Lawyer raises bar for Falcons

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Lawyer raises bar for Falcons

Postby ridethemattrain » Sat Aug 12, 2006 2:46 pm

By Andre L. Shannon

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Lawyer Milloy doesn’t fool around during practice. No horse play, no sidebar conversations, no half-stepping, just intense focus.

Atlanta Falcons rookie free agent safety Ryan Bowers found that out the hard way. After getting beat on a downfield play during practice, Milloy screamed for Bowers to exit the game. The reception wasn’t what bothered Milloy, Bowers’ efforts after the ball was caught did.

“Keep running,” Milloy screamed emphatically. “Don’t ever give up on the play.”

The Falcons’ new safety expects maximum effort from every member of the team, especially the secondary.

“Things are going to be different around here,” Milloy said early in training camp. “The tighter we are as a group, the less they will be talking about us. I have a lot of pride in the defense, but most of all in our group, and that’s what I’m going to try to bring.”

A four-time Pro Bowler while with the Patriots, the Falcons brought in the 32-year-old safety to help improve a secondary that struggled mightily at times last season. Milloy isn’t concerned about what the team did last year.

“We don’t need to get caught up into why they brought us here,” Milloy said. “I don’t care. I’m me. I play ball. My job is to win ball games. I’d be a fool to say I’m not aware of the situation that happened last season, and that’s part of the reason I’m here, but I don’t care about that.”

Milloy and Chris Crocker, the Falcons’ other free-agent safety acquisition, will take over starting jobs which were formerly occupied by Keion Carpenter and Bryan Scott. Inconsistent play at the position last season - missed tackles, dropped interceptions - crushed an injury-plagued defense that struggled as the Falcons lost six of their final eight games in 2005.

Milloy’s primary role will be to help out with run support, but Falcons coach Jim Mora said Milloy has a lot more to offer.

“We are excited to have a player and person the caliber of Lawyer Milloy,” Mora said after Milloy was signed. “He brings a strong, veteran presence to our secondary and he’s a proven winner.”

Milloy played the past three seasons with Buffalo after seven seasons and two Super Bowl trips with New England. He was released by the Bills for salary-cap reasons and signed with the Falcons in March.

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