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,
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.
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)