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Falcons find comfort at safety spot


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Falcons find comfort at safety spot

By D. ORLANDO LEDBETTER

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Flowery Branch — When Falcons backup safety Daren Stone enters the game, there are usually some bodies flying nearby.

“He’s made some very nice hits on special teams,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said after Tuesday’s afternoon practice. “He’s done a very good job.”

Stone, a sixth-round draft pick in 2007 from Maine, made the team last season and played in 12 games. The Falcons need to upgrade the safety position with Lawyer Milloy heading into his 13th season and the last year of his contract.

The Falcons also signed free safety Erik Coleman in the offseason.

Stone probably can’t crack the starting lineup, but he can be a force on special teams while still learning to play safety in the NFL.

“In the first preseason game he had three outstanding tackles,” Smith said. “Of course he had a nice interception in the first game when he made a break on the football.”

The Falcons also drafted safety Thomas DeCoud this year. Antoine Harris can play safety and cornerback. Deke Cooper, a free agent who played for Smith when he was an assistant in Jacksonville, was signed.

“I’m in a position where I’m competing with a lot of good safeties,” Stone said. “There is a lot of good competition and it’s making me play better.”

Stone has not backed down from the competition.

“That’s part of football camp,” Stone said. “You’ve got to beat out people every year. You have to come in here and compete. I just came in with my hard hat and lunch pail. I’m going out there playing hard and hitting hard.”

Stone knows his calling card is delivering the big hit.

“I’m out there head-hunting,” Stone said. “I’m trying to hit people with everything that I’ve got. I’m out there going full speed and just competing.”

Boley’s back

Linebacker Michael Boley (back) returned to practice. He was kicked in the back in the second quarter against Indianapolis Saturday.

“That’s good that he was only out for one day,” Smith said.

Brown cut

Isaac Brown, an undrafted free agent from Central Michigan, was waived. He’s been out of practice for two weeks with an undisclosed injury.

Shockley’s motion

Last season, head coach Bobby Petrino tried to change D.J. Shockley’s throwing motion before he went down with a season-ending knee injury.

“This year the coaching staff, was like you got here for one reason and how you got here was good enough,” Shockley said. “They felt that nothing was wrong with my release and with the way I throw the ball.

“That’s been one good thing that I don’t have to worry about with each and every throw. They just say ‘Hey, you’ve been a quarterback, you be a quarterback.’ “

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i have always loved stone since we drafted him...i knew he ha dbig play ability and hes done nothing but show it this preseason...milloy's future backup for sure!

Stone needs to watch Milloy like a hawk and learn learn learn. YOu instill the work ethic and smarts of Milloy into Stone's athleticism and. . I like the mental image.

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Last season i made a comparison of Stone to Sean Taylor (before he died, RIP brotha), altho Stone isnt as strong and obviously not as good as Taylor, they are similar in a few ways.

They are both big guys, both with alot of speed, both with alot of athleticism, and they like to play physically. And although they play different positions, Stone could work his way to be alot like Taylor.

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