch him doing MMA training… grapling, kickboxing, etc. He’s lightning fast, strong as he!!, & hits like a truck. And what’s great is, Moore is the same thing except 20 lbs bigger. DeCoud is going to the pro-bowl, mark it.

I guarantee you we see Moore & B. Williams (if he’s healthy enough) in the nickel spot a lot this year. I see Coleman starting, especially on running downs, & Moore rotating in after a couple games & gradually taking over.

Either way you slice it, we’ve got an insanely deep safety corps. I feel bad for Giordano & Bush, they might not even make the 53.

truth

July 23rd, 2010
9:45 am

Paddy….leave SeenThisB4 alone, we need an idiot on the board because of the fairness doctrine. :) Keep spewing your mindless post B4 you are living up to your true potential.

robertussen

July 23rd, 2010
9:51 am

decoud also had three interceptions. and two were in one game. and if memory servers me right it was the bears game.

truth

July 23rd, 2010
9:58 am

Dled, some good stuff given this week. The defense is shaping up into something special. I know our problem was pass defesne but it seems that things are going in the right direction for that problem to be fixed. Can anyone recall a time when the Falcons were so deep at every position?

robertussen

July 23rd, 2010
10:01 am

you dont trade coleman hamp. think about the depth. if we can get moore in the ss spot and decoud in the fs spot, the we can keep them fresh by alternating coleman at both safety positions. remember coleman played fs in 08. and hes one hell of a tackler.

Charles J.

July 23rd, 2010
10:01 am

Hamp, Ireally agree with you on your point and like the idea of Decould & Moore starting, instead Coleman. Coleman is playing out of possition and he’s not as good as T. Decould so there is no chance of moving back to his old spot.SeenThisB4 don’t you A-holes have your own blog go away FYI he’s 6′2 anyway. Rod Stright out of Augusta Johnson or R.J.for short spot on about Mr. Bush SC State has a great program their. GO FALCON

robertussen

July 23rd, 2010
10:14 am

i know i should have brought this up before when we were discussing the d line, but what about d lineman dan kleko (sp?)? this guy also plays fullback, has been a part of two superbowl winning teams when with new england, and we know how coach smith preaches versitility. why is he left out conversation when the 53 man roster comes up.

NOLA

July 23rd, 2010
10:16 am

D-led is there a reaon why you keep showing pics (positive, show the pics that cause them to loose, all those bone head plays they make) of the ‘cons against the Saints? I guess we are really in your heads.

Savor those pics because those are the only moments of joy you will experience. As usual you get your butts handed to you.

The game is sixty minutes not a few plays here and there.

Remember who your daddy is and show some respect.

Bow down ‘cons. as hard as you may try to surpass your daddy it ain’t gonna happen anytime soon.

Just take your beatings like a man and deal with it.

NOLA

July 23rd, 2010
10:17 am

truth

July 23rd, 2010
10:30 am

Man, fright brings out the stupid in aints fans.

Hamp

July 23rd, 2010
10:35 am

robertussen- Point taken if you think about it like that then bush to practice squad and dude from colts is the odd man out.

Charles J- I agree with you totally that sends coleman to the bench to back up decoud. Then we better hope shallinger (sp?) can back up Moore but then again robertussen your senario is a plus because coleman can backup both safties. Good thinking guys.

Hamp

July 23rd, 2010
10:38 am

The only reason the saints fans come to our blog is because they now understand that their short lived success is over and we will be beating the breaks off of them for years to come.

Saints fans your arrow points down, bucs fans your arrow points up and sorry to say it panthers fans but your arrow points sideways for now but I think you have protential.

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
10:41 am

Charles J, yeah he’s 6′2″, with 1″ cleats! Give me a break.

BeefATL: A 42″ vertical? That’s impressive, for a safety. I wonder if he can do that in the 4th quarter, when it counts? I guess I’ll have to wait and see.

Hamp

July 23rd, 2010
10:43 am

SeenIhisB4- please see coments above. Have a good weekend, Next friday begins y’all’s down fall. TGIF!

I.MUS WRITE

July 23rd, 2010
10:48 am

Rapheal Bush will make our team, forget where he played -I see big things from here. This year he will be a special teams demon . He reminds me of a bigger Bob Sanders always around the ball and tackles with authority. Bush and Harvey are two guys im really pulling for to make the team

sleeze

July 23rd, 2010
10:49 am

I’m guessing SeenThisB4 is one of those so-called Aints fan who came out of the woodwork after last season. We all know this because we’ve “see this before”.

Just sayin....

July 23rd, 2010
10:50 am

I love the way the saints fans are talking about our size of secondary when they don’t have a Corner over 6′0. wait a minute…. who will cover Tony G. or Michael Jenkins or Brian F. wow! all we have to do is throw it up and they can’t stop that! How have undersized Corners been able to stop Tall receivers all these years???? a mistery!!!!

Joe Tess Fish House

July 23rd, 2010
11:23 am

HEY DOL…..Any updates on if TO is coming here?

robertussen

July 23rd, 2010
11:28 am

hey joe my magic 8 ball reads “outlook not so good”

O G Falcon Fan

July 23rd, 2010
11:28 am

NOLA- Last year was the only thing u have to bragg about. It’s OVER! The Saits have wallard in obsucrity as much as the Falcons have. I think we can both be successful this year but we will overtake the Aints this year. Brees will get hurt. Who is your backup?

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
11:29 am

@Justsay: Since the Saints have won the last three match ups with the falcants, isn’t the burden on you to tell us how ur gonna stop the Saint offense? I mean, it’s a given the Saints can beat the falcants. What a MYSTERY!

O G Falcon Fan

July 23rd, 2010
11:30 am

PS u guys barely beat us last year. Yall also lost to Tampa Bay…

robertussen

July 23rd, 2010
11:34 am

i think brees will be fine. if he does get hurt they will just get him all hopped up on vicoden.

Joe Tess Fish House

July 23rd, 2010
11:37 am

Hey bub I was not taling to you!

Birdword

July 23rd, 2010
11:40 am

NOLA-” I guess we are really in your heads”
Nah. You’re on our boards so it’s really quite the opposite. Take for example, the poor guy who was so proud to be first this morning-he was probably “last” last night. To say this Falcons are on his mind would be a gross understatement.

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
11:40 am

O G Falcon Fan: How do you define “barely beat”? Lose by one, or lose by 21, you still lose.

Remember that game where you guys were down just by a few points, had the ball, 4th quarter with the clock starting to loom large, and you had a 4th and 2? And the falcants ran the ball up the Saints, and Vilma stopped your runner, a yard short of the first down indicator? Is that how you define “barely beat”, cause I say that was “stopped cold”.

Just sayin....

July 23rd, 2010
11:41 am

STB4… last year was the first year that the saints have proven they can beat anyone! They had an outstanding year and congrats on the SB. but now we lace them up and go again. how many teams repeat the SB the next year? few. how many teams repeat the South division? none. We will struggle to stop your pass and you will get run all over with our run game. plain and simple! now it comes down to turn overs!

robertussen

July 23rd, 2010
11:42 am

well hey bub to you too. not trying to be a jerk man, but d led has answered that question over and over and its always the same. no. but id love to see him in atl…………getting cut off and beat again by one of our dbs.

Just sayin....

July 23rd, 2010
12:00 pm

STB4…. and you said it was a given the saints can beat the falcons??? who leads the series? I think the burden is still on you my friend!

WAYNE P

July 23rd, 2010
12:21 pm

DLED – Grimes was tied 5th in the league for int. So he should be the starter! Both him and Decoud are gonna have good season…..trust me!

nes

July 23rd, 2010
12:30 pm

I believe that W. Moore is in a fight to make the team, he was basically injured for two years in a row and the deal is this: Safeties have to have closing speed and since Moore’s injuries are leg related, if he is not healthy or starts getting pulls and strains in his legs the falcons will have a very tough choice keeping him with all the talented safties vying for a job. Competition will be fierce and only makes them all better!

DawgDad

July 23rd, 2010
1:09 pm

Since we don’t know how healthy Moore is the voting is kind of speculative, huh? Off pure draft potential and from seeing him at Mizzou he figures to have more upside potential than Coleman, but who knows at this point?

Competition and true quality depth is a great thing. Coleman can play both safety spots; having three starter-ready players to man those two spots could only be viewed positively – keep fresh bodies on the field and don’t have a glaring hole if someone goes down. If they push each other to greater heights, fantastic, bring it on. From that perspective I see Moore getting playing time early and often, if he’s healthy. He’ll have plenty of incentive to get out there and lay some lumber on some receivers and ball carriers, and I’ve seen no reluctance on his part in the past. Coverage would seem be the question.

Ezcofalconfan

July 23rd, 2010
1:17 pm

Lol it’s funny how the aints fan wake up every morning an look at falcon blogs… Yall won last year ok but it’s a new year so unless yall do the same this year get over yall selves. We had our reasons for loosing an I can’t wait to hear the aints excuses after this year.

JMayne

July 23rd, 2010
1:36 pm

Not much of a preview. More filler than anything. Your better that that DOL. I would like to see the falcons experiment with the three saftey nickel combo you mentioned. Could probabaly pick the matchups you need when the offense lines up, and good blitzes come from the offenses facing something unfamiliar. Decoud should love this. Just put the laser on the qb and…go! Moore should be in the staring lineup early if he plays well. The falcons should have no returning starters on defense. The best 11 guys should get on the field. Including Beer-man, Spoon, and Moore.

JMayne

July 23rd, 2010
1:40 pm

How bout that? Name your 4 best D-lineman, 3 LB, and Secondary.

D-Line: Abraham, Jerry, Babineaux/Peters, Beer-man

LB: Spoon, Lofton, Peterson (best part of defense. Wire and Nicholas should kill the run coming off the bench)

DB: Daunta, Decoud, Moore, Owens (he’s the best. Grimes is at best a nickel. Jackson a dime. Franks should come on. Owens has the size and speed to become quite good opposite one of the best corners in the division.

WHOS YOUR STARTING 11 FALCONS FANS?

SeenThisB4

July 23rd, 2010
1:49 pm

Just Saying: It’s more than you stopping the Saints passing game, and us stopping the falcant run game. The Saints have a superior special teams to that of the falcants, they have a more aggressive coaching staff to that of the falcants, the Saints have a superior offensive line vs the falcants d-line, and the Saints have an elite and deep defensive secondary.

You guys were tied for 12th in run defense last year, not very impressive, in particular when there’s only 32 teams, not even in the top third. Not that the Saints have anything to brag about on run defense from last year.

And then there are the intangibles, the lucky bounces of the ball, the visual acuity of the refs, play selection of the coaches, and execution of the players; who knows about the two former ones, but we’ll win the latter two.

SWAT Native

July 23rd, 2010
1:57 pm

The reason so many ‘Aints fans stay on our blogs is because half of them are still living here. Remember, don’t bite the hand that feeds you…