BIRDLAND – Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens showed a great deal of promise during his rookie season in 2009.
He ended the season as the starting left cornerback and appeared on his way to a solid NFL career.
But last season, the third round pick from San Jose State, appeared to take a few steps backwards. He had a particularly rough outing against Green Bay in the divisional round playoff upset.
However, Falcons coach Mike Smith, in a conversation with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution during the NFL scouting combine staunchly defended Owens. Smith noted that Owens only lost his job to Brian Williams as the nickel back because of a back injury.
Smith also noted that Owens wasn’t the only one who had a bad day against Green Bay. He said himself, the rest of the coaches and all the way down to the water boys were to blame for the Packers’ torching of the Georgia Dome on their way to the Super Bowl.
In a recent conversation with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Owens, like most players, didn’t want to use the injury as an excuse.
Q: How has your offseason been going?
A: It’s been going real smooth. I’ve just been staying in shape and now we’ve got this going on. I feel like we are back rolling pretty much.
Q: Did you spend some time back in California?
A: I spent a little time back at home. Not too much time because I didn’t know what was going to happen with the lockout so I wanted to get back out here just in case stuff got rolling quickly.
Q: What do you hope to get out of the seven-on-seven drills?
A: Just to get my feet back. Get my feet back and the camaraderie of my teammates.
Q: How did you battle through the back injury last year and are you healed?
A: You have to battle through some of the small little nicks and bruises. It’s part of the game. Now, it’s a new year. I feel good.
Q: Have you gotten over the playoff game?
A: Yeah, I’ve gotten over it. It’s time to move on.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Now, that I’ve had two years in the program, I feel I have more upside now. Besides the fact that I’m quick and fast, I have a better understanding of the defense. I can play inside as the nickel and outside on the corner. I think that’s going to help my progression in my third year.
Q: Were you comforted somewhat that they didn’t draft at your position?
A: No, that doesn’t mean anything. I’m going to come with the same mentality every time. I’m going to give them 110 percent no matter what.
Q: Can you look to Brent Grimes’ development to help you? Do you get any help from Dunta Robinson?
A: Oh yeah. I’m learning from those guys daily. What Grimes did last year was tremendous. I’m just following in his footsteps. I’m trying to do what he did.
I know about all of the extra work that he put in and he’s been a great help for me.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog