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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.

The athletic 6-foot-2, 215-pound second-year player has been a maven on special teams this preseason.

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“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 was arguing with a bunch of drama queens who were advancing a rumor that Stone was on the chopping block becuase of his DUI as well. Seems now they will realizer the rumor was BS.

He may be cut , but Iit won;t have anything to do with the dui.

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the homers need an excuse as to why he is not doing good. instead of just admitting he is not NFL material. I think he would be great in the AFL or in the UFL coming soon.

i dont make excuses. Shockley WILL be on this team, and you haters will weep, since yall will be wrong.

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I would never weep because he made the team. I would weep if he had to start for us, because we would definitely go 0-16.

you have no faith in your team. Its about leading your team down field not just stats. Stats are good, but Look at Eli. he has horrible stats, but he leads his team down field and now he is a SB winner and SB MVP.

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he did get in trouble didnt he? guess it wasnt serious enough.

yeah, he got a DUI, and there was a nonsense rumor in "Profootballtalk" or something claiming someone inside the organizatuio said Stone's days were numbered becuase they were weeding out bad apples. Some here took that unnamed source rumor and ran with it as far as they could go.

Sheesh.

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yeah, he got a DUI, and there was a nonsense rumor in "Profootballtalk" or something claiming someone inside the organizatuio said Stone's days were numbered becuase they were weeding out bad apples. Some here took that unnamed source rumor and ran with it as far as they could go.

Sheesh.

isnt that how it always is, gaz? people do that all the time, plus the double standard.

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you have no faith in your team. Its about leading your team down field not just stats. Stats are good, but Look at Eli. he has horrible stats, but he leads his team down field and now he is a SB winner and SB MVP.

He had better stats than Shockley.

Stats are an indicator of whether someone will be able to do it on a consistant basis. Yes, it is possible in a GAME to have a bad statistical game but do well. On a full season it is prohibitively unliekly. ON drive after drive after drive, it is prohibitively unlikely. I am sorry, but no matter what sort of spin you put on it, SHockley still did not look like an NFL ready QB.

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