FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, who went to the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate, is set to have surgery on his right knee on Thursday.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said that the “procedure” would cause Grimes to miss a couple of weeks.
Grimes was having a strong campaign. He’s sixth on the team in tackles with 37, according to the coaches’ file review stats. He also has 12 passes defensed, an interception, forced fumble and three special teams tackles.
Also, cornerback Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe) is “very doubtful” for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans.
Dominique Franks is set to start at left cornerback and move inside when the Falcons play nickel. Christopher Owens will move to left cornerback in the nickel.
Owens and Franks were competing for the third cornerback spot in training camp and have been linked in their quest for playing time.
Owens cracked the lineup briefly, but mostly they both have been relegated to playing on special teams. But that’s about the change for both of the former high draft picks.
Because the Falcons play more than 50 percent of the time in the nickel defense, both players are considered starters by the coaching staff.
Owens won the training camp battle and opened the season as the nickel back. He suffered a concussion against Green Bay and Hayden took over.
Hayden was playing well and was awarded a game ball for his showing against his former team, the Indianapolis Colts. He appeared to have the position locked up until he suffered a toe injury against Tennessee.
Owens, who was picked in the third round of the 2009 draft, had a strong rookie season and finished the season as a starter at left cornerback. He had a bumpy second year which ended with his bad outing in the playoffs against Green Bay.
“He played better on Sunday,” defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder said. “But it’s been an inconsistent year for him. Again, he did play better and we’ve just got to get keep working on improving each and every week.”
Franks, a fifth round draft pick in 2010, played 58 snaps against the Vikings.
“I think that he’d be the first to tell you that he had a number of mistakes,” VanGorder said. “He’s a very good athlete and a smart football player. He’ll take the experience from Sunday at correct some things and keep improving.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog