Falcons without 3rd QB and star TE Alge Crumpler is ailing Print
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Thursday, 06 September 2007 14:05
NFL Headline News

 FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) -Rod Coleman and Chris Crocker are unlikely to play in the season opener this weekend at Minnesota.
Four-time Pro Bowl tight end Alge Crumpler might miss his first game since December 2004.
And if those concerns weren't enough, Atlanta Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said Thursday he's is still unsure if the Falcons will sign a third quarterback by Sunday morning.
Joey Harrington and Chris Redman are 1-2 on the depth chart, but the indefinite suspension of Michael Vick and D.J. Shockley's season-ending knee injury has left Atlanta with only practice squad quarterback Casey Bramlet as an alternative.
Petrino still hasn't made a decision, but if Harrington and Redman were injured and the Falcons hadn't designated an emergency quarterback before kickoff, Petrino would use running back Warrick Dunn.
``He would be the one,'' Petrino said.
Not since 1992, when he was a senior at Catholic High School in Baton Rouge, has Dunn played quarterback.
``I guess you'd have to ... get a couple of shotgun snaps, teach them how to do that and draw up a little single-wing or something in case you ever had the problem where two quarterbacks went down in the same game,'' Petrino said. ``I'm a little concerned about having to take time out to do that.''
Redman, who underwent back surgery twice after playing his final game in 2003, has durability issues, but rather than worry too much about hypothetical situations, Petrino has more pressing concerns.
Regarding Crocker, the Falcons believe Jimmy Williams can fill in adequately at free safety. Unfortunately, Crumpler, a four-time Pro Bowl player, and Coleman, a 2005 selection, are essentially irreplaceable.
Since the start of '04, Crumpler leads NFL tight ends with an average of 14.4 yards per catch. Dwayne Blakley would start if Crumpler isn't able.
Coleman's 44.5 sacks are tops among the league's interior defensive linemen since the start of '03.
Petrino hopes Crumpler can return to practice on Friday, but Coleman, who had blood drained from his surgically repaired quadriceps this week, could need more time to rehab.
``If we're going to err about Rod, we're going to err on the side of caution,'' Petrino said. ``We have to make sure he is ready for the rest of the season.''
Coleman was limited in practice Wednesday. After getting hurt while riding a personal watercraft in late April, Coleman missed training camp and the preseason.
He has practiced occasionally over the last month, but never long enough to reclaim his starting job alongside right end John Abraham and nose tackle Grady Jackson.
Jonathan Babineaux, a second-round draft pick from 2005, will start in Coleman's place against the Vikings.
Williams, a second-round pick last year, switched from cornerback to safety after Petrino hired Mike Zimmer as defensive coordinator. Both coaches liked what they saw of Williams in the preseason finale, and they believe he's improved significantly in reading formations and understanding how to disrupt receivers coming across the middle of the field.
``I expect Jimmy to continue to get better,'' Zimmer said. ``He didn't play that good in the (third preseason) game. He was much more physical (in the fourth game). He lined up better, and hopefully we can get him to react on those things fast. ``
Behind Jackson and Babineaux at defensive tackle, the Falcons will rely on rookie Trey Lewis, a sixth-round pick from Washburn University, and former Dallas practice squad player Montavious Stanley, who played for Petrino at Louisville.
 

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