Posts Tagged ‘Owens’

Robinson will sit out against Ravens

August 30th, 2011 Comments off

Knox Bardeen of CBS Sports reports that cornerback Dunta Robinson (hamstring) will not appear in Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens. Falcons head coach Mike Smith indicates that the teams starters will get a reduced a role in that contest, but Robinson will not be among them. Chris Owens has started in Robinson’s stead the past two preseason contests as he’s been nursing that injured hamstring.

Also out will be Todd McClure (knee), Corey Peters (knee), and Lawrence Sidbury (ankle). Earlier today, it was announced that McClure would be out at least through the first game of the regular season. Peters was injured in the Falcons first preseason contest and has been ruled out indefinitely. Sidbury’s injury will make his ability to retain a roster spot difficult since it appears that rookie defensive end Cliff Matthews is emerging as the team’s potential fifth defensive end.

Franks struggles lead to nickel concerns

August 20th, 2011 Comments off
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Dominique Franks

Dominique Franks did not have an impressive outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars last night. While Chris Owens got the start in place of an injured Dunta Robinson at right corner, Franks got his opportunity to work with the first team as the nickel/slot corner. He proceeded to have a night where he was picked on several times.

In re-watching the game this morning, I paid close attention to Franks, tracking how many receptions he gave up in the game. In the end, Franks was targeted 9 times by Jacksonville passers, and they were successful in completing 8 passes against him. Those plays went for a total of 87 yards, with Franks having no pass breakups in coverage. For those unable to do the math, that means Jacksonville passers had a passer rating of 106.9 against Franks. The lone incompletion against Franks came on an overthrow by Blaine Gabbert to Jason Hill along the sideline. Franks also missed two tackles in the open field, which allowed guys like Cecil Shorts and Tiquan Underwood to get significant yards after the catch.

If there is a positive for Franks from last night, he did show some things as a blitzer off the corner. He rushed the quarterback three times. The first time he managed to hit David Garrard, although Garrard still completed a pass. A second time, he was able to jump to deflect a pass leading to an incompletion. A third time, his pressure forced an errant throw by Gabbert.

One of the strengths of Brian Williams, last year’s nickel back, was his ability to be an effective blitzer. Thus far, there doesn’t seem to be a huge dropoff from Williams to Franks. But despite positives there, as well as on special teams where Franks almost blocked Josh Scobee’s third field goal of the night, he still seems to be a work in progress in coverage.

Franks looked to be ahead of Owens in their competition for the open nickel spot after a disappointing preseason for the latter against the Dolphins. Owens did not have a great night against the Jaguars, and gave up receptions of his own in the second half. But for the most part in the first half when he was working with the starters on the outside, he was capable. He broke up a pass, made some stops in run support, and even forced a fumble.

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Spotlight Players vs. Jaguars

August 19th, 2011 Comments off
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Peria Jerry

Looking at five players that the spotlight will be on during the second preseason contest. I would also list DE Ray Edwards on here, but as of this writing, it has yet to be confirmed whether he will play against the Jaguars. Most signs seem to point that will not be the case at this point.

DT Peria Jerry

Jerry will get the start for the injured Corey Peters and will get his first real test in that role since the beginning of the ’09 season. Jerry did not have a noteworthy performance last week against the Dolphins, and showing some improvement against the Jaguars will go a long way to inspire more confidence in the coaching staff and the fan base.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers

Last week, I highlighted Rodgers against the Dolphins. Rodgers’ Falcon debut ended without much fanfare. While he’s sure of a roster spot this season, the better he plays in the preseason, the bigger his role is likely to be at the outset of the season. Getting some earlier reps with the first and second team offensive lines should potentially help.

OG Mike Johnson

Garrett Reynolds showed some things against the Dolphins last week at right guard. Johnson missed that game due to a concussion, and if he has any shot at usurping Reynolds for the starting job, he’s going to need a really strong performance against the Jaguars.

LB Robert James

James got opportunities last week in nickel situations. And with Akeem Dent out for this week’s action, he should get even more chances, particularly with the second unit defense. James is on the roster bubble since it’s no safe bet the Falcons will keep more than six linebackers, and needs a bit more consistent performance this week against the Jags.

CB Chris Owens

Who starts in place of Dunta Robinson will be quite telling about the way the nickel cornerback battle is going. Franks appears to be ahead after Owens gave up a touchdown last week on a blown coverage. Regardless of who fills out the starting lineup, Owens needs a good bounce back performance against the Jaguars.

Spotlight Players vs. Dolphins

August 12th, 2011 Comments off

WR Julio Jones

These are some of the names and positions you should keep your eye on during the Falcons preseason opener against the Miami Dolphins tonight:

WR Julio Jones

It is no doubt that all eyes will be on Jones tonight. With Ray Edwards being held out, he is by far the biggest new addition to the Falcons lineup. He has been tearing it up in camp so far by all accounts, and fans should be eager to see if that early success translates to the field tonight. Jones will get first team reps, but it will be interesting if the Falcons pull the plug on him with the rest of the first team members early in the game, or get him some more minutes and work with the second unit.

RB Jacquizz Rodgers

The other big name from this year’s rookie class, figures to get some extensive reps on the ground. Rodgers should get some touches in the first half of the game, and fans should be eager to see his quickness and explosion as a runner and hopefully in the passing game. If the Falcons are re-incorporating the screen pass back into their offense, it would be an opportune time to break it out tonight.

TE Michael Palmer

Palmer has a chance to move up the depth chart if he can have another strong performance this summer. A big key for Palmer will be how much progress he’s made as a blocker if he hopes to supplant Justin Peelle as the top reserve to Tony Gonzalez.

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Camp Battles 2011: Cornerbacks

July 16th, 2011 Comments off

It has been rumored that the Falcons might pursue a free agent corner on the open market, but it would appear that only a low-level signing is in the books as the team wants to stress fiscal responsibility.

But that won’t mean that there won’t be significant competition at this position during camp. As the team will be primarily looking for someone to step up and fill the void at nickel cornerback.

That role is likely to be held by Chris Owens. He entered last year as the nickel corner, but after a dismal mid-season performance against the Bengals last year as an injury replacement for injured starter Dunta Robinson, he was benched and veteran Brian Williams took over. Williams is a free agent, and previous reports indicate that the Falcons will likely decline to bring him back. That leaves Owens as the front-runner for the job going into this summer.

He’ll be pushed by Dominique Franks, who earned limited playing time a year ago as a rookie. Franks has a chance to unseat Owens, but due to his lack of experience playing in the slot, it’s probably Owens job to lose.

It’s possible that the Falcons could go after a veteran free agent to hold the spot, but that would only happen if the right price comes along.

Both starters are locked in, with Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes coming off solid years. Those four players are virtual shoe-ins to make the roster, leaving the possibility of a fifth player. If Williams is not retained, that spot will default to Rafael Priest the only other corner on the roster. But it seems certain that if not via veteran free agency, certainly undrafted free agency the Falcons will add some players that can push him for that spot. If the Falcons do not like how that open competition goes, then the possibility that Williams is signed at or near the end of camp increases.

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Domestic case dropped against Owens

June 22nd, 2011 Comments off

D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that at today’s family violence hearing, the case against Falcons cornerback Chris Owens was dismissed by a Gwinnett County Superior Court. Last week, LaTia Terry, Owens’ ex-girlfriend and mother of their 9-month old son, filed a police report alleging that Owens destroyed $15,000 worth of items in her apartment although charges were never filed against him.  The case was dismissed when Terry and Owens agreed to work together to establish parental rights and shared parenting time.

Owens denied the allegations, indicating that Terry was unhappy with their relationship and sought “revenge.”

Last year, Owens was named Falcons Man of the Year due to his work in the community and nominated for the league-wide Walter Payton Award.

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Owens allegedly trashes ex’s apartment

June 15th, 2011 Comments off

TMZ reports that the ex-girlfriend of Falcons corner Christopher Owens alleges that the player smashed up her apartment. Owens is the father of LaTia Terry’s 9-month old son. According to a Gwinnett County police report, Terry left her home late Sunday night and did not return until the next morning. She had locked the door when she left and returned to a locked apartment, as there were no signs of forced entry.

According to the police report, there were holes in the dry wall and on the flat screen television. Pictures were found on the floor with holes in them, as well as broken items in the baby’s room (crib and lamp) and master bedroom (mirror). Inside the master closet, jewelry, shoes, clothes, and purses worth an estimated $15,000 were found in a pile with bleach poured over them.

Terry filed a temporary protective order against Owens on Monday. The police have yet to officially name Owens as a suspect in the case according to the AJC, although a police spokesman indicated that charges could be filed and an arrest could be made in the future once more information is known.

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Will the real Chris Owens stand up?

June 6th, 2011 Comments off
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Chris Owens

A little more than ten months ago, a lot of expectations were heaped onto cornerback Chris Owens. And Owens failed to live up to those expectations in 2010.

Last summer, Owens was expected to compete for a starting job, but Brent Grimes did not relent and did not look back. While Owens struggled, Grimes flourished as a starter and made his first Pro Bowl. Owens began the season as the team’s nickel back and slot corner, but he did not play at a particularly high level through the first six weeks of the season. Then with Dunta Robinson out in Week 7 due to a concussion, Owens was thrust into the spotlight as a starter. And he had one of the poorest performances from a Falcons corner in recent memory. So bad that it made Tye Hill and Chris Houston’s heads spin. And it did not go unnoticed by the coaching staff, as Owens was benched in favor of the declining veteran Brian Williams. But with Williams out against the Packers in the playoffs, Owens was again thrust back into the spotlight, and he once again came up wanting.

This summer, Owens is the incumbent at the nickel spot with Williams not expected to be re-signed. The team did not add a cornerback in the draft, and doing so in free agency does not look quite so promising given the current state of the labor situation. Owens won’t be handed the job, as he’s expected to be pushed by last year’s fifth round pick Dominique Franks.

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Owens could be tested vs. Packers

January 14th, 2011 Comments off

Falcons cornerback Brian Williams was listed as doubtful for tomorrow evening’s playoff matchup against the Green Bay Packers. Williams missed the entire week of practice due to a knee injury and very likely will miss the game. In Williams likely absence, Chris Owens will likely get the majority of reps at nickel cornerback. Owens last extensive playing time came in a Week 7 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he started for an absent Dunta Robinson. Owens struggled mightily in that game. For the first five games of the season, Owens served as the team’s nickel corner, but following his struggles against the Bengals got very limited playing time on defense being relegated primarily to special teams. Owens could see many matchups in the slot against top Packers wideouts Donald Driver and/or Greg Jennings. Traditionally, Driver has manned that role in the past, but late in the season the team began to work Jennings into the role more extensively. Jennings was the team’s leading receiver this year with 76 receptions, 1,265 yards, and 12 touchdowns earning a Pro Bowl bid.

Williams was joined by several other Falcon players on the injury report, all of whom were listed as questionable. All of those players however were able to fully participate in Friday’s practices, giving optimism that all will suit up on Saturday despite their status.

Among them were: defensive end John Abraham (groin), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder), safety Thomas DeCoud (ankle), linebacker Curtis Lofton (knee), center Todd McClure (ankle), and wide receiver Roddy White (knee). All except McClure, were limited in practices on Wednesday and Thursday. McClure had a full participation on Thursday.

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What to do if Robinson isn’t back

November 2nd, 2010 Comments off

In light of Monday’s report that Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson hasn’t been cleared to practice yet even after a week off during the team’s bye, I think the Falcons might have to make some adjustments at the cornerback position if he’s out another week.

I am a Chris Owens fan, and during the summer was high on his ability and potential to be a starter for this team this season. But against the Bengals he really struggled, and the truth is had one of the worst games of a Falcon corner in a long time. It made some of the usual weekly performances of Jason Webster, Chris Houston, and Allen Rossum look very good by contrast. And while I think this would be a good test for Owens this week to see how well he bounces back from such a performance which would be a great indicator of his future, at the same time it would at least have a backup plan in case he doesn’t bounce back.

So my suggestion is to perhaps move Brian Williams to the outside in nickel situations. Against the Bengals, Williams covered the slot and Owens the outside receiver in nickel situations, but I think that needs to be reversed. When Robinson was healthy, Owens played the slot in nickel situations. I think that is potentially a better matchup for us against the Bucs, with Owens going up against Sammie Stroughter in the slot, and Williams facing whoever is lined up outside for the Bucs (Arrelious Benn?).

Now this could all be moot if Robinson comes back to practice tomorrow and the next few days and is ready to go. But I think the Falcons should at least prepare this week for the possibility that if Owens gets off to a slow start versus the Bucs, it may be time to make a switcheroo at cornerback.

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