FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons second-year cornerback Christopher Owens could be on the spot against the Green Bay Packers and their highly rated passing attack Saturday night.
Brian Williams, the team’s nickel back, did not practice Wednesday because of a knee injury he suffered in the season finale against Carolina on Jan. 2.
“We’ll know more about Brian [later],” Falcons coach Mike Smith said Wednesday. “Hopefully we can get him out to practice [Thursday] or on Friday.”
Williams missed most of last season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery on his right knee. He was seen at practice with a brace on his left knee.
Owens opened the season as the nickel back, but lost his job when Williams was fully recovered. Williams, a nine-year veteran, has been a force in coverage and as a blitzer out of the slot.
Williams had 35 tackles, one sack, three tackles for losses, one forced fumble and three quarterback hits.
After losing his spot, Owens went on to play well on special teams. He had 26 tackles and one interception.
“If Brian is not ready … we just have to get [Owens] out on the field,” Smith said. “That’s the thing that happens this time of year. We have to have the next guy ready, and he has to step up.”
In the regular season, the Packers, who had the fifth-rated passing attack (257.8 yards per game) in the NFL, passed for 344 yards against the Falcons. They gashed the secondary for five plays that went for 28 yards or more.
“A lot of them were not coverage issues,” Smith said. “We didn’t tackle as well as we needed to in that game. In the playoffs, tackling is at a premium. Missed tackles usually lead to explosive plays, especially in the secondary. If Brian is not able to play and get out there, it will be the next player.”
Defensive end John Abraham (groin), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), middle linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee), wide receiver Roddy White (knee), center Todd McClure (ankle) and safety Thomas DeCoud (ankle) were limited in practice.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter