INJURY REPORT: Owens could take over at nickel back

An official separates Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (21) and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. AP

An official separates Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens (21) and Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. AP

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

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47 comments Add your comment

Billy O

January 12th, 2011
6:50 pm

go Falcons…….

SawThat1nce

January 12th, 2011
6:53 pm

Tom Pridemore was tough

January 12th, 2011
6:59 pm

Our DL will be rested….I think we sack Mr. Rodgers at least 4 times in OUR neighborhood….our offense has been sand bagging…the Falcons will score a lot of points this Sat. nite..!!!!

anybody agree..??!!!

Head-Mo-Fo

January 12th, 2011
7:08 pm

I am not too concerned that Owens may play. During his rookie season many thought he had an opportunity to start. He doesn’t shy away from contact and he played T.O. pretty well in man-to-man coverage his rookie season. William Moore stepped up when the opportunity presented itself. Hopefully, Owens will do the same.

ATL krusher

January 12th, 2011
7:50 pm

I cannot wait until saturday, its going to be crazy!! RISE UP!!

Samuel

January 12th, 2011
8:11 pm

At some point Owens has to make a name for himself. I think the time is now. He’s played long enough to learn the defense and his role in it. If not he’ll be a regulated special teams player or out of the league altogether. One man one chance!!

RMK

January 12th, 2011
8:24 pm

Some reporting on the Packers injury list would have made this a complete article.

You’ll get there, DOL.

matthews 52

January 12th, 2011
8:28 pm

the pack is gonna run all over atlanta. matthews making plays, rodgers shredding your secondary, starks pounding on rush yard. packs gonna win no doubt. 31-13 GO PACK!!!!

MF

January 12th, 2011
8:36 pm

@matthews52-That was quite possibly the dumbest comment ever on a blog page. Please tell me you are in the 2nd grade….
Falcons.

SawThat1nce

January 12th, 2011
8:44 pm

matthews……Do really think that is true, or is that a wish?

dawg day afternoon

January 12th, 2011
8:45 pm

Where’s the injury report about the Taints’ lost pride after being eliminated from the playoffs?

SawThat1nce

January 12th, 2011
8:45 pm

I think that the Falcons will win by 10.

Brat!!!!!!!! 'We Dat"

January 12th, 2011
8:54 pm

Noooo I want Willams A Vet……… Unless Owens knows how to sack a QB!!!!!!!!!

Dominic Hughes

January 12th, 2011
8:55 pm

D-Led I’m trying to recall if Spoon started, or even played, in the regular season game against the Packers. If he didn’t, or if he was limited, I think his increased presence in this game could make a difference in terms of helping out in coverage.

Still, the Packers have to be respected. They scare me more than the other teams left in the NFC that’s for sure.

Chop Buster

January 12th, 2011
8:58 pm

Owens has the speed and physical ability to blow up Rodgers on the blitz. So if Williams is unable to play on Saturday, Owens will be the man. Rise Up Owens!!! Let’s beat them Meat Packers down and move on!!!!

Chop Buster

January 12th, 2011
9:01 pm

Dominic, Spoon played and looked timid (scared to blow up the opponent). He grazed Rodgers as he went into a slide and little Aaron acted like he wanted to do something. LOL Spoon just needs to blow his A$$ up for real this time. Don’t hesitate rooks, let it all go on the field.

The Masked Analyst

January 12th, 2011
9:02 pm

My prediction: Falcons: 17 Packers: 14

old timer

January 12th, 2011
9:03 pm

Oh, yeah. matthews 52 is wishing. But his wish could come true. Packers are the kind of team that is hard to stop if it gets rolling. A rout is unlikely, though, against an excellent team playing at home. Still, it’s hard for me to believe that the comment ranks as the dumbest ever on a blog.

old timer

January 12th, 2011
9:06 pm

little Aaron? Now that’s dumb.

Keith Mercer

January 12th, 2011
9:14 pm

Did the FAlcons look sharp in practice and with D. Robinson in the Secondary there should be no worries.

bigdave

January 12th, 2011
9:17 pm

Supa Steve

January 12th, 2011
9:28 pm

I know others say they aren’t too concerned about this since it’s just the nickel position, but I am a little concerned…especially going against a team with as deep of a receiving core as GB has. Brian Williams has been a major asset to the defensive improvement this year…not only is he solid in coverage when he’s called upon, he’s a tremendous pass rusher for a DB and has been key in the success of our blitz packages over the past few weeks. When Owens played in coverage this year while Robinson was injured/suspended, he didn’t look like the player we saw his rookie year. Given Owens’ lack of playing time this year, and just his inferiority to our top 3 corners, the lack of Brian Williams on Saturday does concern me a little.

Ross

January 12th, 2011
9:28 pm

Does anyone remember a strong performance from Owens? I don’t, but my memory is not great.

Ross

January 12th, 2011
9:33 pm

I’m so afraid of the Packers. Their flowing locks on D and twitchy style on O. Oh help me Jesus.

Wildebeast

January 12th, 2011
9:36 pm

Clabo owned Clay Matthews in the last match up…I actually think I saw Matthews crying on the sidelines at one point. So sad for him :(

[...] INJURY REPORT: Owens could take over at nickel back [...]

JB

January 13th, 2011
12:01 am

Supra Steve, I agree with you. Brian Williams has played very well and it’s disappointing that he may not be able to go this week.

Bobby

January 13th, 2011
3:46 am

Are there actual Falcons fans on here or just the bandwagon variety that accompany all southern teams who happen to be doing well. Prepare to face a real football team that doesn’t need a wussy dome, Sam Jackson, or whatever other shenanigans you can contrive to pretend to be a world class organization. Losers. Pack 31 Birds – 17

TheNick

January 13th, 2011
7:21 am

Food for thought. Green Bay has averaged giving up 12 PPG since Oct 31st and only given up over 20 points 2 times all year. Translation… Green Bay scores 21 points. They win.

As far as home field advantage. What a joke. There are still ticket available. $83 to get into the game. The dome will probably be half empty because of a little bad weather. Seats as empty as the milk and bread sections at Kroger. Seriously… It’s pathetic.

Take a look at other ticket prices for playoff games. Falcon fans are anything but passionate fans. That goes for all Atlanta professional sports fans. Front runners.

CapBuster

January 13th, 2011
7:34 am

It’s interesting that the Packers fans can come on here and talk smack after losing to the Falcons once already. You lost and you have the gall to call us losers? You can’t run the ball, and you rack up all your receiving yards between the 20’s. Aaron Rogers is you best player, and he’s best when he’s being blitzed. We didn’t blitz him last time, and dropped five in coverage. Lots of yards, but few points = YOU LOSE!

CapBuster

January 13th, 2011
7:38 am

And really… who cares how much tickets are re-selling for. It’s sold out. One big difference I have noticed this season over others is that before games there are lots of people looking to buy tickets but not many looking to sell. And, the dome’s been pretty darn full and LOUD!

Falcon for Life

January 13th, 2011
8:18 am

Can anybody tell me when exactly Brian William took over. At some point our overall team Defense improved dramatically, and I think it coincided with William getting in there. I think Williams will play and the team is just being cautious. If he plays, we will be fine. If he doesn’t, hold your breath and pray that Owens can get his head out of his rear for this one game. Having said that, if we can score more then 20 points we will win the game. Falcons 24-20. . .RISE UP!

1Michael

January 13th, 2011
8:44 am

DANG….Why are you guys dumping on Chris Owens so much? You are comparing a nine year veteran with a player only in his third year! Brian Williams was the starter on defense before he had the knee injuries; However, why would you dump on a player with sooooo much promise that will be an eventual major contributor to the team? Does anyone feel as though this type of negativity is going to boost his confidence going into the biggest game of his professional career? As far as the comments about fearing the Packers; yes, they are a very good team. However, so were the Minnesota Vikings in 1998, and if you are really Falcons fans, you know what that outcome was! If you need further evidence that on any given Sunday is still an appropriate battle cry, then how about those Seattle Seahawks over those New Orleans Saints! I Rest My Case GO FALCONS…..RISE UP!!!!

Controlled Aggression

January 13th, 2011
8:45 am

Spoon, Owens and any other pass rusher needs to “sit down” when rushing. We could have had 5 more sacks over the last 2 games if the rushers/blitzers didn’t uncontrollably run by the quarterback because of a little juke step. RISE UP….and sit down!

Gamer

January 13th, 2011
9:29 am

CHRIS OWENS IS NO SLOUCH!!!

HE’S STOUT AGAINST THE RUN AND IN PASSING DOWNS….HIS LACK OF EXPERIENCE WILL BE HIS ACHILLES HEEL….BUT HE GOT SO MANY SOUND DEFENSIVE PLAYERS AROUND HIM TO ASSIST HIM IN VISION COVERAGE..

VISION COVERAGE IS TO SEE THE PLAY BEFORE IT HAPPENS!!!!

NUMBER #21 WILL DO JUST FINE….

GO FALCONS…STAY FOCUS…RISE UP TO SUPERBOWL 2011…

truth

January 13th, 2011
9:32 am

How many times has Rogers beat the Falcons?

Enough said.

Zoomie

January 13th, 2011
9:52 am

Dim-witted bloviation from Packers trolls notwithstanding, this is a repeat match-up between these two teams where very little has changed since the first meeting. It’s still pitting strength against strength and weakness against weakness. Just like last time, the game could go either way, with the last team possessing the football probably winning the game. In the last game, the Packers tried to use the Falcons’ strategy against them, namely, controlling the football and burning up the clock while on their last scoring drive. If they get the opportunity again, they won’t make the mistake of leaving time for MR to drive for a winning score. The defense has to step it up in this game and 1) not let the game become a shootout, and 2) prevent GB from winning the time-of-possession battle.

Most of the buzz around this game is comparing offensive weapons (Matty Ice against Aaron Rodgers; will the Packers bring a running game this time; can Atlanta effectively use their copious offensive weapons, and etcetera). Falcons win or lose this game based on the performance of their defense which, fortunately, has been playing better every week.

It will be a good game. If the Falcons prevail, I’m confident they’ll be playing New England in the Super Bowl.

D man

January 13th, 2011
10:19 am

Old Timer – Just come out of the closet and say it. You are a Packers fan. Cheese melts in HotLanta 31-17. :)

PackMan

January 13th, 2011
10:33 am

Cap Buster and every other ATL fan this is going to be a great game, no need to call eachother losers you guys have a good club the Pack has a good club. But CapBuster the reason I point you out is the last thing you want to do is blitz Arod all day. go check some stats he will shred your defense. So please, please, Blitz Please!!!!!! Go Pack Go!!!!

Busta Cap

January 13th, 2011
11:16 am

DUMP A BEER ON A CHEESEHEAD SATURDAY?

ARE YOU READY?

Rise Up!

zgoldatl

January 13th, 2011
11:38 am

FALCONS RISE UP!!!!

Dwayne

January 13th, 2011
11:45 am

Wait a minute, wasn’t it Brian Williams MISSED at least 3 sacks against the aints on blitzes???

A_Dirty_Bird_4_life

January 13th, 2011
12:36 pm

To all my fellow Dirty Birds, stop with all the foolishness (name calling) Be above all that silliness!!!! The Falcons are going to show the world why they won 13 GAMES and to quote Coach D. Green They are who we thought they were A 13 win TEAM that plays smart and hard and never stops!!!!!!! Go Falcons!!!!

One last thing, I sure hope A. Rodgers tries to pick on Brent Grimes (you know he is to short) Brent Grimes ROCKS I can not believe how good he has turned out to be. And I hope someone reads this and tells Brent how much ALL of us Falcons fans are glad he is on our team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BigHittas

January 13th, 2011
2:14 pm

I hope the Birds beat the Pack by 14, but sorry to say I don’t think 21 could cover me and I’m in my fifties. Please Williams, get healthy!

GoPackGo

January 13th, 2011
4:37 pm

One bird down the gullet, time to put a Falcon in the oven!!!

Pack 35 Atlanta 14.

Enjoy your offseason!!!

Chop Buster

January 13th, 2011
6:16 pm

Chris can probably get after Rodgers better than Williams right now. He also isn’t afraid to lay the wood on you so this may turn out to work in our favor. Smitty wouldn’t put him on the field if he is going to be a risk to the team.

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