FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons are getting second-year cornerback Dominique Franks ready for nickel back action against the Saints because Kelvin Hayden (dislocated toe) was not cleared to return to Thursday’s practice.
While Hayden (dislocated toe) did not practice, he spent time working out with the trainers. Running back Michael Turner (groin) and linebacker Stephen Nicholas (toe) did not practice.
Veterans John Abraham, Todd McClure and Tony Gonzalez were rested and held out of practice.
Running back Jason Snelling missed practice in a non-injury related matter.
Cornerback Brent Grimes (knee), tackle Will Svitek (groin), wide receiver Harry Douglas (groin), line backer Curtis Lofton (ankle) and defensive tackle Corey Peters (knee) were limited in practice.
Franks has started at left cornerback for the past three games. In nickel situations, he’s went inside to play the slot. He faced rookie quarterbacks T.J. Yates, Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert. This will be his first major action against one of the league’s elite quarterbacks in Drew Brees.
“Dominique has progressed every week,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said. “Dominique played a lot of nickel for us in the preseason and has not had a whole lot of experience in the regular season.”
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog