Battle for CB#5 – Who Will Be Odd Man Out?

Will Falcons Keep All Six Corners?

Training Camp Updates

Updates will be posted here in The Bird Cage as they become available.

The Bird Cage Training Camp Battle Series, Topic 2: Battle for 5th Cornerback Spot. These aren’t given in any certain order, other than to spread out the big battles. This one might seem like a silly one since you’re talking about a player way down on the depth chart, but the Falcons roster is quite possibly the deepest it’s been in a long, long time.

From Big Weakness to Possible Strength

The Falcons poor secondary is well-documented and ranked near the very bottom last year after getting torched throughout the season in all aspects of the game. Several quarterbacks had their best game of the season and even of their career (Eli Manning). Since Thomas Dimitroff and Coach Mike Smith took over, the Falcons secondary has been pretty awful. With the signing of Dunta Robinson, the emergence of Chris Owens and Brent Grimes, a possible bounce back from Chevis Jackson, veteran Brian Williams, and rookie Dominique Franks, there’s a possibility that someone might not be wearing read and black this season.

Obviously Safe

It’s easily apparent to see that Dunta Robinson will be the number 1 cornerback and his big contract in free agency represents that: safe. Brent Grimes has earned many starts over the last few years and ranked tied for 2nd in the NFL with 6 picks and may start this year: safe. Christopher Owens showed great flashes after starting in the second half season and may nab the open spot.

Dominique Franks

Most will scoff at this choice and its almost a certainty that Franks will make the team, but nothings a given in terms of the talent on this year’s roster and especially with Thomas Dimitroff’s highly selective nature for cornerbacks. Franks was thought by many to be one of the biggest steals in the draft and may even be vying for return duties. Franks is most definitely probably safe, but two of the only few Dimitroff-selected players to either not be on the current roster or practice squad were both cornerbacks: Wilrey Fontenot and William Middleton.

Chevis Jackson

Jackson represents a tale of two years as an Atlanta Falcon. The former LSU cornerback came in as a rookie and had a pretty excellent year as a rookie where he basically won the nickel back spot and performed well on the way to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. Fans had high expectations for Jackson in his 2nd year, but for whatever reason the cornerback just didn’t make an impact. With a huge opening at one CB spot, Jackson failed to capitalize on the opportunity and was jumped by rookie Christopher Owens. With the signing of Dunta Robinson, drafting of Dominique Franks, and re-signing of veteran Brian Williams, Jackson looks to possibly be in a battle for the 5th spot with the savvy vet Williams for a possible last spot. Jackson seems to know what’s at stake and has reportedly had a good off-season.

Brian Williams

The addition of Brian Williams as a Falcon the week before the opener was great news to fans who witnessed the disaster of the Birds trying to defend against the pass in pre-season (Billy Volek ring a bell?) and he was immediately inserted as a starter opposite Chris Houston. Even though the Falcons weren’t fantastic in terms of pass defense early on, they were 4-1 after beating Chicago, when Williams got hurt for the year. The rest is history in that the wheels fell off. The Birds then went on a terrible stretch going 3-5 over the next 8 games (nearly 2-6 without last second win vs. Bucs). The main reason was the atrocious pass defense. Williams obviously wasn’t the only reason the Falcons were off to a fast start, but he also was by far and away the best corner on the field. Williams suffered a terrible knee injury against the Bears and many thought that would be it in Atlanta. They re-signed him and are very happy with his progress. Do the Falcons continue going young or do they envision a Dunta Robison-Brian Williams starting combo?

Keep All Six

The easy answer is for the Falcons to keep all six cornerbacks with the immense talent and excellent mix of young and veteran D-Backs alike. The Falcons face some of the most talented quarterbacks and potent offenses in the NFL in Drew Brees (twice), Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, and, Carson Palmer. The Falcons did have 6 cornerbacks on the final roster last year including Houston, Grimes, Owens, Williams, Jackson, and Tye Hill. Don’t the Falcons have more pressing needs and depth issues at defensive tackle, wide receiver, and offensive line? If they keep all six, the Falcons will have to sacrifice in other areas that they may regret.

 

You Decide (Your Turn)

-What’s your thought on the cornerback situation?

-Do the Falcons keep all six CB’s? Should they?

-Rank your cornerbacks in order of best to lesser?

-If the Birds do keep five, who goes?

-Is it a battle between Chevis Jackson and Brian Williams?

  

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214 comments Add your comment

ATLJBO

August 3rd, 2010
11:13 pm

Man…. I hate to be “that guy” but i think Brian Williams will be the odd man out… He is really not healthy plus we have young guys that are improving and need that playing time.

We all know about the first 3 (Dunta, Grimes, and Owens) … But guys like Chevis Jackson still have the potential to develop into a good NFL CB and Franks has impressed early…

I feel like we can carry an extra WR or RB with that extra spot.

BT

August 3rd, 2010
11:15 pm

IMO, the battle is between Jackson and Williams.
They might move Williams to safety and keep all six?

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Sarah B

August 3rd, 2010
11:24 pm

I love you BT!!! LOL from the last blog. CrackpipeJoe was working my nerves.

Sarah B

August 3rd, 2010
11:29 pm

This is a tough one. We finally have a decent secondary to pick from. I will watch the scrimmage Saturday carefully – see what I can come up with.

You Suckk

August 3rd, 2010
11:31 pm

PUP Williams and give Chevis the spot.

Lil'Dave

August 3rd, 2010
11:54 pm

Great Blog D3.

Well I can’t really call it at this point eaither. I didn’t make it out to practice this morning so I’m not going to just spit some name out onto the screen. I’m sure as the pads start popping they’ll seperate the men from the boys.

Lil'Dave

August 3rd, 2010
11:55 pm

Haha or just Weatherspoon from everyone else.

falconsruletheworld

August 4th, 2010
1:28 am

It’s a tough decision but I’d say keep all 6 because there’s nothing like having depth. Depth wins championships. It keeps the players fresh and it also helps with players staying healthy. BUT if I had to cut one today it would have to be Brian Williams. He’s a bit older than the rest of the group and that was a nasty knee injury that he suffered last season and I’m not so sure he can fully return from that and play at the level that he did last season. Chevis Jackson would be good in nickel situations as would Grimes. Although I like Grimes and I would love to see him get a chance to start opposite Robinson, I think it will ultimately be Chris Owens that starts. Dominique Franks is really impressing people at camp; getting his hands on a few balls and he can also return punts so he’s safe.

Box

August 4th, 2010
1:44 am

Good Evening fellow Cagers. How many did we keep on the roster last year?

Bluballs

August 4th, 2010
2:08 am

It’s a hard decision this early in camp but after pre-season games start, we will see who’s getting burnt. Williams probably won’t be as effective as last due to his knee.

Ed

August 4th, 2010
2:49 am

Great work as always D3. If the young guys can hold there own, you have to let the injured vet (Williams) go. There’s just too much talent with a much higher upside not to go that way. As to whether or not the Falcons carry 6 DB’s depends on too many other factors in training camp and preseason to make that call now.

jeff

August 4th, 2010
6:30 am

Odd man out.. GRIMES

ben

August 4th, 2010
7:35 am

keep all 6 but list Williams as the backup FS.

ToccoaBird

August 4th, 2010
8:01 am

Lets see what happens in the preseason games before choosing.

BKJ

August 4th, 2010
8:11 am

If Williams is healthy it will definitely be Jackson. Intriguing idea to move Williams to safety. Question is can he play that position? Maybe in nickel and dime packages?

WR

August 4th, 2010
8:11 am

D3, another great area for competition consideration, so far I think Brian Williams is the odd man out. Nothing against Williams because before he got injured last year he played pretty well, but truthfully he was a stopgap pickup last year. The Falcons resigned him for his experience and given the ability he showed last year but coming off an ACL tear and with the youth movement having now gained more experience, throw in a potential steal in Franks and unless the Falcons decide to keep them all Williams appears to be the odd man out. Now thats especially true when Chevis Jackson has actually decided to show up for this camp as opposed to lolligagging last year.

Charles Dimry

August 4th, 2010
8:24 am

Jeff……..are you serious? Grimes may be starting. If he were to be cut he would be picked up in a milisecond by another club.

y2m

August 4th, 2010
8:59 am

Couldn’t williams be put on the PUP list? I think that can last up to 6 weeks which would give him a full year to recover from his ACL. This would benefit the coaches by allowing them to see what they have in their young corners, but provide a safety net just in case the young ones are not up to speed. If the young corners are doing their job, then hasta la vista williams. Seems like a win-win situation us Falcon fans.

CBrass

August 4th, 2010
9:12 am

D3,

This is a hard one to call. I like that idea that y2m presented. Besides the receiver battle this is the battle that’s the most intriguing to me.

bigdawg

August 4th, 2010
9:41 am

Trade Williams to Baltimore they need corners

Moose

August 4th, 2010
9:48 am

y2m ……..Bingo, Williams to the PUP list and we see where we are at after 6 weeks in…….

I agree Cbrass, lots of talent to pick from…………………What a nice change of pace………..

Unca' Bob

August 4th, 2010
9:48 am

y2m,

When a player is put on the PUP, he is requiered to sit out six weeks minimum. That’s if he’s on the list upon the start of the season.

The biggest asset we added in the off-season IMHumbleO, is Coach Lewis. Within a week of his arrival, he made two moves. He cut T Hill and traded C Houston. In Camp this year he has the secondary flying around and making plays everywhere. Our D is out performing our O by leaps and bounds. He is the difference maker.

LRD

August 4th, 2010
10:19 am

I will pile on, but believe Williams would be the one to let go, IF we have to let one go. The D is comprised of youth, and youth with experience. The Process would be drafting the positions we need to build the future around, and get free agents etc for more immediate needs and transfer then that veterans experience to the younger players ( Gonzo, Peterson, Williams, Dunta, etc).
So when the coaches feel that the youth has the youthful experience, then it will be time to let the older veteran go.

CBrass

August 4th, 2010
10:30 am

Moose,

That’s a very good problem to have!

Coop

August 4th, 2010
10:31 am

Tough call D3. I think this is a place you gotta carry 6. Williams will not last till next year if the young guys progress like we all hope, but until we see it over a period of time there’s too much risk going all young. I believe that Owens and DRob will be our starters and Jackson will hold down the Nickel. But there are some uncertainties that demand keeping Williams around.

I’d rather carry less LBs, Safeties, RBs, or DTs, than CBs at this point.

Coop

August 4th, 2010
10:34 am

The same may be true for WRs. We might need to keep 6 there like the CBs. You know you have White, Jenkins, HD, and Meier. I can see them keeping Harvey AND Finn for the veteran leadership. Too much risk of losing some of the young WRs if we leave them on the PS. I know this is another topic, but to me it is related to the CBs. Can’t keep 6 at every position, but these two might dictate that need. I don’t think you need 5 RBs as much as you need 6 CBs…

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
10:45 am

Good morning Cage Family,

Very good subject, D3. I spoke about this matter briefly a few weeks back when we did the first mock 53 man rosters. Williams was signed to a two year deal when he was acquired last year. He is a fine player, a solid leader, and understands the game. The idea of the PUP is okay but what would do with him or someone else when it was time for him to come off the list.

As much as I would like to keep Williams on the roster, I think he may be on the chopping block. This reminds me of the situation Von Hutchins was in just a few years back. Given the youth movement and the sustainment of the Process, I see us keeping Robinson, Grimes, Owens, Jackson, and Franks. I can not see any of them being cut because they were specific targets (other than Grimes) in the draft and/or FA.

UnCA Bob, (Semper Fi) makes a very good point. It seems that the secondary has a new attitude; one of hustle and aggresion. That is a reflection of the MOST IMPORTANT FA signings of the off season (IMHO), Coach Tim Lewis.

Coop

August 4th, 2010
10:49 am

I didn’t get to see all of carbapplejoe’s comments on the Brooking discussion till this morning, but since I feel like I stirred that up pretty good, I’ll comment on his retort.

You compared Brooking to other players with unsavory characteristcs saying that we cheered them and booed KB. You even made a comparison to Mike Vick. Truthfully, there are those who support Mike to this day and hate KB… though I think that is the minority.

The fact is, they’re both blemishes to our franchise. They aren’t the same and I have never tried to draw a moral equivalence between the two. What Mike Vick did to this franchise is as bad as I’ve ever seen done to an Atlanta-based team. I can hardly imagine despising another athlete the way I do him. Beyond that, he continues to show himself as simply and immature idiot without the ability to function in society on a daily basis.

KB is no criminal. He was an upstanding member of the community, a local hero at the high school, college, and pro level. In many fan’s eyes, that obscured the reality, that he wasn’t as good as billed (especially in the final years). I’m from ATL too. I want former Dawg and Tech players to do well also. But I have to be objective and say KB was past his prime. Just like DJ simply wasn’t good enough to make the roster.

I won’t dispute the numbers of Tuggle over KB or vice versa. All I’ll say is when I think of the Ring of Honor, I think of players I’m proud played for the Falcons and that make me proud to be a fan of the team. Hell, Deion was a great cover corner, but I don’t want him in the Ring either. You can’t come back to the Dome and say, “This is the house I built” and expect me to respect you. How do I respect someone who shows disrespect and contempt for me and my city.

And you don’t come to the sideline and flap your arms in a mocking fashion less than 9 months after failing to stop a weak TE on 3rd and 16, then expect me to respect you. He should know better and I expect more.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
10:49 am

BigDawg, you make a great point. I do not know if we will be trading with Baltimore but I do see a few situations where the Falcons could trade players and acquire up nice, mid round draft picks.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
10:52 am

Coop, trust me, that image of him flapping his arms will be in AB’s mind for a long time to come. Brooking will not be in that ring anytime soon.

Imagine the sweetness of it when Harry Douglass or Kerry Meier burns him on a MR2 crossing pattern for a score in the playoffs later this year. Then the feathers will be plucked from the former Falcon, now Texas Turkey.

Coop

August 4th, 2010
10:57 am

SW – Agreed. The sweet jsutice will be when we beat Dalls in the NFC Championship in Dallas so that we can then play the Superbowl IN Dallas. And you better believe I’ll be there.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:07 am

Coop, the ONLY thing that would make me more happy than meeting Dallas in the NFC title game, where we would beat them I will add, would be the long desired parade on Peachtree.

I would love to beat Dallas given the antics of Brooking but more importantly, the pay back to Jerry Jones for helping orchestra that middle of the night humilation fiasco AB had to suffer when that jackass, Petrino, called hogs before the Razorback nation after being a punk and bailing on AB.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:09 am

Coop, I may not get a ticket to the game but I darn sure will be representing the Falcon Nation outside if we get to the Promised Land. Did that in Miami in 1999.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:11 am

I remind the Cage. Keep an eye on the front office relationship between the Falcons and Rams. We have a few players that are needs on the Rams. Mid round picks could be had IMHO.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:15 am

So JJ, now that the Chump (aka Brett Favre) is faking his retirement, I assume you are ready to lock up Peterson with the first pick. And as far as the dress goes, I will leave that to the lovely Sarah who I am sure will grace it much better than I.

Ohhhhhhhh the big board is ready. And with the first pick in the Bird Cage FFL draft, the Posse take……Jake Delhomme.

LOL. Even the Queen Kitten would laugh at that one…

Coop

August 4th, 2010
11:21 am

SW – I may have to watch from outside with you, but I’ll make the drive from SATX to Dallas.

jeff

August 4th, 2010
11:21 am

Grimes Start? You are serious aren’t you? That would be a joke nothing less of a mistake. Grimes had interceptions last year due to the fact he was beat and the balls were terribly underthrown. He was beat more times than the INT’s he is getting priase for. And was being bashed on here until the underthrown INT he had against New Orleans that too was underthrown though he show he could jump out of the dome.

If he is cut from the Falcons, his NFL career is probably over unless someone like the Lions pick him up.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:28 am

Psst Jeff…breaking news.

Every darn CB we had was torched last season. We were young and for as much as I love Coach Thomas, the DBs and secondary lacked cohesion. A season of seasoning and new leaderhship should yield better results.

And while Grimes was toast according to you, friend, you would be hard pressed to find a CB that played with more hustle after being thrust onto the big stage. Trust me, someone who uses an aggressive scheme will pick him up quickly if he is released.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:30 am

Coop, I have already projected leave for the road trip just in case. If my Birds are there, I am going to be there.

Coop

August 4th, 2010
11:32 am

Jeff – I agree with SW. Grimes is not my favorite, but he’d get picked up. I love him for ST and the 4th CB personally. He did get burnt a lot, but I didn’t see anyone else making interceptions.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:40 am

As far as bad mouthing the Lions, I would not be too quick to do that. Quietly, Martin Mayhew and Jeff Schwartz have put together a damned good looking young team. Matt Stafford has the look and feel of a warrior (yes, I said it, CBrass). If they protect him, that offense could be electric.

Defensively, they are loading up with young talent and season veteran presence. Reminds you of any other team you know.

Mayhew and Schwartz – the northern version of TD and Smitty. Do not sleep on the Lions. They will bring it more often than most people are going to expect.

Sorry for that unsolicited testimonial….

KC in Smyrna

August 4th, 2010
11:42 am

Williams is the one to go. He’s hurt and not even able to practice right now. He should still be available if one of the guys struggle early in the year.

Also, we have to judge how they will use Dunta Robinson. If he will shadow the #1 WR all over the field, it will allow Grimes, Owens, etc to perform better by dealing with a lower caliber of WR.

Lastly, we have to keep Jackson because he is the only “big” CB that we have. I don’t want to see Grimes going again Colston or any big WR this year. I keep Jackson for this reason alone.

Sgt. Pepper

August 4th, 2010
11:46 am

Keep in mind that their was almost no pass rush which keeps DB’s from covering that extra 2-3 seconds. Grimes is a great cover corner for his size. With a new secondary couch, an opposite lock-down corner, increased pass rush and a chip on the shoulder, expect great things form the secondary this year.

As for who makes the team, currently I see Jackson on the block. Williams is a needed veteran, but it all depends on injuries and preseason performance.

This video kind of sums it up for me:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCbog0tVScQ

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:51 am

Sgt Pepper, I could not agree with you more. Well said.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
11:51 am

But Williams is the Von Hutchins of 2010.

Unca' Bob

August 4th, 2010
12:03 pm

B Favre is back.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
12:10 pm

Uggggggggggggggggggggggggh!! Please someone, take the Chump out! Damned, I am so tired of him.

ESPN looks like a damned fool for their continuous coverage of his BS.

SeminoleWarrior

August 4th, 2010
12:11 pm

Where in the hell is Lawrence Taylor when we need him?

Coop

August 4th, 2010
12:13 pm

I’m really starting to hate that guy…