TD: Dunta Robinson slated to move inside

Falcons defensive back Dunta Robinson (23) breaks up a touchdown pass by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10). Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

Falcons defensive back Dunta Robinson (23) breaks up a touchdown pass by Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (10). Jason Getz / jgetz@ajc.com

Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff didn’t speak to the local media on the day of the Asante Samuel trade so we couldn’t ask how the cornerbacks were going to be deployed. (He was a little busy putting the finishing touches on the draft board.)

Then we went into the three-day draft and the Samuel deal got lost in the shuffle. So we still don’t know:

1. If Brent Grimes signed his tender because of the trade.

2. If Grimes still wants a long-term deal.

3. Who is definitely going to play where in the defense.

But on SiriusXM’s Late Hits show with Alex Marvez & Bill Polian on Tuesday, Dimitroff, in answering a question from Polian, shed some light on the subject.

Samuel and Grimes are slated to be the outside cornerbacks with Dunta Robinson sliding down inside to the play slot, which it what I projected here and a few radio shows after the deal was made.

Here’s what TD said when asked about the trio of cornerbacks.

“I think I see [Samuel]  playing outside. I think he and Grimes will more than likely be our outside guys. I can see us moving Dunta inside. I know Dunta has wanted to play inside in the nickel spot. He did it out in Houston before he came our way. He’s an aggressive guy who can play the run as well as be aggressive in the pass game. I think it’s going to be a nice mix of talents.”

There could be problems. Robinson is used to starting. Grimes may still want a long-term deal. Samuel is going to have his say, too.

So, it really could turn into a little Hard Knocks-styled drama without the HBO cameras.

“Fortunately, for us, we’re not going to have any banter as far as who wants to play where,” Dimitroff said. “I think all three guys really want to rise to the occasion and help us win football games. As you know, you’re always going to be dealing with respectful egos in this game, there is no question about that, at that position.”

Dimitroff is vouching for Samuel coming in and not disturbing the peace, too much.

“But having said that and me being around him, Asante, in New England, the personality is there,” Dimitroff said. “He’s an upbeat guy. For him, coming into our system, as you know, he’s one of the most anticipatory defensive backs that I believe is playing in the game. I think we need that. We need the ability to jump the ball and get our hands on balls. I’m hoping that he can add to that.”

So, do you like the prospective deployment of Samuel and Grimes outside with Robinson in the slot? Would you move them around in another alignment? Does it really matter as long as the pass defense improves?

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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99 comments Add your comment

fan of falcons

May 3rd, 2012
5:16 am

doesn’t matter where they play as long as they defense!

forever fan

May 3rd, 2012
5:27 am

I’d like to them use him like charles woodson is used by the packers.

Headmofo

May 3rd, 2012
5:39 am

I can’t say for sure if Dunta Robinson completely fit into Brian Van Gorder’s system however after watching him for the past two seasons from my seat in the Georgia Dome, I began to have the feeling that he may be better suited to play safety.

Of course after over-paying him for his services, playing safety was not an option. It just seemed as if he was a half a step too slow or he was thinking too much, out of position, and simply just not reacting quickly……

Being referred to as a physical corner is one thing (ala any strong safety) but I would have much rather Dunta Robinson be known as a corner that blankets defenders and shuts down one side of the field.

MrShields

May 3rd, 2012
6:00 am

How’s it going D. Led. I appreciate this article as many fans have been wondering who is going to play where, but as a fan of the game was it really that difficult to see who is going to play where? The Falcons clearly want Grimes in long term because simply put he is the best DB on the team. So there was never a question that the Falcons would do themselves the disservice of demoting him to 3rd string and that could have possibly had a horrible reflection on the contract situation.

When it comes to Asante, for all of us who watched the drama unfold in Philly after they signed Nnamdi and traded for DRC we all got a very up close and clear understanding that neither of the three big named corners in Philadelphia could play in the slot. The idea that the Falcons, who have one of the brightest General Managers in the NFL would have stole, I mean traded, for someone who had there worst season of their career by being forced in to be in the slot wouldn’t have made sense to anyone no matter how cheap the price tag.

Which leaves the question, Who is left? Falcons are not going to get rid of Dunta because they know that he is a good, not great, corner. Many people fail to realize that Grimes really started to make an impact when Robinson showed up due to large part because QBs thought Grimes was the weaker of the two. Not to mention Van Gorder’s defense was as about predictable as the Mularkey offense. Robinson is the strongest tackler that we have at the corner back position.. ask Desean Jackson. His physicality is what Nolan wanted in a big strong nickle corner. So I guess the point is, Who will be moved to the inside shouldn’t have ever been a question because the answer has been obvious the whole time. #GoFalcons

Sly Boarders

May 3rd, 2012
6:29 am

Why didn’t anyone ask TD about his plans with the new Mike Vick money? That’s what I want to know. Giving him $3 mil in cap space is like giving Houdini a key. Work your magic!

[...] listening to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on SiriusXM Tuesday, corner Dunta Robinson will move inside to play the slot with Brent Grimes and Asante Samuel playing on the outside in the defensive [...]

[...] listening to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on SiriusXM Tuesday, corner Dunta Robinson will move inside to play the slot with Brent Grimes and Asante Samuel playing on the outside in the defensive [...]

ronhen24

May 3rd, 2012
6:41 am

Dunta should stay at the right corner, Asante at the left and Grimes move to the slot, because of his jumping ability. Since we are going to press on the outside, Dunta and Asante are your best options. Grimes usually get manhandle by the bigger receivers when ask to press. However, he is not a great tackler, but he do not shy away from hitting. If Dunta is going to the slot, you still get a big hitter there. Asante definitely need to be on the outside preferably the left side.

Little Richardd

May 3rd, 2012
6:48 am

I would say let Mike Nolan make that decision. He certainly has all the tools and knowledge to put the right people in the right place. Each of those CB’s are getting paid so it should not matter as long the team puts “W’s” in the column.

Nativebird

May 3rd, 2012
7:07 am

Grimes is our best cover corner. Pro Bowl level amazing athlete And a shining light and awesome example of incredible perseverance and success at overcoming the collosol disadvantages and descrimination that all persons under 6 foot experience every day in the working world. Go Grimzy! Keep up the kick butt effort…..SoME team will surely pay you what you are worth if the Falcons will not. Idiots.

[...] listening to Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff on SiriusXM Tuesday, corner Dunta Robinson will move inside to play the slot with Brent Grimes and Asante Samuel playing on the outside in the defensive [...]

JSS

May 3rd, 2012
7:24 am

You put Grimes back inside at this point in his career. That was tried in 2008, and we all found out that his skills were more inclined to his athletic style on the outside. I’m no fan of the personnel on this team but your corners aren’t the issue in this secondary. Dimitroff has been obsessing about that nickel spot since Charles Woodson showed what a difference it can make when played properly. When played by the likes of Brian Williams and Christopher Owens (backed up by one of the worst guessers in the history of free safeties: Thomas DeCoud) would make anyone reach for solutions…

Jimmy Crack

May 3rd, 2012
7:30 am

Dunta is a thumpa. He will do well inside. Assante and Optimus are playmakers and outside against the top WRs is where they should be.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Veedub

May 3rd, 2012
7:55 am

Think it’s a good move. This move gives all three players a chance to excel in this defense. Gonna be interesting!!!! Go Falcons

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 3rd, 2012
7:56 am

Little Richardd — Good morning, you Rock n Roll Hall of Famer!

Brian F.

May 3rd, 2012
8:00 am

Dunta can hit, but he can’t cover. This is why Houston was happy to see him go. We will have all kinds of problems with slot receivers this coming up season.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 3rd, 2012
8:00 am

MrShields — It is going well! It really wasn’t hard to see. You are so correct and with some nice analysis. But I all could do was make the projection. You all, the fans, need to hear position changes from the team. So this is the best intel out there.

David

May 3rd, 2012
8:06 am

It doesn’t really matter who is playing corner if we do not get a pass rush going. You can put 8 cornerbacks out there and if the QB has all day to survey the field then somebody is going to get open. Last year we had no pass rush to speak of. This is key. The elite defenses are harassing the QB all day long. The Birds have yet to do that.

ronhen24

May 3rd, 2012
8:07 am

Grimes is good because of the amount of times he was targeted due to Dunta being on the other side. He is not a bad corner but by far not great. All of you guys keep talking about the Pro Bowl. He was an alternate that got called because Aquib Talib was hurt one year and Charles Woodson the next. His interceptions came in a zone defense mostly underneath, not man-to-man coverage. That is where he get toasted. Dunta is a hard nose press corner and of course Asante play speak for itself. Why you all want Grimes on a long term deal is beyond me. He will get exposed and want live up to the money. Watch what I am trying to convey to you.

This guy is a joke just like the rest of the Falclowns

May 3rd, 2012
8:09 am

Saints rule…we’re better….we have a SB ring…you got nothing….Wo dat, we dat, you ain’t dat…..stay classy…

RobbE33

May 3rd, 2012
8:09 am

Dunta and Assante are better man corners. Grimes has shown he’s capable of zone coverage. What ever combinations works is fine as long as the co-coordinators build schemes that maximize the existing talent.

AlanFalcon

May 3rd, 2012
8:11 am

Moving Dunta to the nickel is a no brainer, he has the ability to put fear in the receivers coming across as well as the drop back ability to cover and lay some hits while the receivers ae concerned with the 2 corners, put that together with Moore’s explosive tackleing and we’ve got a secondary to be dealt with.

Wake up people, we just improved our “D” line with this approach. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

SCFalcon

May 3rd, 2012
8:13 am

I think that Grimes should move inside. He’s a solid corner, but he is overmatched on the outside against bigger WR’s.

Falcon James

May 3rd, 2012
8:24 am

I like the idea of Grimes and Asante being on the outside. I think Grimes is too small to effectively cover a tight end coming down the middle and the one thing, and only thing I like about Dunta is he don’t miss tackles very often. This is the most promissiong bunch of conrner backs we have had in a long time. I hope we see the Ego flair up in a pick off war to see who gets the most interceptions. Our back field has been a glairing hole for several seasons. If it is still glairing after Blank poured so much any it, I think it will be the beginning of the end for a lot more people.

Section242

May 3rd, 2012
8:29 am

You need the physical corner inside. Dunta fits that bill. Any coverage without Chris Owens will be an improvement.

Glenn

May 3rd, 2012
8:33 am

With the NFL becoming so much of a pass-happy League, I personally expect a large percentage of nickel sets being run every game, so having all three DB’s on the field at the same time is not a luxury, but a necessity in my opinion. Putting the better cover guys on the outside and better “hitter” in the other position, to cover the TE, Running Backs, and provide run support makes perfect sense to me. Since Robinson has been on the team, he’s shown he isn’t afraid to lay the lumber but hasn’t had great ball skills down the field per se. The scenario spelled out by TD sounds like the best utilization of the personnel.

ATL Fan

May 3rd, 2012
9:06 am

My guess is that they will mix it up to get the best match-up in coverage.

MattP

May 3rd, 2012
9:09 am

Grimes should stay on the outside. He can jump, that’s for sure, but I don’t see him matching up well with TEs.

MaxxFalcon

May 3rd, 2012
9:19 am

I worry about Dunta’s ability to stay with some of the quicker slot receivers in the league in space. See Mike Williams’ catch and run TD from 2010 in the Dome.

MaxxFalcon

May 3rd, 2012
9:21 am

And LOL at any Aints fan coming on here talking trash, what a disgrace of a franchise. That franchise from the top down is such an embarassment to the game and the league.

jj

May 3rd, 2012
9:39 am

I like our corners,but we really need help at safety.We got one that gets lost,Thomas D,and one that stays hurt.I don’t even want to talk about the reserve from Montana.We need help big time at safety and I see S.Jones,the guy that played for our DC at Miami,and that ole man from Tenn that played with the Giants last year.Please TD,get us some help bavk there and we will be ok.

Frontman

May 3rd, 2012
10:06 am

Please stop talking about what a hard tackler Robinson is. He’s a kill-shot guy. He’s great at hitting guys when they are defenseless, but if a guy squares up on him, he will dive at the ground. Watched him do it too many times over the last two seasons to not be sure about it. Grimes tackles a lot harder than Robinson does, and Robinson has 25 lbs. on Grimes.

Terrernce X

May 3rd, 2012
10:11 am

damn, Ledbetter. an actual decent and insightful story. proud of you!

wesley

May 3rd, 2012
10:20 am

DLed- Nice article. Like everyone else, I like the deal for Samuel and think this arrangement makes sense. It does make me think even more so now that that 10 plus mil would have been better used for a pass rusher! Do think TD is working on something (other than a new scheme) or just planning on these DB’s covering for 12 seconds every down?

g

May 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

d led i was checking out the undrafted free agent safety Faulcoun i know he is from a d3 school but im really impressed i know we got to wait and see how he does against better talent but have you heard any buzz or have you checked him out if not he is worth the look

IceColdATLien

May 3rd, 2012
10:22 am

I definitely think that Dunta is better suited to the inside position, and Smith has already said that he considers the inside CB to be a starter since they operate roughly 60% in 3 DB alignments. He hasn’t exactly set the league on fire since joining the Falcons, so there ain’t much for him to say anyway.

Eastside

May 3rd, 2012
10:24 am

Doesn’t matter as long as our pass defense improves. I would play the match ups because all 3 are not that tall so play match ups. My understanding it really doesn’t matter considering we will be in a nickel package most of the time. I am guessing

mark

May 3rd, 2012
10:27 am

Love it Robinson inside with Moore gives us 4 guys who can make plays on the ball and that is all that matters. When you play an accurate passer you have to have guys that can turn the ball over or break up a pass at a critical time. The Saints and Breese beat us like a drum b/c they know they can throw 1 & 2 down and still complete a 10+ yard pass for a first down. This softens us up to the point where they can run the ball. I look for both corners Samuel and Grimes to have 5+ picks and Moore and Robinson to have at least 4 or 5 picks between them. You should be able to flip field position for easy points or stop critical drives. If we get a reputation of causing the turn over then maybe guys hold the ball longer creating more sacks. Plus Nolan will turn Spoon into a hybrid Demarcus Ware and expect him to have 10 to 15 sacks.

Flo=Ri-Duh

May 3rd, 2012
10:33 am

Still need a pass rusher at DE.

A

May 3rd, 2012
10:48 am

“…which it what I projected here…” D-led, can you please have someone proof read your posts or learn how to write properly? Come on man…..be a professional!

MrShields

May 3rd, 2012
10:57 am

Absolutely, speaking of the corner spot.. Any news on Grimes contract situation? Im sure TD is being tight lipped as always but maybe you’ve heard something through the grape vine. . . . Aye D Led, I’m on a roll.. I been commenting on your blogs for years without ever getting a reply. Here I am with two in about three days… Key to success must be strike early

MrShields

May 3rd, 2012
11:03 am

At this point, to the question you raised in the article… Does Grimes even want a LTD (long term deal) with Atlanta?

Mediocrity continues...

May 3rd, 2012
11:11 am

Little Richardd, you pretty much ended the need for this blog with your post. Hit that one right on the head, well put sir.

Michael M.

May 3rd, 2012
11:31 am

Just stopped by while I had some free time to see what is shakin with the fans and the Falcons…….looks like they still trying to improve. Hopefully, we will see a great Season this year with them leading the NFC South !

I just was reading another headline on the New Orleans Saints Suspensions and all. You know what, when you out there trying to hurt the other teams players intentionally I do not think you even deserve to be playing Football. Its a Sport, not a street fight or placing a hit on someone like mobsters or something.

I remember back last Season, in one game they played some of the players on the other Team they were playing accused the Saints of blowing whistles on the sidelines to disrupt the plays……..I still believe they were doing that too illegally but just never were caught.

You know if you want to Win Championships do it by being the better Team and by play, not by cheating or taking cheap shots at another.

I am sure some Trolls will be on me about this but do not care because this mess last Season could have got someone seriously hurt and ended their career ! ! ! !

Mikey

May 3rd, 2012
11:36 am

This sounds like an opportunity for great improvement on the D. I’m sure that as training camp unfolds, new options will arise and of course we need depth for injuries. All in all, we have really improved the choices in the defensive backfield and I am hoping that Asante will return to his pro-bowl style of play while giving Robinson an opportunity to showcase his strengths. It is great to have Grimes on the team as a solid CB all the way! Go FALCONS!

Pete

May 3rd, 2012
11:39 am

Training camp will sort all this…………………….and much more……………………out.
Should be interesting to see our new coaches schemes and philosophies. It will be different for sure.

vafalconfan

May 3rd, 2012
11:42 am

Well said Mr Shields…honestly, I just want to see us get off the field in 3rd and 9 for once. I don’t care where they line up!

Joe Tess Fish House

May 3rd, 2012
11:55 am

I thing Donta should play left out! LOLOLO!!

Brian

May 3rd, 2012
12:02 pm

Thanks for reporting news from Tuesday