Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff sets CB line-up. Dunta Robinson “moving inside.”
Going into the off-season the Falcons defensive secondary was a major issue. It is an issue that has been lingering for an extensive amount of time.
In their one-and-done playoff appearance against the New York Giants, WR Hakeem Nicks had his way with them and put the game out of reach before the fourth quarter.
One of their starting cornerbacks Brent Grimes did not play in that game.
Grimes ability to anchor that level of the defense was a sticking point going into the off-season because of his free agent status. Grimes ended up being slapped with the franchise tag and with the team in cap trouble, it looked like 2012 was going to be more of the same.
When the Asante Samuel trade was completed with the Eagles things suddenly became much different.
So with Grimes, Samuel and Dunta Robinson on the roster, the Falcons appear to finally have some measure of depth at corner.
But, the addition of Samuel meant either Grimes or Robinson was sliding down the depth chart to the “inside” or “nickel” slot.
Thomas Dimitroff ended the CB controversy before it could really get started on SiriusXM’s Late Hits.
“I think I see [Samuel] playing outside. I think he and Grimes will more than likely be our outside guys. I can see us moving Dunta inside. I know Dunta has wanted to play inside in the nickel spot. He did it out in Houston before he came our way. He’s an aggressive guy who can play the run as well as be aggressive in the pass game. I think it’s going to be a nice mix of talents.”
“Fortunately, for us, we’re not going to have any banter as far as who wants to play where,” Dimitroff said. “I think all three guys really want to rise to the occasion and help us win football games. As you know, you’re always going to be dealing with respectful egos in this game, there is no question about that, at that position.”
When teams acquire free agents, some of them look like they are going to be winners on paper. Dunta Robinson has had plenty of time since he came to the Falcons in 2010 to morph into the team’s shut down outside corner.
Brent Grimes during that time period has become an acrobatic ball hog that has single-handedly bailed the secondary out of dire straits in the past.
Watching Robinson’s game performances, he skill strengths are more akin to a free safety that can roam the field and play the run and provide help over-the-top.
The Falcons are committed to safeties Thomas DeCoud and William Moore so he’s not going to force any type of shift in either of those areas.
Moving him inside is the smartest thing that the Falcons can do.
Since 2010, Dunta’s national attention has solely been for knocking opponents out such as DeSean Jackson.
He’s a physical player that will knock a guy out of his cleats without thinking twice about it. Playing inside is a much better fit for him.
Dimitroff made the smart move here in two ways. He spoke out on the situation before it the questions really started flying and he delivered the message instead of Coach Mike Smith.
If Smith were forced to do it, it could affect the rhythm of his relationships with the defense that he has to coach.
This is especially true seeing that Samuel and Dimitroff have a history together that dates back to their days with the New England Patriots.
“But having said that and me being around him, Asante, in New England, the personality is there,” Dimitroff said. “He’s an upbeat guy. For him, coming into our system, as you know, he’s one of the most anticipatory defensive backs that I believe is playing in the game. I think we need that. We need the ability to jump the ball and get our hands on balls. I’m hoping that he can add to that.”
This boosted group will now support the leader of the linebackers Sean Weatherspoon and a strong defensive line that has a quality rotation.