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Cb Collins Struggling, Getting Constant 'tongue Lashings'

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Jalen Collins didn't make any excuses.

The Atlanta Falcons rookie cornerback knows he has struggled so far through training camp. The tongue-lashings he's routinely gotten from secondary coach Marquand Manuel only reinforce the fact.

"You just handle it the way you handle any tough practice: take it with a grain of salt, get on the film, see what you did wrong and try to correct it," Collins said.

So what has been the biggest issue hindering his play?

"It's really all about the eye discipline," Collins said. "If you put your eyes in the wrong place, your body's going to do the wrong thing. You just have to be disciplined with your eyes."

Such wasn't the case for Collins last week when he got torched back to back by Leonard Hankerson and Devin Hester in 1-on-1 drills. No one expects Collins to be a lockdown guy on every play, but those two instances illustrate how far he has to go.

"When you mess up on the little things over and over, it does get a little bit frustrating," Collins said. "But you've just got to calm yourself down and keep going."

His encounters with the team's top player, Julio Jones, also have been an education.

"It's really definitely a learning experience to see what other great receivers are going to be like around the league," Collins said. "Going against him, I just try to do my best every time. I try to take something away from it every time."

Collins came to the Falcons as a second-round pick out of LSU. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound defensive back possesses the ideal size and length to develop into the type of press cornerback Falcons coach Dan Quinn desires. But Collins already had one obstacle working against him after failing multiple drug tests in college. He said those matters are behind him and he has the support of team owner Arthur Blank.

Collins also had to overcome a pre-draft foot surgery, a procedure which limited his offseason participation. He started to feel himself again at the end of minicamp.

Now, Collins has to prove himself worthy of serious playing time alongside Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. Many assumed Collins would surpass Alford playing on the outside, but Alford's strong offseason and start to training camp would indicate otherwise.

As the Falcons prepare for their exhibition opener against Tennessee on Friday, Collins appears to be the fourth cornerback behind Trufant, Alford, and likely nickelback Phillip Adams.

"They haven't worked me at nickel any, but just kind of watching and seeing, you kind of learn it," Collins said. "If they need me in nickel, I'll be more than happy to play it."

Assistant head coach Raheem Morris, the defensive pass game coordinator, talked about how Collins has handled his struggles.

"As a young corner, you see this all the time," Morris said. "You get into this league and guys get faster; routes get more crisp. When you're in practice, you've got to go through the growing pains now. Better now than later.

"He's taken (the criticism) like a champ. He's a coachable kid. We loved everything about him in the draft process. Hopefully we can get him going in the right direction."


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I knew he was a big project when we drafted him. He'll be like Alford, he'll have plenty of growing pains. But at least Quinn's scheme is more simple, so that may speed up the learning curve.

Don't expect him to be Trufant though, Trufant has elite foot and hip movement.

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It hurts more that Gregory has been impressive in camp ...

I think every team that passed on him expected him to show well to this point... I think the question was more in regards to being able to stay on the field because of drug policy violations that caused teams to pass on him. I think he would have been worth the risk, I'm a little more disappointed about passing on Jake Fisher in the 2nd... but I'm not hung up about it.

That said, I do think that Collins will overtake Alford at the corner spot, and Alford will move in to Nickel. No slight to Alford on that - NB is basically a starter now, and I think that's where he could be great.

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We knew Collins was inexperienced, having started only a handful of games at LSU. He will probably need more time to learn some fundamentals as well as the scheme and the roles he's asked to play. Gregory falling into the second seemed like a gift to me but for now I'll put some faith in Quinn's draft pick and say that a taller CB is needed to match up with the big receivers in our division. Let's see how improved the pass rush is with the additions that we made before bemoaning the decision to pass on Gregory.

If the knock on Beasley is that he does not have the prototypical size to play well against the run, he is definitely more suited to be a 3-down player than Gregory. Plus, all reports say that Clayborn has had a great camp so he'll likely be the starter at right DE which is where the Cowboys have Gregory on their depth chart.

I think that Beasley and Clayborn plus an improved Hageman should be a big upgrade over last season. Can't wait to see if it's a reality

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if coaches are giving you a hard time, don't worry. You'll get it.

Start worrying when they go quiet.

yep, coaches pretty much yell at potential, people they feel are worth the yelling. when they ignore you; if you aren't already a proven player, then worry

1st comes the yelling, then the quietness. We're just in phase 1 first. We have yet to hit phase 2, but it's coming.

The guy isn't cut out for this. I said that when we drafted him. There was a reason why he didn't start too many games at lsU, I said that too.

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