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Robert Alford Willing To Play Any Role In Atlanta Falcons' Defense


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Robert Alford willing to play any role in Atlanta Falcons' defense

Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Keep an eye on Robert Alford Friday night.

Since the Atlanta Falcons' starters are expected to play more against the New York Jets, Alford could see some snaps in the nickel role rather than just outside at cornerback. It's the alignment coach Dan Quinn has utilized this week, allowing Phillip Adams and rookie Jalen Collins to work outside with starter Desmond Trufant sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Although Alford entered the preseason intent on proving he belongs outside at cornerback opposite Trufant, he has no issues kicking inside to cover slot receivers.

"It's something that I always did in college," Alford said. "When Coach (Quinn) and them came to me about starting outside and then moving to nickel this week, I was cool with it. That's more experience that I get instead of just playing outside. I want to show that I'm versatile. This is my chance this week."

That being said, Quinn made it clear how pleased he has been with Alford's performance outside. Many figured Alford might get pushed into a nickel role anyhow after the drafting of the 6-foot-1-inch, 203-pound Collins, a player with the ideal length and speed to be the type of press corner Quinn desires in his scheme. However, Collins' ongoing struggles indicate he might be far from ready to assume a starting role.

The 5-foot-10-inch, 186-pound Alford isn't too concerned about any competition.

"The first thing I said when they came to me about (nickel), I told them I still want my chance to be starting outside," Alford said. "Of course, I'll move inside whenever they need me to and do that, too."

Alford plays bigger than his size, with a physical style capable of disrupting big receivers. He just needs to play with more discipline and avoid penalties, something he has worked diligently on this offseason and preseason thanks to officials being at practice.

Whether his stint at nickel this week is a cameo or a sign of things to come, Alford needs to be effective against the variety of receivers he and his fellow defensive backs will see throughout the season. Tampa Bay has arguably the most dangerous tandem in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Then with New Orleans, there is Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks. And early in the season, the Falcons have to contend with Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz of the New York Giants.

The biggest obstacle for the Falcons' secondary right now is getting Trufant and strong safety William Moore (calf) back healthy.

"Des, he's going to be back," Alford said. "He's doing good. Every day I speak to him, he says he's getting better and better. We'll have him back before the first game; hopefully next week."

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/15116/matt-ryans-many-options-in-falcons-pass-game-should-be-on-display-against-jets

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....supposedly its minor...

quinn has been pretty honest so far when it comes to injuries and even tru said he would be ready by game 1 of the season. my gut tells me he plays game 3 of pre season

but if collins starts outside tonight its going to be a long night even with ryan fitzpatrick as their qb and I like Collins he just not ready yet

Edited by jdawg4876
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quinn has been pretty honest so far when it comes to injuries and even tru said he would be ready by game 1 of the season. my gut tells me he plays game 3 of pre season

but if collins starts outside tonight its going to be a long night even with ryan fitzpatrick as their qb and I like Collins he just not ready yet

gonna be funny as **** if Collins plays better than last week.
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gonna be funny as **** if Collins plays better than last week.

he couldnt play much worse and I like the rookie just think it will take him some time, he is going against far better competition this game, his one advantage is ryan fitzpatrick, he dont like to go deep that much.

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he couldnt play much worse and I like the rookie just think it will take him some time, he is going against far better competition this game, his one advantage is ryan fitzpatrick, he dont like to go deep that much.

Yeah, but even with Fitzmagic at QB, the Jets have a pretty good starting 3 WRs: Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley. This is another pretty good test for the secondary.

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This little tidbit should ease concerns about Trufant.

Quinn already ruled out Moore, Hageman, and Konz for this game.

Quinn did not rule out Reed, Coleman, Freeman, and TRU.

If Tru didn't have any possibility of playing in tonight's game, then he would have ruled him out with the rest of the players aformentioned. Not saying he will play but if it was more serious than we are being told, then he would have been ruled out already.

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