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