When is Dunta Robinson going to return to practice?

It might be wise to go ahead a pencil in Brent Grimes as the starting left cornerback. Here, he tumbles after breaking up a pass intended for Jacksonville's Mike Thomas. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

It might be wise to go ahead and pencil in Brent Grimes as the starting left cornerback. Here, he tumbles after breaking up a pass intended for Jacksonville's Mike Thomas. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

FLOWERY BRANCH – The two major pillars of the Falcons “secondary improvement plan” have not spent a great deal of time together on the practice fields.

The battle to improve the NFL’s 28th ranked pass defense has gotten off to a slow start in training camp.

Secondary coach Tim Lewis has been working hard in the heat, while cornerback Dunta Robinson is taking care of

CB Dunta Robinson, the Falcons major offseason pickup, will likely not play in the exhibition opener. Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com

CB Dunta Robinson, the Falcons major offseason pickup, will likely not play in the exhibition opener. Curtis Compton/CCompton@ajc.com

his tight hamstring.

Robinson usually goes through a workout with a member of the training staff. Then he works the sidelines during the drills. He’s usually trying to help the young cornerbacks. On Tuesday, he went over to play “peace-maker” in the Roddy White and Rashean Mathis squabble.

On Wednesday, he chatted up second-year cornerback Christopher Owens after he got chewed out by an assistant coach.

Coach Mike Smith has explained that the team is being extremely cautious with Robinson’s hamstring. However, the Falcons likely still need some training camp time to get him fully integrated into the defense. They also have to find out who the other starting cornerback is going to be in Pittsburgh come Sept. 12.

Robinson is a natural right cornerback and played “match” corner last season with the Houston

Texans, where he just matched up with the opponent’s top receiver.

The Falcons problem is that Brent Grimes‘ best spot is on the right side.

Arguably, their two best corners play the same side. (I know you all have heard the little joke about buying some new shoes and ending up with two right shoes?)

Owens finished last season as the starting left corner. Brian Williams, who opened the season as the starting left cornerback, is battling back from major knee surgery.

Grimes played on the left some last season, but that didn’t work out so well. Owens is also learning the nickel, where Chevis Jackson has played most of the last two seasons.

“We are really trying to find a good spot for him where he’s comfortable and where he’s effective,” Lewis said of Grimes. “That’s what the training camp is really for.”

100801 Flowery Branch - GRIMES INTERCEPTION - Atlanta Falcons cornerback (20) Brent Grimes back peddles coming up with an interception on a pass intended for wide receiver (80) Kerry Meier during the 3rd day of training camp in Flowery Branch, Sunday, August 1, 2010.   Curtis Compton  ccompton@ajc.com

100801 Flowery Branch - GRIMES INTERCEPTION - Atlanta Falcons cornerback (20) Brent Grimes back peddles coming up with an interception on a pass intended for wide receiver (80) Kerry Meier during the 3rd day of training camp in Flowery Branch, Sunday, August 1, 2010. Curtis Compton ccompton@ajc.com

Robinson tried the left side during the offseason workouts. He concluded that he liked the right side much better and requested a move back to the right side.

Robinson looks fine when running with the trainers. So, it’s likely just a matter of time before he returns to practice.

“I coach him pretty hard over there on the sidelines,” Lewis said.

But in order to sync up the coverages, the Falcons will need Robinson on the field with the rest of the secondary at some point in training camp.

“From an ‘out there’ standpoint, cornerback play is a funny thing,” Lewis said. “It’s like (offensive) line play where rhythm, timing and balance (is important.) The good ones can cover. They just need time to get their rhythm, timing, balance and footwork, where they can plant and drive. That timing, where they have the sense that the guy is coming up on me, open my hips.

“The angles; OK, the guy ran an out route, I have to break at this angle. It’s all about rhythm, timing and angles. The good ones don’t lose that.”

At six-years and $57 million, the Falcons clearly think Robinson is one of the “good ones.”

The Falcons believe they’ve seen enough of Robinson that it won’t take much time for their coverages to become tight.

“Cohesiveness, I think that’s already there,” Lewis said. “I can tell you that because of what goes on in our meeting room. They are a tight group. They spend time together off the field and they spend time together here. We have a very close knit group.”

Robinson will probably rest that hamstring another week or so and get ready for some action in all-important third exhibition game. In the mean time, Grimes, who led the team in interceptions last season, needs to start getting comfortable on the left side.

TRAINING CAMP PRACTICE SCHEDULE

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).

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103 comments Add your comment

rekingball

August 12th, 2010
7:15 am

rekingball

August 12th, 2010
7:16 am

Please scroll past the trolls.

sleeze

August 12th, 2010
7:28 am

In the long run, I think Owens is who the Falcons expect to start alongside Dunta.

TLH678

August 12th, 2010
7:36 am

Dunta will be good-to-go after another week or so. On another note, D-led any word on William Moore? Is he back practicing yet? Rise up!

Sly Ty

August 12th, 2010
7:54 am

It is only preseason, DuRob will be alright. Chris Owens will start opposite him in Pittsburgh. Falcons will look good against KC tommorrow night, then we all can see how poorly Glenn Dorsey has turned out. Geeeezzz I can’t believe I wanted him drafted over Matty Ice. What was I thinking.LOL

Maryland Falcon

August 12th, 2010
7:59 am

Man, I’m ready for the Falcons to kick some a$$. I’m just hyped!

isproab

August 12th, 2010
7:59 am

No need to rush Robinson back. The 3rd preseason game sounds like a really cautious approach with him which is what the Falcons should be doing. He is a vet and knows what he is doing. I understand he needs time to gel with the other guys but 2 preseason games and another week of practice leading up to opening day seems like plenty.

The G

August 12th, 2010
8:01 am

Sly Ty, ditto on the Glenn Dorsey thing. I too was wrong!

smooth

August 12th, 2010
8:09 am

I think Dunta should move to the other side because he can play it but just prefer the right and Grimes can only play that side.

ToccoaBird

August 12th, 2010
8:10 am

will we just see the starters for 2 series or will they actually play enough to work up a sweat?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor and ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: When is Dunta Robinson going to return to practice? http://bit.ly/bcnHPt [...]

Paddy

August 12th, 2010
8:18 am

smooth….Dunta will do what is best for the team, I believe. But with that contract, he will play where he wants to when all is said and done. Grimes needs to learn the other side not Dunta!

ET

August 12th, 2010
8:19 am

OK, am I the only one who hasn’t heard the joke about the 2 right shoes? It sure seems like we only have one good corner back on the team this year and he is hurt. That doesn’t bode well for the pass defense.

waynester

August 12th, 2010
8:20 am

Dorsey hasn’t lived up to his draft status but KC’s been playing him out of position from the get-go. I certainly don’t second-guess our selection of Ryan as you have to build your team around your QB and we’ve got ourselves a good one, however, I believe Dorsey would have done much better under VanGorder than he has under the Chief’s 3-4.
I wasn’t aware that Dunta had asked Lewis to move him to the Right side. I was really hoping that Grimes would step up and take over on the RCB, leaving DRob to blanket the Left(since Grimes didn’t cut it over there). REALLY hoping that Williams heals completely and gets back to fighting form since Owens hasn’t made the jump to be consistent as Smitty and Lewis have been preaching.
Looking forward to seeing these guys (especially the youngsters) tomorrow night!

falconfan1990

August 12th, 2010
8:25 am

Grimes will start week one left side Dunta rightside.
Grimes is clearly the best corner out there besides Dunta.
people forget Grimes had many pass brakeups and 6 picks and he did not start the intire season what will happen if he gets 16 games

SeenThisB4

August 12th, 2010
8:29 am

Grimes and Robinson are both so slow. Betty White and Cloris Leachman would be a better cornerback tandem than these two.

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

Falcon 8211

August 12th, 2010
8:30 am

I think the starters are BWilliams and DRob. when all this corner stuff plays out.

Ted Striker

August 12th, 2010
8:35 am

Nice write-up, D-Led. I agree that moving Grimes back to the left is best, at least for now. As a rule, you put your strength at maximum (Robinson on right) versus at your strength at minimum (Robinson on left). It’s early, the guy hasn’t played pre-season, it makes most sense for now.

Jeff

August 12th, 2010
8:41 am

I still don’t like Grimes as a CB. Use him in the Nickel and Dime packages if he has to play at all.

robdawg08

August 12th, 2010
8:45 am

It doesn’t make a big difference whether you are a right of left DB. Receivers are going to run straight up the field,left or right. That’s like saying Grimes walks on the right side of the road better than he does the left side…

gdg73

August 12th, 2010
8:45 am

falconfan1990,

Grimes struggled early on last season playing the left side. He play started improving once he was switched to RCB. I say let Owens start and put Grimes in at nickel.

Grady Jackson *Barber Shop*

August 12th, 2010
8:45 am

.
————————–
Nesbitt for Heisman
————————–
.

robdawg08

August 12th, 2010
8:48 am

Either you can cover receivers or you can’t. Grimes can’t whether he plays left or right DB…

rekingball

August 12th, 2010
8:48 am

Please don’t feed the trolls.

SeenThisB4

August 12th, 2010
9:05 am

Hey rekingball, they actually listened to you. That’s fairly impressive. Just like a shepherd and his flock of lambs. Good job!

GEAUX SAINTS! OUR TIME!!

Paddy

August 12th, 2010
9:14 am

rekingball…we all heard your message yesterday and today, we are leaving the little girl alone.

GMAN

August 12th, 2010
9:18 am

if you ask me a 50mill corner better be able to play any side, and if he knows that grimes will shut down the right, why would he be asking the coach to switch him. just sounds to me like he doesnt want grimes to show him and that 50mill contract off. like i said before GRIMES will shut down the right side. left corner is what we need. so DUNTA. shut up and take your money to the left side of the feild where we need you to be. DUNTA LCB. GRMES RCB, OWENS NICK. DECOUD FS., MOORE SS. thats a bowl bound secondary

grimesSuks

August 12th, 2010
9:18 am

my dog could cover better than grimes….it needs to be williams on the left and robinson on the right with jackson and owens in the nickel and dime packages and lets send grimes packing

wayne

August 12th, 2010
9:20 am

how do the players run around with thier shorts sagging below thier butts. i dont care less about the style of it, but practically it looks like it would be distracting. hell what do i know.

PreyDawg

August 12th, 2010
9:26 am

Yeah, D-Led, somebody above asked the question I would love to hear more about, William Moore. I have such high hopes for this young man. I hate to see him keep getting hurt. Have you heard anything on his return? I know coach said he is getting tired of talking about injuries though.

PreyDawg

August 12th, 2010
9:27 am

By the way. Great info again today. Keep it coming. Appreciate your work.

robertussen

August 12th, 2010
9:27 am

i think grimes will win the spot and williams will replace jackson as the nickle cb. if grimes struggles then look for owens to take over.

Joe Tess Fish House

August 12th, 2010
9:28 am

Great…..Just great. I said this last week….A wasted free agent sighing. Money that could have beter spend on TO.

I told you so….I TOLD YOU SO!!

layinlow

August 12th, 2010
9:34 am

Enter your comments here

Scott Case

August 12th, 2010
9:42 am

This really stinks. If Dunta can’t play, we’re in big trouble

Mike Jay

August 12th, 2010
9:45 am

Intersting about the right vs left side. What gives with that? Is it that they can turn their hips and adjust better one way over the other? Any input into his DOL?

Mike is back

August 12th, 2010
9:49 am

Dled, although I don’t post much…I enjoy reading your blogs. I have to admit…I’m a little nervous about the prospect of having to start Grimes at the start of the season. I love the kid Grimes, However he just doesn’t have the size to be your everyday starting corner. They were eat’em alive last season. Today’s receivers are so much bigger and physical…you need corners with some size. Grimes is a heady player…but I see him as a great nickel guy.

I Hope that, both Robinson and Williams will be ready to go by the start of the season. Williams played some pretty stout corner for us last season…if he is not ready to go…I would probably like to see Owens given a shot on the left side…he has a little more size.

I heard some buzz about Franks…is there any chance he could get a shot…if neither Robinson nor Williams can go.

blord

August 12th, 2010
9:54 am

No need to panic on Robinson. He is a vet who has shown he can cover while playing to his strengths. In the NFL were contracts are incentive heavy the vets like Robinson often have little nagging injuries that keep them from practicing on the field during training camp. Wonder Why? (Sarcasm) No need to worry yet. The only guy I am concerned with right now is Moore.

Good write up with a different take on the position battles pointing out the preferred sides of each corner. Kudos and keep them coming.

Mike Jay

August 12th, 2010
9:59 am

Other Mike,

Word on the street is that Franks is exceeding expectations and depending how he does in ‘live’ games could sneak into a starting role.

robdawg08

August 12th, 2010
10:00 am

Hamstrings occur from not stretching and loosening them before exercise. Blame the conditioning coach…

Karl

August 12th, 2010
10:05 am

Chris Owens will be the other starter – he looked really good late in the season last year

Mike Jay

August 12th, 2010
10:15 am

Hamstrings can also occur from being dehydrated, doing too much to soon, a direct blow ot the muscle, muscle fatigue that leads to over exertion, and having even a very slight leg length difference.

My guess he over did early on trying to make a good impression and that the coaches are being overly cauitous. If there was a real game to be played he would be in there.

Rev Blake

August 12th, 2010
10:15 am

I’m of the opinion that Robinson should follow each opponents’ best receiver no matter where they line up. Is there any word on whether the coaches are considering this option, Mr. Ledbetter? Williams, who was very solid before his injury, may not be 100% this season. I love Grimes’ athletecism, but he scares me against those tall receivers in red zone situations.

Southside Falcon

August 12th, 2010
10:16 am

I’m learning more and more to trust this coaching staff and I like how they manage their players. Seems like we have a really close group of guys and I think that goes a long way in helping us improve as a team. Corner has been the subject of our conversations for a long time b/c it’s been what…15 years since we had a legit (2 legit to quit rather) cover corner? Don’t rush DRob back….let’s give the other guys the reps and see who wins that second spot. I’m pulling for anyone that can get the job done. Secondly…I’m highly impressed with DeCoud…not many people are giving TD credit for him.

SeenThisB4

August 12th, 2010
10:22 am

So when is the madden jinx going to happen to the saints this yr. I think is already has. Bad owner and stinky city. Saints have not chance. WHO AM I KIDDING.

DHunt

August 12th, 2010
10:23 am

Our pass coverage problems last year were a lot more about pressure on the QB than poor CB play. they were also a lot more about overall bad zone coverage play than simply about bad CB play. The CB’s stepped up at the end of the year even though the pass rush was still anemic. I think that bodes very well for this season, especially if we can get that D-line to play up to it’s potential, and VanGorder let’s the LB’s loose a bit more. I’m more concerned about Safety than CB. We seemed to let a lot of receivers get over the top on us and that is a safety issue, especially in the zone type defense.we ran most of the time.

And let’s get off Grimes. Leading the team in picks should get you a little slack from the fans. And do you realize that he is only an inch shorter than Darrelle Revis? He’s not missing making plays by one inch.

Too much doom and gloom for this early in the season. I’m just ready for some FOOTBALL! Rise Up!

33TheBurner33

August 12th, 2010
10:27 am

SeenThisB4, HiramSaint, JoeTessFishHouse……Fat virgins who still live with their mothers

I'm Gumby, Dammit!!

August 12th, 2010
10:27 am

Joe Mess, you have got to be the dumbest person on the planet. Even if you don’t like the Robinson pickup, there’s no way signing Alligator Arms would have been a good idea. He drops more balls than he catches, all the while whining like your little sister.

Rocky Top Tea Bagger

August 12th, 2010
10:28 am

I never watch pre-season football. But this year…

SeenThisB4

August 12th, 2010
10:29 am

I’s bees still strockings the sausages. Saint stink. I knows its. WEs all knows its.