A happy Falcons’ development: They have too many DB’s

Brent Grimes: A heads-up CB, even when his head's down. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Brent Grimes plays heads-up even when his head's down. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

In his first two training camps as Falcons general manager, Thomas Dimitroff went shopping for defensive backs. In 2008 he traded for Domonique Foxworth and signed Jamaal Fudge. After last season’s regrettable exhibition showing against San Diego, Dimitroff traded for Tye Hill and signed Brian Williams.

Foxworth became a starting cornerback here and signed with Baltimore after the 2008 season for $27 million over four seasons. (He hurt his knee in camp last month and is already lost for this season.) Williams started for the Falcons at CB last season before hurting his knee against Chicago on Oct. 19. He underwent surgery and re-upped over the winter.

The point being: In two years under Dimitroff, this team has never entered training camp loving the DB’s it had. This time is different. This time the Falcons might wind up shedding somebody they like because they have a surplus.

Dunta Robinson, the key acquisition of this offseason, is set at one corner spot. (He has missed time with a tender hamstring, but the Falcons maintain they’re not worried one bit. On the contrary, they’re making him sit out as a precaution.) Christopher Owens and Brent Grimes are dueling to be the other starter. Chevis Jackson was drafted by Dimitroff in 2008 and has been a nickel back.

Meanwhile, Williams has yet to return to full practice duty after his knee rehab, which could prove interesting. Would a team keep five cornerbacks on its active roster? Maybe not.

(At safety, the Falcons have Eric Coleman and Thomas DeCoud as starters, and they’re happy with both. They also like William Moore, the second-year man who missed essentially all of last season after an array of leg injuries. He’s currently the backup and perhaps someday the successor to Coleman.)

Barring injury, this should be the first preseason under Dimitroff where the Falcons’ haven’t been looking to buy a DB. If anything, they could be looking to sell.

43 comments Add your comment

Duluth Dawg&Bird Lover

August 12th, 2010
9:29 am

Any word on the fit of the fifth round pick from Oklahoma? does he stick?

Mark Bradley

August 12th, 2010
9:31 am

Dominique Franks? He’s another in a crowded field.


August 12th, 2010
9:41 am

Franks should make it on special teams. Which means Eric Weems better mind his P’s and Q’s and be fantastic at receiver because that might be his only chance at making the roster.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley, Mia Roland. Mia Roland said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC A new and happy #Falcons development: They might have too many defensive backs. http://bit.ly/9NRXns [...]

The Grinch

August 12th, 2010
9:49 am

I hope there’s room on the practice squad for some of these guys; you can never have too many decent CB’s.

Isn’t Franks the front runner (pardon the pun) for PR/KR as well? That should help him stick. I would think if Williams returns to form Jackson would be the odd one out; he appears the slowest of the bunch as far as I can tell. He’s serviceable, but he hasn’t exactly stood out since he’s been here.


August 12th, 2010
9:49 am

I think the key is William Moore. I’ve heard so much about his possibility of being a breakout player, but it was almost like he was invisible in his short time on the field last year. Hopefully he can make an impact!

We shall see...

August 12th, 2010
9:52 am

…because we have not had a decent CB since Dion…or a decent safety since the duo of Pridemore and Case. The guys who sucked last year are still here this year, so why do you think we are set at any position? Only time will tell…

Phalcon Phil

August 12th, 2010
10:12 am

Don’t think the guys that were in the DBfield last year sucked at all. You give any NFL, CFL, AFL, CFB D1 QB that kind of time and the DB’s will look like a bunch of junior high db’s. If Jerry, other DT’s, Abe , BeerMan & Co can get some push up front, same class as last year would look like Pro Bowlers. Excited to see the new guys AND the old guys from last year get the benefit of some push.


August 12th, 2010
10:17 am

Dion James was a centerfielder, not a cornerback. Deion Sanders was a centerfielder AND a cornerback.


August 12th, 2010
10:21 am

I’m not sure that Pridemore and Case ever played together. Pridemore and Glazebrook were a pretty good tandem. Case played corner for much of his early career. Checking the Web, I think they may have played one year together as safeties, so you may be right. Good memory.


August 12th, 2010
10:28 am

Brent Grimes is my favorite Falcon. 5′8″ tall in two inch stilts and plays like he’s 6′2″.

Looking forward to seeing how this team takes it to the competition this year. You boys with the AJC are getting me excited, Bradley.


August 12th, 2010
10:30 am

“You boys with the AJC are getting me excited.” Well, when they post photos of Miss July.


August 12th, 2010
10:32 am

I agree with Phil! You cant blame all of last years problems on the DB’s. If we get more pressure up front the DB’s will be fine. There are only 2 corners in the NFL that can cover a decent receiver for that long!


August 12th, 2010
10:52 am

Am I the only one wanting to know what the deal is with Brian Williams? Hello? He was our best corner last year by far until he got hurt in the Chicago game, and now it is like just a name in mention and no big deal. Dudes, if he came back at 90% of what he was he is better than all the other corners on the team.


August 12th, 2010
10:56 am

I think that too much depth is always a good thing. Hopefully the right ones see the field.


August 12th, 2010
11:05 am

I really hope Williams gets healty soon. He was much better than what they had before his arrival last year. He stood out with his physical play versus the other guys. I don’t know what people see in Grimes, he’s just too small. Sure he has heart, but he missed so many tackles last year b/c the big WR’s just stiff-arm his short-ass to the ground. They need Williams and should cut Chevis or Hennessy whatever his name is. He hasn’t done squat in his 3-4 years here.

The Grinch

August 12th, 2010
11:12 am

Falconian, the deal is he grenaded two ligaments in his knee. I’ve done it myself, and it isn’t that easy to came back from, especially in your 30’s. They’re not rushing him because he’s too valuable to risk having a setback.


August 12th, 2010
11:12 am

BirdDog…you must keep Hennessy(?) he is so smooth and my favorite Irish beverage!


August 12th, 2010
11:12 am

You ask, “Would a team keep five cornerbacks on its active roster?” Most teams keep six. No team keeps less than five.
And until injury-prone William Moore proves he can stay on the field, much less play, the Falcons have no surplus at safety.

Ted Striker

August 12th, 2010
11:20 am

I’d be interested to know the ratio of offensive and defensive players on a roster and how it equates to success over a period of time. My research assistant called in sick today so I haven’t looked it up.

Sonny Clusters

August 12th, 2010
11:32 am

Having too many DBs is a lot like having too many pitchers. Can never have enough. What if something pops on the field like Chipper? Speaking of Chipper . . . will you be bringing us news when it pops? We was not surprised to see that ol’ Jeff has told the Mets, “play me or trade me” because he was a lot that way when we was playing ball together back in school. Being a ballplayer means you need to play all you can before something pops and puts you out of the lineup. Defensive backs are a lot like that in football. Rolland Lawrence is a name from the past we was thinking about when they had one too many DBs. Clusters don’t like to ramble like this but there is much to blog about and we feel something about to pop.

Dr. Warren

August 12th, 2010
11:35 am

The defensive backfield is the most challenging personnel area to plug successfully. Better keep all of them, in my opinion, and hope that five pan out and only one gets injured. Surely at least one or two will get injured.


August 12th, 2010
11:45 am

You lie mark bradley, you lie.

The ‘cons never have enough at any position. Dunta is a bust, he is already injured and will not be effective this season.


August 12th, 2010
11:51 am

Fans say good-bye to Chipper. I fear he has played his last pro baseball game. It has been a CRAZY TRAIN for sure Larry. Good Luck.

laguna Darren

August 12th, 2010
11:52 am

Mark, I actually think they will keep 6 CB’S. Robinson,Grimes,Owens,Jackson,Franks,Williams. Here are the numbers !
CB’S 6
S’s 4
LB’S 6 Defense Total 26
DT’S 6
DE’S 4
OL 9
TE 3
Rec 5 Offense Total 24
RB’S 4 1 Kicker, 1 Punter, 1 Longsnapper and 1 extra player at RB
QB’S 3 or OL if 3rd Qb is on inactive list. JA is listed at DT but
is actually a hybrid DE / DT

The Grinch

August 12th, 2010
12:15 pm

The “pop” in Chipper’s knee was real. Now there’ll be less “pop” in the lineup.

Rolland Lawrence? Yikes. That almost makes me want to break out my Jerry Rice highlight reel which is also poor Bobby Butler’s highlight reel.


August 12th, 2010
1:01 pm

The falcons can never have enough DBs. I think thats its possible they could keep 6. Two words. Drew Brees. Let dreads and owens (hes the future) start. Let Grims and Williams battle it out for #3. Franks will make the team because of his special teams ability. If one gets cut, it could be Jackson. But if anyone gets hurts, you will wish you had him back.


August 12th, 2010
1:11 pm

“Would a team keep five cornerbacks on its active roster?” Most teams keep six. No team keeps less than five.”

LOL, well Bradely is done replying to this article….. and what in the world makes you think they have enough talent and a surplus at that? These guys could prove to be a talented group, but other than Robinson NONE of them have proved anything on the field for a prolonged period of time.. and it won’t matter how good they are if the Falcons can’t generate a pass rush.. eventually they will get burnt.


August 12th, 2010
1:11 pm

Bradley.. damnit, not Bradely*


August 12th, 2010
3:23 pm

It’s Erik, not Eric, Coleman

All I'm Saying Is...

August 12th, 2010
3:31 pm

The best DB on any team is a pass rush. We get that on a consistent basis this year (and I think we will this year thanks to the return of some key defensive tackles lost last year due to injury), then we’ll be fine. Glad to we added Dunta as “D” B D’man!



August 12th, 2010
3:36 pm

Who else is excited that the season is FINALLY here?! Baseball is boring and NBA is about 3 months away. It’s time for some football! I’d be shocked if attendance, ratings, and overall interest goes up. With the MLB AllStar Game getting their lowest rating it’s looking like people are just waiting for the NFL season to start.

Here’s the Top 4 Reasons to Watch NFL in 2010:


August 12th, 2010
5:17 pm

If Williams looks good in pre-season, we go there and risk Franks on Practice Squad. My fear is that Grimes stinks it up at Left Corner since Dunta requested to play Right where Grimes was excellent. Chevis also has to show something…I am sure he can go from nickel to practice squad in a heartbeat…preseason is important for this crew…

AFL anyone?

August 12th, 2010
8:30 pm

What ever happened to the Georgia Force? Anyone know? I mean the AFL is back…..so………..?

Terrance X

August 12th, 2010
9:00 pm

crowded or not, none of these guys compare to Mike Haynes/Lester Hayes great Raider combo

Falcon Freddy

August 12th, 2010
10:54 pm

For what it’s worth. Even though he was a HOT HEAD. DeAngelo Hall was a slightly above average corner for us. He shut down TO one nite so much so that TO spit in his face. He had some good duels with Steve Smith as well. I know he Pist off a good number of us falcon fans. But if he had a stayed and we had kept foxworthy or now had dunta on one side and hall on the other. Our DB would be looking pretty good. But all in all i like what we have. I think before it’s all said and done Franks is going to be starting opposite dunta. And grimes, owens, and jackson will be back ups and nickel and dime guys.


August 13th, 2010
8:12 am

@FalconFreddy – It seems that many of the NFL OC’s play scared and don’t take shots at corners deemed as “Shutdown”. Teams wouldn’t really challenge DeAngelo after he earned the “Shutdown” designation – atleast until the last few years. Now, due to loss step or maybe the first years were flukes – he’s exposed – ask Roddy. And truth is we couldn’t afford to pay for DeAngelo and Dunta.

I like the way our DB depth is buidling. Does anyone remember when Will Moore was drafted that there was some talk about him being able to play corner – or was that the beer talking?


August 13th, 2010
8:22 am

Falcon Freddy,

First, the Hall I witnessed as a season ticket holder was often beat badly by the better receivers and was possibly the most overrated CB I have seen in a Falcons uniform. Second, he was a cancerous tumor in an otherwise healthy body.

I met Hall in Orlando a year ago and, trust me, the man has an inferiority complex and severe emotional and immaturity and mild intellectual retardation. This is why he tries to “talk” himself and others into believing he’s the greatest–he really knows he isn’t!

Kris G

August 13th, 2010
9:16 am

Hall was very good at first, and intense to boot. I watched every game myself, ticket holder or not, and maybe he wasn’t a straight up “shutdown corner” but he was definitely good. But he took a lot of injuries, from playing hard and occasionally not playing smart, and maybe that took a toll on his body. He’s not the same guy now. And he’s in denial about it, which puts him at an even bigger disadvantage.


August 13th, 2010
11:28 am

The biggist improvement in our secondary will be the absense of Chris(chasing the receiver from behind)Houston!!! He singled handedly gave up score after score after score. It irked me to watch NFL highlights and commericals during the offseason because it constantly showed Houston being beaten by Steve Smith and a host of other NFL receivers. Once he got hurt and Grimes was moved to Houston’s spot and Owens took over at the left side, the secondary showed major improvement!! We won’t have to endure watching a CFL caliber corner trying to cover NFL receivers this year. I think any DB we have on the roster is head and shoulders better than what we had as a starter in Chris Houston. I actually feel guilty pawning him off on Detroit, poor guys!!!

Outside Observer

August 13th, 2010
4:08 pm

We shall see… are you forgetting the secondary we had when we went to the Super Bowl in ‘98? Ray Buchanan was a great corner and Eugene Robinson was a great ball hawk at safety.


August 13th, 2010
5:29 pm

Robinson was a total JERK!!!


August 15th, 2010
4:08 pm

I think if they have to get rid of someone at all, they should trade them. Get some kind of value for that person, whoever it is. A second or 3rd round pick. Or even send them and a pick somewhere to get a better DE or something.