Atlanta Falcons: Christopher Owens named nickel back



FLOWERY BRANCH — With Brent Grimes out for the season, Dunta Robinson will move back out to right cornerback and Christopher Owens will take over at nickel back, Falcons coach Mike Smith said on Thursday.

“In terms of our base defense, Dunta will  move into the right corner position and Christopher Owens will move into the nickel spot,” Smith said.

Owens is the prototypical nickel. He’s physical, tough and can change directions quickly. He continues to show off his speed on special teams, when he ran down two returners to keep touchdowns off the board last season.

The Falcons signed Terrence Johnson, who played some nickel back last season for Indianapolis. Also, Robert McClain, who played previously with Carolina and Jacksonville, and Dominique Franks have played some nickel back experience.

McClain finished ahead of Franks as the fifth corner in the final cut down. Franks, who played in 11 games and started four games last season, was re-signed after wide receiver Tim Toone suffered a hamstring injury.

McClain can play both inside and outside. He played in 16 games and made two starts for Carolina after being drafted in the seventhround of the 2010 draft.

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41 comments Add your comment

steven a smith

September 13th, 2012
4:15 pm

We are in BIG trouble this week my friends.

ernisTbass

September 13th, 2012
4:19 pm

Rick

September 13th, 2012
4:21 pm

Almost first. And we not in trouble!

FalconFANatic

September 13th, 2012
4:30 pm

It’s just Peyton Manning! We can and WILL beat the Broncos!

Falcon James

September 13th, 2012
4:32 pm

As long as our offense keeps scoring points and we win the turnover battle, the pain that Dunta is going to cause will be minimal. Lets hope the defense line can get some pressure on Manning and keeps him guesing. May be wishful thinking because Dunta will leave his guy wide open from the snap.

welikebaseball2

September 13th, 2012
4:35 pm

I’m sorry, though Owens excelled on special teams last season, I just don’t see the difference between him now & the same Owens that got embarrassed a couple of postseasons ago. Here’s hoping I’m wrong…

rfall

September 13th, 2012
4:35 pm

we better score 50

Justin

September 13th, 2012
5:07 pm

There is no way that we will keep Manning guessing, he is way too smart for that. The Falcons need to stay away from a soft zone and play aggressive defense. They may get burnt a couple times for big plays (it’s Peyton Manning!), but they will also be able to create turnovers. And then on offense, they need to keep their foot on the gas!!! Don’t get stuck “trying” to eat up the clock, look at how well that worked for Pittsburgh!

Dalton ATL RISE UP

September 13th, 2012
5:12 pm

Dled any chance we have enough cap space to pursue a vet cb if necessary? …and I am cautiously optimistic that Owens will perform well

Leeman Bennett

September 13th, 2012
5:35 pm

Oh no. You have got to be kidding. Just when things were looking up.

Toasted Owens

September 13th, 2012
5:40 pm

I’ll have some toasted Owens to go with that shake!!

Mike Franklin

September 13th, 2012
5:40 pm

Well, one thing is for sure… we’ve got to step it up in pressuring the QB or Payton Elway is gonna pass us into swiss cheese.

wisconsinfalcons fan

September 13th, 2012
5:52 pm

offensive still need to be aggressive it will be Monday night, lets show the league we are not b-s-sing around, now as for the guys on d-fence… really..we need to tackle a lot better than we did in the first half of last week game that was crazy I don’t know how many tackle we miss I got tired of counting I will not comment on the passing defense I just shake my head, like I will on Monday night its scary

marcus

September 13th, 2012
5:53 pm

I hope and I repeat I hope they keep doing what they where doing when grinds was in and let Owens play outside and Robinson play nickle

falCANS

September 13th, 2012
6:03 pm

PLEASE KEEP DAUNTE AT NICKEL!!! Smh If Julio can beat Champ.we will win

FalconsFam

September 13th, 2012
6:04 pm

We saw Koetter’s influence on this team offensively. Now against Manning we will see Nolan get creative in his game plan to slow down Peyton Manning. At least we know we have a DC that knows what is that’s to defend a guy like Manning. BVG would have used the same plan he uses in the other 15 games of the season. I expect Owens will be blitzing from the nickel at timely moments in this game. I also expect to see Sidbury active for this game. Ray Edwards offers very little to this D in passing situations. I noticed he got very few snaps and Nolan could have really better used Sidbury in rotation with Biermann in passing situations IMO. I like Kroy because he hustles but the guy has only got one pass rushing move. He gets off the ball quick then gets stoned by the tackle and that’s it on every play. Kroy wanted to beat the tackle to a spot, out and up and then dip his shoulder under but against KC he just was not quick enough. Kroy is a speed rusher with little speed and only one move in his repertoire. I kept looking for Kroy to spin back inside or stutter step or swim underneath but he continued to just rush up field and get stoned every passing play.

marcus

September 13th, 2012
6:04 pm

II think Owens has a chance if he play outside not in the Nickle I seen him run around like a chicken with its head cut off the last two years at the Nickle before Frank’s took over last year and Frank’s did do to bad last year could do better if he played tighter coverage like in the preseason he was there to make the tackle right away but we need break ups ints

Stupid

September 13th, 2012
6:11 pm

Falcons 41 Broncos 17 Nuff said.

Mikey

September 13th, 2012
6:26 pm

This is Owens’ opportunity to step up. He has been preparing for several years now and should be ready to go. I still believe that he is the fastest guy on the team and I’ve seen some hard hitting and tight coverage from him at times in the past. He sure did make mistakes in that Green Bay game but who knows what was going on then. He is more mature now and perhaps his speed will match up well with the young Denver receivers. They will have to play some tight man coverage and they will have to disrupt routes… I think that is Owens’ strong suit… in years past, he seemed a little lost in the loose zone that BVG had him playing. Let’s cheer him on to the best game of his career! GO FALCONS!

SirReal

September 13th, 2012
6:54 pm

WHY DO SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO THINK GRIMES WAS THE BEST CB IN THE LEAGUE? HE WAS ABOVE AVERAGE, ESPECIALLY FOR HIS SIZE BUT CREME DE LA CREME HE WAS NOT!!! THERE ARE ELEVEN, YES ELEVEN, MEN ON THE FIELD. IM NOT THE BIGGEST OWENS FAN BY FAR BUT ITS HIS CHANCE TO STEP UP TO SHOW HE BELONGS. WE HAVE A NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR IF YOU ALL FORGOT! HIS NAME IS MIKE NOLAN AND HE’S A FAR CRY FROM THE LIKES OF BVG. GET BEHIND THE TEAM AND RISE UP!

garcia

September 13th, 2012
7:09 pm

Owens has all the physical tools needed to be a solid CB. His career in the NFL has languished because of what has been going on between his ears. Hopefully, Nolan can get Owens on the same page as the rest of the defense. IF Owens can’t be where he needs to be, his career will be restricted to shagging kicks.

KC

September 13th, 2012
7:23 pm

People need to quit being scared of Peyton. He’s human like the rest of us. I really hope the players that play the game don’t have the same attitude like some of the people on here. If they do then they are already defeated. And why even suit up? Just sayin..
Let’s go Falcons!

PMC

September 13th, 2012
7:42 pm

Well I like that he’s fast.

D man

September 13th, 2012
7:56 pm

Owens is not an NFL player. He consistently gets beat. If he is in the lineup Sunday, Peyton will pick on him all game long. I’m glad we have an offense who can score often. Well need it this week.

Lima Beanit

September 13th, 2012
8:08 pm

Talk about being thrown in the fire. Good luck Mr. Owens !!

Quavoni

September 13th, 2012
8:14 pm

Its not about peyton, we must stop the runnin game and special team, with that being said, falcons win

Rick in Macon

September 13th, 2012
8:33 pm

Manning will light up the Falcon’s secondary…he’ll have 350 yards passing minimum. Falcons will lose by at least 20.

Big Crimson 75

September 13th, 2012
8:33 pm

Pulling for ya Chris.
The guy’s biggest fault was always ball skills. He’s got the speed to cover, hopefully some coaching from Nolan has been beneficial.
Watch out for Asante this week!! He’s had big games against Peyton.

mgdawg

September 13th, 2012
9:19 pm

How is this guy even still on the team? Is he a practice player, meaning he looks really good in practice but not so good on gameday. Does he have some kind of dirt on coach smith or arthur blank? After his horrible performance against the packers I thought he would never show his face in Atlanta again.

Big Ray

September 13th, 2012
9:30 pm

Well there it is…Owens at the NCB. Guess we’ll find out what he’s made of this season, under a DC that isn’t in love with the swiss cheese zone coverage.

If Owens fails in Nolan’s scheme, that’s a nail in the proverbial coffin.

SirReal

September 13th, 2012
10:16 pm

I guess our own Qb is just garbage huh? Will you “fans” stop the knee-knocking already. Manning’s good but come on….have some faith in your own team and our new schemes. This isnt BVG. If we dont win, I dont want it to be because the team was like a lot of what Im hearing here…being SCARED. He isnt the last great QB we’ll face this year. Are you guys gonna do this ALL season? Stop the whimpering PLEASE! Birdland rise up.

DeNJaD

September 13th, 2012
10:50 pm

The concerning thing is that pass defense has been Atlanta’s glaring weakness for several years now under Smith. The pass rush isn’t there and the cornerbacks are too unreliable to compensate. Things were looking up with putting Dunta in the nickel but now what? It isn’t a knee jerk reaction to be concerned. Dunta Robinson is the most overpaid player on the roster. He isn’t terrible but for what he is getting paid, he is certainly weak. Now we have to rely on him again on the outside?? I kept hoping to see that Dimitrioff/Smith magic in Chris Owens but he certainly looked bad against the Packers a couple years ago. Make or break time I guess.

I really would like to see Mike Smith stay but if we get torched through the air again this season, he needs to come out and say “Ok, no more excuses. We are mediocre at best on D and we haven’t made any progress. This is our overhaul plan moving forward….” or maybe it is time for someone else to carry on what he has gotten started.

Mitch (the one in Rome)

September 14th, 2012
6:17 am

I said last year and say again this year because it is how it is. Pass rush affects coverage. If we get pressure then the corner’s job is easier. We did not get pressure until the 2nd half last week then we shut them down.
Our corners are not bad. They just have to cover for 5 + seconds and no one can do that. Champ Bailey can’t do that. Deon can’t do that. It’s not humanly possible. We have to get pressure. If we do our corners will be fine.
By the way, their QB has a bum neck.

SINCE66

September 14th, 2012
8:59 am

Lets give Owens a chance. You can do your critique of his play Tuesday. For now lets just see
if he’s improved. He might suprise.

jab73

September 14th, 2012
9:06 am

I understand everybody’s concern about our defence but my concern is how loud the dome will be..we need to be the loudest we’ve been in awhile. If we make some noise everytime #18 runs out i really believe our team will feed off that energy..

If we want a SB caliber team we need to be SB caliber fans and get behind them all nite on Monday!!

RISE UP!!!!

Big Dude

September 14th, 2012
9:33 am

Go Sir real: I got your back!

SirReal

September 14th, 2012
10:24 am

Let’s do it Big Dude!! lol I’m not gonna whimper about things. Some of our fans need to get some gonads. NEXT MAN UP!! We have talent on this team and an upper echelon defensive coordinator. I’ll be there screaming until I’m hoarse!! :)

Enkinan

September 14th, 2012
11:34 am

I hope our D-line is ready to have a big game or this is going to be one hell of a shootout.

Travis

September 14th, 2012
4:20 pm

That is very good. I still remember what Aaron Rodgers did to this guy. Why is he still on the roster? Maybe after Peyton Manning gets done carving this loser up the coaching staff will wise up and get rid of this guy.

EB

September 14th, 2012
11:21 pm

The defensive secondary will be much improved with Grimes off the field! The dline just needs to get after the QB consistently for them.

Oliver

September 16th, 2012
11:16 pm

“Owens is the prototypical nickel.”

That’s a laughable statement. “prototypical nickels” don’t get absolutely shredded like Owens did by Aaron Rodgers and company in that playoff game 2 years back. Falcons are in trouble if this is the same Christopher Owens we saw in that game…