Grimes, Owens will be tested by Randy Moss, Wes Welker

Will New England's Randy Moss salute the Falcons at Flowery Branch today? (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Will New England's Randy Moss salute the Falcons at Flowery Branch today? (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

FLOWERY BRANCH – There will be plenty of interesting matchups in the two practices against the New England Patriots on Tuesday.

The most intriguing will be how cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Christopher Owens hold up in man-to-man coverage against New England receivers Randy Moss and Wes Welker.

With Dunta Robinson, the Falcons No. 1 cornerback out with a hamstring injury, Grimes will likely line up across from Moss. Owens may get a shot, too.

In New England’s 26-10 victory over the Falcons last season, Moss caught 10 passes for 116 yards.

The issue for the Falcons during this training camp was to improve the pass defense. With Robinson out, Grimes and Owens have been getting most of the snaps with the first unit.

It will be interesting to see if the extra work has led to some major improvements in their coverage skills. For Grimes,

Cornerback Brian Williams kept a Randy Moss TD off the board here in last season's game. (Winslow Townson/AP).

Cornerback Brian Williams kept a Randy Moss TD off the board here in last season's game. (Winslow Townson/AP).

consistency appears to be his main issue, while Owens, a second year player who could end up being the nickel back, is still learning on the job.

“Hopefully we are going to have a very spirited practice with those guys,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “We are going to work probably five real good situations.”

There will be a blitz period.

“So we’re going to get an opportunity to work on our pressure package and we’ll also work on our move-the-ball situation for our young players,” Smith said. “The afternoon practice we’ll probably focus more on our younger players than our older players.”

The Patriots also have several players who should be familiar to the fans attending the open practices.

Rookie defensive end Jermaine Cunningham played at Florida and is from Stephenson High. However, he was not seen at practice on Monday, according to the Monique Walker of the Boston Globe.

Alge Crumpler is now with the Patriots. (Associated Press)

Alge Crumpler is now with the Patriots. (Associated Press)

Former Falcon Alge Crumpler is now with the Patriots. He started 93 of 108 games for the Falcons from 2001 to 2007 and made four trips to the Pro Bowl. He was a part of the new regime’s veteran purge.

Crumpler started 29 games for Tennessee over the last two seasons before landing in New England.

Linebacker Gary Guyton and defensive tackle Darryl Richard, both played at Georgia Tech.

“We will not be in shells or full pads,” Smith said. “We will have a little bit of a different structure from the combined practices with Jacksonville. There will be two practice fields going for most periods of the day.”

TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE

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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36 comments Add your comment

Jim

August 17th, 2010
7:09 am

Unfortunately this game is gonna be nasty IMO.

BKJ

August 17th, 2010
7:15 am

Looking forward to Thursday’s game. I think it will be a good test of our defensive backfield.

Meatlake

August 17th, 2010
7:21 am

Oughta be a good test against a good team. Go Falcooons!

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ajc sports editor, sandtonyo wells and ATLHOMER, D. Orlando Ledbetter. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Grimes, Owens will be tested by Randy Moss, Wes Welker http://bit.ly/99regx [...]

[...] Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution previews the joint practices today between the Atlanta Falcons and New England [...]

alanfalcon

August 17th, 2010
7:43 am

Now is the time to see if the new DB coach has been able to impart a better scheme and to see if last years DB’s have learned from the expierence-a good test.

GO FALCONS, GO SOUTHERN RUSH !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Larry

August 17th, 2010
7:48 am

I must say after watching the game from my front row seats last Friday night we must have the shortest group of DB’s in the history of the game. Even my wife pointed out how our defensive backfield looked like high schoolers in size comparison to the Chiefs receivers.

And yes, before anyone replies that “size doesn’t matter,” my only point is this size differential was most apparent and we will, I believe, continue to struggle against teams with taller, more physical wide receivers like a Randy Moss or the Saints’ receivers. It’s just harder to cover a 6′5″ fast, physical receiver with a 5′9″ man without some form of contact.

I see many, many pass interference penalties coming our way!

Larry

August 17th, 2010
7:56 am

…and if one doesn’t think a 7-8″ height advantage doesn’t matter much then try tossing up a jump ball between a 7 foot center and a 6′4″ guard! I’ll take the 7 footer to get the ball 9 out of 10 times.

Now think of a lob in the coner of the end zone…

Antisaint

August 17th, 2010
7:58 am

I don’t really put much stock in what happens in the first two preseason games. Next week we’ll start to see what we really have when more vets get more time. One thing I really like about this preseason schedule and the combined practices is that we’re getting a lot of work against 3-4 defenses, a situation where we struggled last year. It should help us going into the season.

I was impressed by Ryan’s pocket presence last week. He was stepping up well, and I liked the dump pass to Turner. We’re very deep at the skill positions for a change. The staff really has us building for the long haul.

My gut feeling is that our defense is going to be much improved, but I want to see the missing starters play. They’re not going to have much time to build chemistry. It will be done during the season. I’m not worried, just being realistic.

I’m excited about this Falcons team. I think we’re going to do very well this year. By the end of the season I expect us to be one of the better teams in the league and building momentum going into the playoffs. A call goes our way here and there and there’s no telling what might happen. We’ve seen this before.

My dream is that we play Dallas in the NFC title game in Dallas and knock them out of their home showcase Superbowl. After that, it’s all good.

See ya’ll Thursday night, Lot A under the flag.

GMAN

August 17th, 2010
8:12 am

our DBs have to be physical at the line of scrimmage, and thats how you beat those tall receivers. they’ll have to disrupt their routs. stop Randy from getting to his spot on time, and the DL needs to interrupt Brady so that once they’ve been interrupted they cant get back on coarse. if we’re successful at that. put another W on our side

SC

August 17th, 2010
8:12 am

Larry what exactly do you think the average height of an NFL cornerback is? It’s about 5-10. Grimes and Owens are 5-9 and robinson is 5-10. Are we on the short side? Yes but guys that are 6-0 like champ Bailey that can cover are rare. You see the things needed to play corner like backpedaling with balance and quickness aren’t found in guys that are 6-5

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 17th, 2010
8:16 am

At the Branch about to hit the field.

DJ

August 17th, 2010
8:43 am

Last year the Falcons were poised to dominate the Patriots when #33 put the ball on the ground, ending a mostly running drive that the Patriots could not stop. So, the game did not turn on the “short” Falcons DBs rather the mistake not usually made by the Falcons running back.

Turner looked good last week but not enough stamina (yet) to finish. Look for the Falcons to continue running straight at the 3-4; perhaps this year they will have enough round bouncy things to finish the job.

ProSaint

August 17th, 2010
8:56 am

“Poised to dominate the patriots”. You mean like the Saints dominated the patriots last year?

GEAUX SAINTS!!

Larry

August 17th, 2010
8:58 am

SC,

Of course I know that most DB’s are usually a bit shorter (and often quicker, not necessarily faster) than most WR’s and the back peddling and lateral movement is essential. However, with the NFL touch rules and interference rules inhibiting DB’s to promote high octave passing attacks (people like offense) we seem to struggle more than most because of our almost exclusive midget club in the backfield.

Simply put, just like we targeted a power RB two years in Turner, pass rushing DE’s a year ago, and a more athletic LB this year, I think we should be targeting one or two taller DB’s (as Deion Sanders was at 6′1″) to have better matchups. Brain Williams gave us this last season until he was hurt and Foxworth should have never been allowed to leave!

Charles Young

August 17th, 2010
9:07 am

If this team can keep its nerve, the 2010 season should be quite an endeavor.

PMC

August 17th, 2010
9:25 am

Welcome home Alge!

j

August 17th, 2010
9:28 am

Larry:

Good points. It does strike one as odd that they’d let Foxworth go and get Robinson. We’ll see how that works out over the next few years, if Smith gives in and lets Robinson play by then.

Last year’s struggles were due to a combination of factors, including a lack of experience at corner, not just a lack of height. You could ask Drew Brees if he thinks Grimes is short; he did think that, and Grimes jumped out of his shoes to intercept a pass last year. I’m not sure we’ll see a propensity of bump-and-run techniques to counter it, but if we do run a lot of zone again, you’ll likely see a bi of bump and zone with contact at the line and then release.

(it’s high octane, not hi octave, but I’m guessing that’s just a key slip =)

Manny

August 17th, 2010
9:30 am

I think that it’s good to bring in the likes of Moss and Welker in preseason. And if they get burnt, it’s a good thing because they can make adustments to their technique by watching it on tape. (when I played corner, we called it ‘burnt’, not ‘burned’)

But Grimes and Owens did pretty well the last few games of the season. I like it when you see progression.

D Money

August 17th, 2010
9:31 am

@ Larry, I have to disagree with you. some of the best corners in the league are not above 5′11. This includes Revis, Asante Samuel, Terence Newman, and Marcus Trufant, and yes Robinson, to name a few. Being 6′0 or taller and good is rare. Foxworth is not even a top 20 corner and he basically wanted the Falcons to pay so much more than what he was worth.

And yes the starters in preseason (Owens and Grimes) are short but I don’t believe that they will begin the season as starters at least not on the right side. The true starters are Williams (5′11) and Robinson (5′10)

Joe Tess Fish House

August 17th, 2010
9:34 am

If the Falcons had signed TO, Grimes and Owens would get that test EVERY day in practice. Now they have to wait until Thursday, then the regular season to get torched.

DJ

August 17th, 2010
9:45 am

Wow did I get filtered for calling the Saint’s fans BAG HEADS?

D Money

August 17th, 2010
9:49 am

@ Joe Tess Fish House- funny you should say that considering Owens got his first interception of his career while going against TO.

D Money

August 17th, 2010
9:52 am

And where is SeenThisB4 and HiramSaint? I’m surprised that they weren’t on here first.

DJ

August 17th, 2010
9:57 am

D Money – they are out looking for bags (AKA luggage) to wear on their head in 2010. Those thing are rare these days in N.O.

drmondo

August 17th, 2010
10:27 am

D Money, don’t jinx us. It’s nice to talk Falcons, not see a bunch of garbage…

DJ

August 17th, 2010
10:56 am

So D’led how was the test?

waynester

August 17th, 2010
11:55 am

GMan is right. It’s imperative that we clobber these guys coming off the line and disrupt the routes. Our guys may be an inch shorter than average, but they’re good and physical at the LOS. Good hips, lateral movement, vertical leaping ability are much more important than height and all our guys have these traits. Pro recievers will still make their catches, but if we stay physical at the line, we’ll get some picks, too….

Larry

August 17th, 2010
1:16 pm

I believe the height differential in this photo speaks much more loudly than any more words i can offer to make my point…

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/sports/falcons/falcons-patriots-0817/

Larry

August 17th, 2010
1:19 pm

…in photo # 5 of 9, that is.

Jeff

August 17th, 2010
3:01 pm

Good for Grimes and the Falcons. Maybe the BRASS will finally see he ins’t worthy of being….

1. A starting corner in the league… Or

Jeff

August 17th, 2010
3:02 pm

2. must settle for only as needed or…

3 Maybe even the Team fot that matter

hiramsaint

August 17th, 2010
3:51 pm

change the word “tested” to “TORCHED”

ryan

August 17th, 2010
4:23 pm

Sources saying that Bret Farve is returning to play for one more season with Vikings .

Yo mama

August 17th, 2010
6:09 pm

Hey Larry ever heard of assante Samuel? Wonder how tall he is, Steve Smiff ain’t tall, devery with the saints ain’t tall, so who are you afraid of? If we get pressure on qb, we will be fine. Saints won super bowl with a worse defense, only difference was the saints opponents turned ball over 40+ times!

Chop Buster

August 17th, 2010
7:33 pm

So what’s the deal? Did they get tested? Or did they just practice today?