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Falcons' Jalen Collins: Depth chart drop 'ain't nothing to be down about'


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http://www.espn.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/27885/falcons-jalen-collins-depth-chart-drop-aint-nothing-to-be-down-about

 

 

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- No one expected Jalen Collins to retain his starting job from the end of last season, not with one-time Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant back from a pectoral injury.

But many believed Collins, a 2015 second-round draft pick from LSU, would remain in a backup cornerback role for the Atlanta Falcons going into 2017, considering he started the Super Bowl in place of Trufant.

 

Such hasn't been the case through the first five practices of training camp, and it's somewhat mysterious. During Tuesday's padded practice, Collins found himself on the field opposite undrafted rookie cornerback Jarnor Jones and lined up to cover undrafted rookie receiver Reginald Davis III. Collins was running with the third-string defense in this particular 11-on-11 drill, going against an offense directed by fourth-string quarterback and undrafted rookie Alek Torgersen.

And to think, Collins was on the field contending with Tom Brady about six months ago.

"Of course, it sucks," Collins told ESPN regarding his drop down the depth chart. "Everyone wants to be out there flying around and competing and stuff. But at the same time, it's not all about me. It's about my brothers and just trying to help those guys.

"It ain't nothing to be down about. ... I don't feel like it's a situation where they don't believe in me or don't trust me or anything like that. They're just trying to give everybody else some extra reps; guys that haven't been in situations like that."

Collins' defensive reps have been limited to start camp, and his reps with the bottom of the roster players have been definitely noticeable. Trufant and Robert Alford are the starters, and C.J. Goodwin and Deji Olatoye have been the two typically running with the second team. Akeem King, who was injured last season, has shown up more than Collins. And even starting nickelback Brian Poole has seen more reps outside at corner than Collins on certain days.

So what exactly is going on with Collins? Is he in the doghouse with the coaches for some reason?

"He's not getting as many [reps], and that's just from a coaching decision," coach Dan Quinn said. "There might be days when he gets more. So for me, we've got [18] guys back there. We're trying to work it all the way through. For me, tomorrow, it could be different."

 

Is Collins being disciplined for violating team or NFL rules? Remember, he came to the Falcons with some red flags after failing three drug tests at LSU. Once with the team, Collins was suspended without pay for the first four games of his second season for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Teams don't talk about whether a player failed a drug test, at least not publicly. The NFL office sends out news releases announcing suspensions related to such violations.

"It's nothing like that," Collins said, insisting no such trouble has led to his demotion. "It's strictly just trying to get guys with a little less experience, trying to get those guys their reps."

Collins mentioned multiple times, "I've been in this situation before." He was heavily criticized after starting just two games as a rookie despite talk of him having first-round talent. The Falcons raved about the 6-foot-1, 203-pound Collins' length and overall playmaking ability, but it didn't show up during his disappointing first year.

Then last year, Collins showed signs of promise after Trufant went down nine games into the season. Collins started six games during the regular season and had two interceptions. Then he started all three playoff games, although he regressed in a 34-28 overtime Super Bowl loss to New England.

There have been no whispers about the Falcons giving up on Collins or seeking to trade him. The preseason games might give him a chance to work his way back up the depth chart, whether that means making a splash play on defense or excelling on special teams.

Collins was asked if he expects to be on the 53-man roster to start the regular season.

"Yeah," he said. "I know everybody's out here trying to get better, and I know Coach has the team's best interest at hand. I'm just out here trying to help as much as I can.''

Quinn talked about where Collins needs to improve moving forward.

"From Jalen, we're always going to challenge him and play him outside quite a bit," Quinn said, "and so playing at the line of scrimmage and playing really aggressive there. And then finding his role on [special] teams, where he's a gunner. ... He's off to a good start. We're not down on him."

Edited by OC
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sorry, There is something up here. I understand wanting to see what some of the new guys have and also that Quinn likes to throw Rooks in with the starters early in camp so they are at max pressure.  However, moving only one guy down the chart to get that under pressure look at the rooks doesn't hold water to me. At worst, he's got some sort of charges pending.  At the very least, Quinn or one of the coaches is trying to teach him a lesson to work harder because it can all change in a blink when you don't.

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I think this is just some unnecessary drama. Collins will be on the team. Goodwin is making his case. But it's not like we're hearing Olatoye and King light it up with the two's. I think Manuel knows what he has in Collins and wants to get a better look at the other two. Tru is coming back from injury and needs the work. Where are the snaps at that point? 

But you know... for some the SB happened and it's Collins fault and he needs to be cut for it so...

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11 minutes ago, vel said:

I think this is just some unnecessary drama. Collins will be on the team. Goodwin is making his case. But it's not like we're hearing Olatoye and King light it up with the two's. I think Manuel knows what he has in Collins and wants to get a better look at the other two. Tru is coming back from injury and needs the work. Where are the snaps at that point? 

But you know... for some the SB happened and it's Collins fault and he needs to be cut for it so...

and some go into threads about camp and "like" every post that makes it sound like Collins is a bust. Whistling smileys

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4 minutes ago, hjerry said:

and some go into threads about camp and "like" every post that makes it sound like Collins is a bust. Whistling smileys

Because their ego is more important than the team right now. They'll be quiet when Collins is making plays in a few weeks/months. They usually are loudest around this time. 

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I hope all is well and he starts climbing back up the depth chart. I fully expect him on the 53 unless there is more to the story.

I admit, like I said in the other thread, my mind is starting to wonder if a suspension is looming. Sounds like, and I hope, that I am wrong. Still feel like lack of effort or something during the off-season has led to the perceived demotion. I certainly don't think SB play has anything to do with it. 

Maybe he will be back out their getting some 1st and 2nd team snaps soon enough.

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50 minutes ago, vel said:

I think this is just some unnecessary drama. Collins will be on the team. Goodwin is making his case. But it's not like we're hearing Olatoye and King light it up with the two's. I think Manuel knows what he has in Collins and wants to get a better look at the other two. Tru is coming back from injury and needs the work. Where are the snaps at that point? 

But you know... for some the SB happened and it's Collins fault and he needs to be cut for it so...

Yeah, doubt Collins is going anywhere. Agree, think they're looking at the others because they know what Collins can do. Wouldn't be surprised if the coaches told him that, which is why he's not too upset.

He was part of the D that got the 28-3 lead, then he got tired like the rest of the team did. Collins was third in passes defensed last year on the Falcons regular season, in only 8 games, that's too valuable a commodity to let walk.

Man is only 24 and still on his rookie contract. He's signed for 2 more years for cap hits of 1.4 and 1.7 mil. He's something like the 80th highest paid corner this year. Think people also have to realize he was extremely raw when he was drafted, then, in his second year, they put him in a new scheme; which had to set him back.

Aside from some off field issues, which I haven't heard of, think Collins is on the 53.

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I honestly wonder if something is up behind the scenes that they are keeping hush hush about. I get the fact that they need to fully evaluate other guys but Collins should be getting more reps than he is at this point. I think he makes the 53 obviously, but it seems like he may be in the dog house for a reason we are unaware of. He filled in admirably for Trufant. There is no reason not to retain a guy like that (outside of legal issues which none have been reported). 

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Let's just wait until the preseason games then we should see him out there along with everyone else trying to score a job before we pass judgement.  Dude did ball out during the end of the season and during the playoffs.  Can't make him a martyr just because of the Super Bowl because then you have to add Freeman's missed block and other things.  

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Trufant has not played his position since November and probably needs to get all the practice in possible to get back up to prime.  And, since he will be playing against the best receivers, he really needs to face the Falcons best.

Goodwin is probably a real possibility to be cut and the coaches probably want to see a significant portion of his play against at least 2nd tier talent as opposed to rookies that he can cover easily.

Collins has shown his skills as recently as February and probably does not need to prove himself or get up to speed as much, so playing less with the rookies probably makes more sense for him.

If Collins had done something like failed a drug test or told Quinn off, there would be more happening than Collins just not playing as much.

 

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Just like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this team is in prime position to make some legitimate trades, unlike most NFL teams ever. Corner is the most logical place to offer up someone, everyone but the Falcons are shorthanded there and Collins should yield a nice return, such as a 1st/2nd round pick.

Just too many good players at CB, mentioned couple of months ago that I would not take anything less than a 2nd for Goodwin (all the gongs came out), it is early but still maintain that. King may be coming into his own, and maybe Olatoye.

Collins was drafted the highest, which means he would command more in a trade, but what if Goodwin, King, and Olatoye were just as good. It would be an easy decision to keep Goodwin, King, and Olatoye.

 

Edited by Cheap Talk
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2 hours ago, Dem Birds said:

Hopefully it's like Jalen said and they just know kind of what they have and want to see some other guys. I think Jalen did more than enough to be one of our top 4 corners. 

Well, they know what they have in Trufant and Alford and they aren't doing this with them.

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I don't see this as an issue or a demotion. Time will tell I guess but I see it as:

1. Give your starters their reps.

2. Give your back ups as much exp as possible. Jalen has most experience as he played the back half of the season and preseason. 

So, jalen needs the least amount of reps as far as back ups are concerned right now. Barring some disciplinary thing we haven't heard of yet, he will be our #1 back up. He isn't going anywhere, nothing is wrong with him, and no one is mad at him - coaching wise.

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