The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Printable Version
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The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - falcon057 - 09-16-2010 08:49 AM
Parsing Out The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation
Thefalcoholic_tiny by Dave Choate on Sep 16, 2010 8:00 AM EDT in Editorial Comment 0 comments
After one week, the cornerback depth chart for the Falcons may already be unsettled.
No, Dunta Robinson isn't going to lose his job. He's getting paid a lot of money to be the team's top corner, and one middling game isn't going to cause Mike Smith and the coaching staff to pull the plug on the experiment. Do they have the same kind of qualms about Brent Grimes, though?
Note that I'm about to get into some serious conjecture here, starting with an observation from the AJC's own D. Orlando Ledbetter. Some of you will want to call me an idiot for even raising this, and I get that. It's kind of a crazy post. But I do think it's worth bringing up.
I'm really looking to generate a discussion about the future of this cornerbacking corps, especially because the Falcons are going to be facing a very tough set of wide receivers this week. The performance of guys like Grimes, Chris Owens and possibly even Brian Williams in the Cardinals game could go a long way toward shaking this depth chart out.
Here's what DOL had to say. Follow after the jump for my thoughts:
His buzz word for the Grimes’ play is "consistent." Every time you read him talking about the defense playing "consistently" he’s really talking about Grimes not having any lapses. (That’s just my media interpretation. He has not said that to anybody that I know of. But as soon as Brian Williams gets fully healthy, look for him in the lineup. Again, just another media interpretation.)
You first inclination, after reading that, is probably to totally disregard it. We're talking about, at best, an educated guess. But history and the pressure of winning create the possibility that Grimes will be knocked down the depth chart.
We all know Grimey isn't perfect. In the press conference DOL transcribed, Smith carefully avoids naming names but still manages to take Grimes to task for being out of position. That matches one of the major knocks against him as a cover corner, though it conveniently ignores the fact that Grimes was doing a better job in coverage than Dunta for much of the day Sunday.
That's one piece of history. The other, of course, involves Brian Williams. He has a substantial history with Mike Smith, started last year until he got hurt and has more of that veteran stank on him than Grimes or Owens. One of Smith's few weaknesses is that he loves himself some veteran former Jaguars. Mike Peterson held on to his job thanks to that—though, to be fair, he may very well play well enough to keep it all season long—and Williams may come roaring back despite the fact that he's basically a shell of the corner he once was. There's a tendency to think that the older guys offer more consistent play, though comparing the talent of Grimes and Williams in 2010 yields a pretty clear winner.
Owens, meanwhile, is playing with the kind of physicality that the Falcons value out of a nickel corner. He may be playing himself into that role for the rest of the season, whether or not Grimes keeps his job.
I raise this now, again, because the Cardinals offer up a quality passing attack even with the woefully subpar Derek Anderson at quarterback. Grimes and Owens will be challenged by a very sure-handed Steve Breaston and the colossal Stephen Williams, who will be manning the slot against the Falcons. A bad game here could have Smith re-evaluating his depth chart only two games in.
And then there's the pressure to win. Mike Smith is disappointed in the team's performance, but in years past he could afford to nod gravely and move on because the team was billing itself as being in a re-building cycle. This season, with the national spotlight on the team, the Falcons are in more of a win-now mode, whether they'd like to admit it or not. Sam Baker has survived train wreck games in the past, but he may not have the same leash as in years' past. The same goes for the cornerbacks, with Grimes and Owens especially vulnerable because they're younger. I don't think any of us like that, but it's got at least a grain of truth to it.
Is this as crazy as it looks now that I've typed it out, or do you think Grimes is on shaky ground?
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Peyton - 09-16-2010 08:58 AM
(09-16-2010 08:49 AM)falcon057 Wrote: Parsing Out The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation
Well I think a couple of things. First, I don't think statements from Ledbetter should ever be analyzed. He's not that deep. He's just trying to put together a coherent update, and he usually manages to do that.
I also think that Brent Grimes is under the most incredible microscope with Falcons fans and media. It's because he looks small, he comes from a tiny college, he was undrafted, and it took him several years to emerge.
We don't hold the established veterans to that same standard.
For example. On the game winning TD, Mike Peterson got his ass blown up and completely pushed out of his gap by the Pittsburgh FB, and that was right where Mendenhall went through the hole. I've hardly seen anybody mention it.
Grimes is the best cover corner on this team, I think it would be a mistake to sit him down.
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - falcon057 - 09-16-2010 09:05 AM
(09-16-2010 08:58 AM)Peyton Wrote: Well I think a couple of things. First, I don't think statements from Ledbetter should ever be analyzed. He's not that deep. He's just trying to put together a coherent update, and he usually manages to do that.I was thinking "coherent sentence"
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Peyton - 09-16-2010 09:13 AM
The funny thing about Ledbetter is that he is an extremely educated man. He has a law degree and he has written a book.
He's just very remedial when it comes to his football knowledge. I've been hard on him in the past, but I am trying to give him a break, because I am sure he is doing his job the best he can.
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Duff_Man - 09-16-2010 09:21 AM
I understand the desire to have Owens as the nickel back, but I see him as our 2nd best corner. Am I crazy?
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Peyton - 09-16-2010 09:33 AM
(09-16-2010 09:21 AM)Duff_Man Wrote: I understand the desire to have Owens as the nickel back, but I see him as our 2nd best corner. Am I crazy?
I just don't know if we've seen the guy in coverage enough to make that determination. Yes, we saw both Grimes and Owens compete against young QBs late in the season last year, but we haven't seen Owens get a chance to be thrown in the fire against a team like.....I don't know....New Orleans....or even against a guy like Miles Austin.
So.....maybe.......throwing Owens in there seems like the risky way to go though. I think Grimes has pretty much proven he can hang in coverage and I can't at all remember the last time he gave up a big play in coverage.
Can anybody remember the last time that Grimes gave up a big play in coverage? has to be at least half a season ago or more.
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Sun Tzu 7 - 09-16-2010 09:54 AM
The thing about Grimes is that he's small...
Just kidding... well not really.
Anyway the thing with Grimes is that he's become fairly decent in coverage.... however he still struggles with bigger WR's and his ability in run support has now come into focus. I also noticed when we played the Steelers he was completely taken out of a play where they threw a WR screen.
He's just not that big or physical so he can get pushed around. Luckily there aren't that many WR's that can exploit this while he's in the air but we're about to face one of them.
So with Grimes he's good in coverage but not so good in run support as he is easily blocked out of a play.... which is why I like him as more of a nickel or dime corner instead of a starting corner.
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Duff_Man - 09-16-2010 12:45 PM
Grimes is actually taller than Owens. At least according to Grimes' Twitter feed.
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - Knight of God - 09-16-2010 12:53 PM
The funny thing for me is that I have often said that I "hate" Brent Grimes. Not true. Sorry for ever saying it, but the boards made me a little tense anyways. (Pearls to swine)
Grimes is a player that I don't understand. He has all of that talent and I hear varying stories (outside of the boards) and no one can really place him either.
One moment he's stellar and then thats all. Do I espect HIM to be better in the run game? No. I espect more out of him though if he is to start. If not then I espect his flash moments better.
Did that make sense? No? Sorry.
RE: The Atlanta Falcons Cornerback Situation - SeaMill - 09-16-2010 12:58 PM
I would like to see Owens get a real chance out there. I like his physical play. Its not like he's a real drop off from Grimes.