The offseason brought about two important additions for the Falcons. By way of those additions comes some changes as well.
New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan walks into Atlanta carrying a reputation as one of the best defensive minds in the game. Asante Samuel walks into Atlanta's secondary as one of the best defensive corners in the game.
The addition of Nolan means more nickel packages, a system employing five defensive backs on the field to better defend the pass. The addition of Samuel gives the Falcons three cornerbacks that are capable of starting on any team in the league.
It's a great problem to have and the discussion of who will move inside and how Atlanta's big three cornerback trio (Dunta Robinson and Brent Grimes in addition to Samuel) will work together has run rampant through the Falcons fan base.
It's still early, but it appears Robinson will play in the inside during nickel packages and still remain on the outside at times when two corners are on the field. Robinson said on Tuesday during Atlanta's opening OTA practice that he would slide inside on "certain downs."
Of the three, Robinson has the most experience playing inside and it's actually a role he embraces and has wanted to do more of since joining the Falcons in 2010. During his first six years in the league with Houston, he played as the nickel corner frequently.
"I would slide inside and DeMarcus Faggins would play outside," Robinson said. "It'd give me a chance to do a lot of different things inside. It's something I've been asking to do around here, but personnel reasons, they wanted to keep me outside. I think it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm back at home. I've made a lot plays inside so I'm excited about going back in there."
Robinson describes Samuel as a playmaker and welcomes that kind of talent to his secondary openly. With all three on the field he sees a secondary that will make offenses have to be very selective about how they attack. The variety of looks that the three corners can help give the Falcons defense is something Robinson says is a trademark of a Nolan defense
The versatility is also something Robinson enjoys. As a player that likes to float around the field, moving inside and outside on different downs is something the corner says he'll enjoy. Also, he loves the physicality of playing inside as opposed to outside and Robinson's physical play is one of his own trademarks.
"Outside you're kind of a finesse player," he said. "When you move inside, that's where the action is, where all the big guys (are). It's kind of like you're a small linebacker on the inside. It's very different."