CAMP BATTLES: Owens vs. Franks

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan calls the signals during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan calls the signals during NFL football training camp Saturday, July 30, 2011, in Flowery Branch, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


Cornerbacks Christopher Owens and Dominique Franksare playing at Grimes’ left cornerback spot, but will battle for the nickel back position.

“It will be a good battle all the way through training camp,” Smith said.

Owens ended his rookie season as a starter at left cornerback. He opened last season at nickel back, but an injury slowed him and he was replaced by Brian Williams.

After Williams was injured, Owens played in the playoff game and didn’t have one of his better performances.

Franks, was a fifth round pick (135th overall) in the 2010 draft. He played in two games and had one interception last season.

The Falcons are counting on Owens and Franks to continue to improve under assistant coaches Tim Lewis (secondary) and Alvin Reynolds (defensive backs).

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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58 comments Add your comment

loyal falcon

August 1st, 2011
5:27 am

I believe this will be a really good battle throughout camp. Chris owens needs to redeem himself. Hopefully he’s learned a few things since the last game.

1st Loser

August 1st, 2011
6:07 am

Bring on the Football.

So excited for Falcon Football that I have three text services sending me updates on the Falcons.


August 1st, 2011
6:34 am

Franks will beat Owens out on this one…………………………….


August 1st, 2011
6:42 am

Better get Brett back in there.


August 1st, 2011
7:02 am

I really wish the Falcons had the cap space to get a mid level vet for the nickel. I’m not a believer in C. Owens or D. Franks. With the NFL changed to a pass happy league teams need 3 or 4 quality CB’s


August 1st, 2011
7:12 am

I’m suprised owens would show his face again in georgia after that last performance.


August 1st, 2011
7:35 am

“Owens played in the playoff game and didn’t have one of his better performances.”

I’d say the whole damn team didn’t have one of it’s better performances!


August 1st, 2011
7:37 am

Well said Sid!

Okinawain Falcon

August 1st, 2011
8:00 am

I think franks will win this one. He look more fluid out there on the field.


August 1st, 2011
8:03 am

Owens is dead to me after his last peformance.


August 1st, 2011
8:10 am

Lets not be so quick in writting off Owens. Young players have a way of coming back stronger and wiser. This should be a good battle in camp!

Falcon fan since prime

August 1st, 2011
8:29 am

They should go after Carlos Rogers or Kelvin Hayden to solidify that nickel spot

Curious and Confused

August 1st, 2011
8:52 am

Wait, the Falcons have a Secondary Coach and a Defensive Backs coach? Aren’t all the players in the Secondary (Corners and Safeties) Defensive Backs?


August 1st, 2011
8:58 am

Owens is gonna be alright. We do need to resign Grimes, he’s everything you want in a football player. I wouldnt mind trading Turner to the eagles for one of there corners and resigning Snelling, he will come cheaper and he’s alot more versatile than Turner.


August 1st, 2011
9:09 am

I could understand if Owens was a 6 yr player but the guy is young trying to play against an explosive offense in with a defense coordinator who has no clue….. we are gonna get killed with this zone mess!!!

Falcon fan since prime

August 1st, 2011
9:18 am

With Owens I look at it like this u are only good as your last game..if grimes and d rob get hurt look who we got as backups d franks and Chris Owens


August 1st, 2011
9:23 am

Can someone give DOL a raise?? This man never quits!!

USMC dirty bird

August 1st, 2011
9:33 am

Enter your comments here


August 1st, 2011
9:43 am

falcs may be 6 and 10 this season..decent draft but terrible (went for the cheap) FA..That could hurt them dearly..Hopefully, some of the remaining nonproducers will step up..They know who they are..


August 1st, 2011
10:00 am

I’m in my fifties and I don’t think 21 could cover me. I feel sure I could catch a pass on him. I really hope the Falcons can find someone else to play nickel and I can’t understand for a second WHY it is they keep wanting to put the guy on the field. Ever seen the highlights of the passes in the last Green Bay game?


August 1st, 2011
10:04 am

scrappy… wow, how insightful. You’ve really convinced me… *eye roll*

Chris P. Bacon

August 1st, 2011
10:05 am

“Owens played in the playoff game and didn’t have one of his better performances.”

Understatement, thy name is Ledbetter.


August 1st, 2011
10:09 am

Scrappy is a little crappy.


August 1st, 2011
10:09 am

Falcons draft priorities in 2012 will be offensive line and corner. They will also looking for a starting RB with their 1st or 2nd pick. Snelling is gone and Flowers is gone. J. Rogers is a 10 play a game guy. They will still be in need of a DE as Abraham is getting a little age on him to be an every down player. An upgrade at backup QB would also be a good idea.


August 1st, 2011
10:13 am

The NFL rules now are totally biased towards passing. Are these 2 good enough to defend against the teams like Green Bay and Philly who have so many weapons? I have my doubts, and also had hoped TD would have the dollars to upgrade this position via FA.

Mularkey better use his new weapons this year to take advantage of the league’s rules favoring receivers, we are going to have to out-score some teams.

ATL Observer

August 1st, 2011
10:26 am

I could never understand when I was watching an opposition team on offense and they didn’t try to pick on Owens. Because invariably when they did try, it worked.

I’m really surprised (and disappointed) that the Falcons didn’t make/aren’t making an effort to get another CB in the mix.

Ken Strickland

August 1st, 2011
10:45 am

OKINAWANFALCON-I spent 19 unhappy months on the ROCK starting in 68. I hope the Japanese have improved it tremendoudly since they took over the island chain. The only thing that kept me from losing it was island football and basketball. However, despite my misery, my experiences did force me to finally grow up and learn to deal with things intelligently, rather than emotionally. I hope you’re enjoying yourself.

Don’t worry Falcon fans, CB BGrimes is a RFA and has a 1st rd tender on him. So far, there hasn’t been a single mention of any team that’s willing to give up a 1st rd pick for him. Besides, every team knows the Falcons will match any offer that doesn’t grossly overplays him, much like the CJohnson contract did.

I seriously doubt if a team would be willing to overpay plus give up a 1st rd pick for him. Because of his situation, it makes perfect sense for the Falcons to make him the last on their list of FA’s to sign or resign. I believe RB JSnelling is waiting to see what happens with a couple of teams that’s having trouble resigning their FA RB’s. These teams represent his beat chance to get a starting contract or position.

Just like you now doing with young CB’s COwens and DFranks, I remember when a lot of you were expressing the same unfounded concerns and making the same excuses for not having faith in CB BGrimes. What good does it do to draft and develop players to play certain positions, when after only one bad gm you start drooling over and crying for us to over pay for every FA that becomes available? IT MAKES NO SENSE!!

Unlike our fellow division rival AINTS, we chose to develop through the draft, not FA. Only 3 OFF starters, TE TGonzalez, FB OMughelli & RB MTurner, were acquired by trade of FA. And only 3 DEF starters, DE’s JAbraham & REdwards, and CB DRobinson, were acquired by trade or FA. TD Smitty and their staff will give our young CB’s every chance to succeed of fail before deciding to start trading and spending money in FA for replacements.


August 1st, 2011
11:11 am

I know Franks will win because he is the better man to man, and he is better than Owen overall.. I just think Franks can get the job done at Nickel Back.. CO is done in Atlanta in my opinion


August 1st, 2011
11:26 am

You have to be in the draft and that guys develop. I don’t like to hear, we need to get this FA or that FA…teams like the Steelers who are always good don’t do that. They draft and trust the guys will get better. I think Franks may push Owens and beat him. We will see in some pre-season games how that goes.


August 1st, 2011
12:08 pm

we dont need a fa cb


August 1st, 2011
12:50 pm

Ken is right. Stop b****ing about Owens and give him a break. Everyone is going to have a bad game. I think the kid is gonna do just fine.

Fresh-----need a cold one!

August 1st, 2011
12:57 pm

Since ASO, Rogers-Cro, and Cro have signed elsewhere, is there anyone of quality to go get? Maybe Samuel or C. Rogers?

ATL Observer

August 1st, 2011
1:22 pm

One bad game? Owens only played one bad game? Apparently we were not watching the same Owens! EVERY game I watched, whenever a team found out it could pick on Owens it did well. One e.g. that sticks out to me was the Cincy game…they fell well behind, then started picking him apart. Abandoned the strategy for some reason, and the Falcons came back and won.

I’m not a “solve all the problems with free agency” kinda guy, but it wouldn’t kill the team to get ONE CB to push everyone. And I didn’t say “cut Owens.” Just “get another CB in the mix,” that’s all.


August 1st, 2011
1:43 pm

got that right ATL O,

21 would have difficulty covering my grandpa and grandpa only gets around these days on his vehicle from the Scooter store.


August 1st, 2011
1:45 pm


To whomever….I didn’t complain about Grimes. It was evident from the start he had potential.

De true Guru

August 1st, 2011
3:00 pm

What is this a joke? these two haven’t a lick of ability to play that position in the last couple of season they have been with the team, so are we kiddin we lookin for a third corner somewhere cus they ain’t it.


August 1st, 2011
3:20 pm

Much respect to you Ken, but I’ve got to disagree also about the “one bad game” take on Owens. He had a subpar season…at best. For a team in “win now” mode, I can’t see the justification in sending out a young CB that’s nothing more than a defensive liability until/IF he develops. Like ATL Observer said, we shouldn’t cut him or trade him. I’m just amazed that his only competition for the #3 CB spot is Franks.


August 1st, 2011
3:23 pm

Please tell me we have someone better than Owens. He gets torched. No talent.

Ken Strickland

August 1st, 2011
4:26 pm

WELIKEBASEBLL2/BIGHITTAS/GURU/ATLANTA OBSERVER-Our coaching staff saw every gm and practice COwens participated in last yr as it actually took place. They’ve also watched, reviewed and critiqued every tape, gm, practice and play he’s participated in.

Their willingness to give him another chance to win back the NB position, rather than sign a FA replacement like some are suggesting, tells me they totally disagree with your assessment of his performance last season. In fact, they seem to feel the same way about CB DFranks, since they are the only 2 that will realistically competing for the NB position.

If that isn’t a vote of confidence in their abilities, I don’t know what is. Bottomline, TD, Smitty, VanGorder, our DB and secondary coaches totally disagree with your assessment of the type of season and overall performance CB COwens had last season. After all, didn’t he beat our every CB not named BGrimes and DRobinson for the NB position last yr, before being replaced by CB BWilliams due to an injury?

I’m not against us signing vet CB, but I don’t see it as a definite need like some of you do.

Ken Strickland

August 1st, 2011
4:40 pm

In every interview we’ve heard involving last yrs rookies, one point has been consistent, and that’s how much easier it is after having already experienced their 1st training camp. The same holds true for the regular season and playoffs. Having DE REdwards on board, along with a completely healthy PJerry and TLewis will improve our pass rush and DL depth tremendously.

A starting DL consisting of:
DE JAbraham & REdwards
DT PJerry & JBabineaux
LB SWeatherspoon-CLofton & SNicholas
CB BGrimes & DRobinson
S WMoore & TDeCoud
is going to be one quick, fast and athletic DEF. If we just get noticable improvement from DE KBiermann, OLB SWeatherspoon, DT’s PJerry, TLewis & CPeters, we’ll end up with a much improved DEF.


August 1st, 2011
5:26 pm

we dont have a cb that is worth anything we need a big physical cb some body that get physical with green bays receivers all our cb ore too little


August 1st, 2011
5:44 pm

Owens is a bum! Get rid of him now! He will never a be a starting corner. Sign Grimmes and lets play ball.


August 1st, 2011
6:49 pm


the U

August 1st, 2011
7:20 pm

The entire defense was torched by Green Bay run game and Rodgers passing game. Owens ain’t the only that stunk up the Dome that night quit brow beating the guy. Matty ice had a pick six before the half that tore the wheels of the wagon.


August 1st, 2011
7:28 pm

Chris Owens didn’t have a bad game against GB. He was not even there. We saw at the end of Grimes 2nd year a major improvement. This last year, he played even better. His second year, when he improved was Chris Houston’s 3rd year. You know how that went and happy he is gone. I’m ok with giving Owens another year but not in a role to rely on him to help win games. Get a respectable FA.


August 1st, 2011
7:45 pm

@ tony 5:26 PM – maybe you’re right about having more size for our CB’s. We have some very tall Off and Def lineman that are over 6′ 5″ that are not starters and some of them weigh over 300 lbs. Why don’t we use some of them to cover these tall WR’s. They are just as tall and weight much more. Check the avg. height and weight of all the CB’s throughout the league. Some aren’t understanding athleticism.


August 1st, 2011
9:17 pm

@ ken – f/a vs. building thru the draft comes out to multiple playoff games and a superbowl victory vs. 2 playoff losses. your done now


August 1st, 2011
10:54 pm

the defense is going to be ok… more worried about an injury to turner…..we need to resign snelling…he might even be starting before too long….


August 2nd, 2011
5:51 am

Not long ago all you fans thought Grimes was the worse coner ever to play in ATL, The coaches have always said he may be the “BEST” athelete on the team. The coaches are sticking with Owens and Franks because they know what they are doing. I see two potential pro-bowlers down the road. Go Falcons……..


August 2nd, 2011
5:52 am

Not long ago all you fans thought Grimes was the worse corner ever to play in ATL, The coaches have always said he may be the “BEST” athelete on the team. The coaches are sticking with Owens and Franks because they know what they are doing. I see two potential pro-bowlers down the road. Go Falcons……..