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Yeah, he was very solid. Not tremendous, because a few times he was saved by an underthrown ball by Vinny. That said, it was a very encouraging performance from a rookie corner. He's going to be a good one.
Now, if Hall and Petrino could just kiss and make up, we could have a really good CB tandem for a long time...
this draft is so crucial for the future of the falcons. im getting excited at what this team will become in 2-3 years. a veteran hall paired with a seasoned and physical houston with upgraded safeties. on offense, a promising pocket passer in brohm, woodson, or ryan with a mendenhall or stewart complemented by the elusive yet explosive norwood protected by a 310+ lb OL.
Flowery Branch — Tampa Bay veteran quarterback Jeff Garcia has seen his share of cornerbacks over a 14-year professional career.
The meek don't last long at the high-profile position. And Garcia, with his accurate arm, has caused his share of cornerback nightmares.
Falcons cornerback Chris Houston breaks up a pass in the endzone intended for Panthers' wide receiver Drew Carter. It was the second-round pick's first start as a first-stringer.
While getting ready to face the Falcons at 1 p.m. on Sunday at the Georgia Dome, Garcia gave rookie cornerback Chris Houston, who has four starts in the league, the ultimate compliment.
"There's something to be said about having bookend shutdown corners, that enables your defense to do certain things," Garcia said. "Houston for a young guy, a rookie, is playing very well. I'm very aware of him and what he's capable of doing."
You don't normally hear the magic words shutdown corner and rookie in the same paragraph.
"He does a great job in his man-to-man coverage," Garcia said. "He has no fear out there on the field."
The Falcons brought the second-round pick along slowly. He spot-started in three games before giving way to Lewis Sanders. Last Sunday against Carolina was his first start as a first-stringer, and he rarely came off the field.
Houston did not mind being eased into full-time duty.
"It was a great thing for me to learn and watch because I saw how I needed to do things," Houston said. "I had two veterans in front of me, Lewis and DeAngelo [Hall]. I just got to see how they approach things."
While breaking in a cornerback, the Falcons knew that Houston would be a target. They didn't want him to suffer too many early setbacks that could have stunted his development.
Sanders helped show Houston the ropes.
"He listens to what you have to say and not only that, he goes out there and he works hard," Sanders said. "If you tell him something, he goes out there and he does what you tell him to do."
For Sanders, an eight-year veteran who's started for Cleveland and Houston, it was tough training a player he knew would eventually move into his spot.
"Yeah it was tough, but they wanted me to come here and help him out, help him mature," Sanders said. "It's all about winning."
Houston is grateful.
"He was real helpful," Houston said. "If I needed any help with anything he was there for me and to show me."
Carolina quarterback Vinny Testaverde tried to expose Houston last Sunday, but he ended up with eight tackles and two pass breakups, including a crucial one in the fourth quarter on a deep pass intended for Drew Carter.
"They tried to go at him a few times last week and he stepped up every time," Sanders said.
Garcia has a couple of crafty veteran wide receivers in Joey Galloway (13th year) and Ike Hilliard (11th), who leads the team in receptions.
When the Falcons are not in zone coverage, Houston will likely defend Hilliard. With Hall getting the speed merchant Galloway.
"He knows that people are going to go after him because DeAngelo's on the other side," Falcons coach Bobby Petrino said. "He's a great competitor. He does a great job of competing."
The veterans on the unit are starting to acknowledge Houston.
"He has the ability to challenge receivers, get in their face and be physical with them," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "He has the speed to run down the field with them. He's just going to continue to get better and better."
"He's the leader of the next great class of NFL players." - John Elway on Matt Ryan
I was a huge fan of Houston's. Yeah, there certainly were some concerns about him, but I thought he had all the tools to become a top corner in the league, and he had the attitude (in a positive way) that some guys just don't have. Good to see he's doing well.
I've always really liked Houston, and he is stepping up big. Let's hope it continues, because Hall and Houston is a great combo. And in the worst case, if DeAngelo wants no part of us, Houston could be ready to step in.
I just doubt that Deangelo Goes anywhere...I think he's going to lock in to Atlanta for the long term and there aren't many defenses that are going to be better than ours over the next couple seasons, they're improving vastly this season, and the youngsters all over the defense are doing well, but they'll turn over that veteran leaf soon, and this defense will be one that is feared.