The Falcons had perfect football weather Thursday at the Branch for practice. The team continues to get ready for their first game at the Georgia Dome since October 12, which will be on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Facing the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons will again utilize the versatility of cornerback Robert McClain. In Year 3 with the team, McClain will step in for injured cornerback Robert Alford, who is projected to be out two-to-four weeks with a wrist injury.
Last season, McClain primarily played the nickel spot for Atlanta, and since then he's continued to progress, earning praise from Falcons head coach Mike Smith.
"Robert's an experienced guy that studies the game extremely hard," Smith said. "We anticipate that he'll go out there and get the job done."
Sunday's start will be McClain's first since Week 5 against the New York Giants. Among his 2014 numbers, McClain's biggest stat was the clutch interception against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1, en route to the 37-34 win.
Cleveland comes to town averaging 244.3 passing yards per game, led by wide receiver Andrew Hawkins' 45 receptions for 601 yards (13.4 avg.). Also a threat, wide receiver Josh Gordon returns to the Browns after serving a 10-game suspension. Regardless of the time Gordon sees in Week 12, McClain emphasized a key to success against Cleveland's receiving corps.
"You have to be able to confuse them," McClain said. "You have to be able to get your hands on them in a cautious way. You can't be too aggressive and mess up and then they beat you. You have to minimize mistakes when you're out there covering fast receivers. It also helps when we can confuse the quarterback."