Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Falcons just got finished with their morning session and I'm planning to have a sit-down interview with coach Mike Smith before the afternoon practice. In the meantime, hereare some observations from this morning.
I know there's been a lot of talk about the battle for the starting cornerback job opposite Chris Houston. But I'm not so sure this battle is really still a battle. It looks like Brent Grimes might have settled things already. The Falcons keep raving about Grimes' athletic ability. Rookie Christopher Owens, Chevis Jackson and Von Hutchins are still in the mix, but I think they might be fighting for the nickelback job. I'll have a more extensive column on Grimes in the next few days.
A lot of people ask if the Falcons will get Jerious Norwood more involved in the running game this year. I can tell you this much -- they don't want Michael Turner carrying 376 times this year. But don't look for Norwood's carries to suddenly spike dramatically. He may get a few more carries and receptions out of the backfield. But there's a fine line here because you don't want to take the ball out of Turner's hands too much.
The Falcons are still sorting out things for the No. 3 wide receiver spot after Harry Douglas went down with a season-ending injury. Much will be determined by the preseason games, but the early word is that Robert Ferguson, who was signed immediately after Douglas' injury, has made a very good impression so far.
The Falcons are listing Grimes as their punt returner and Norwood as the kickoff returner right now. But that may be only temporary. If they're playing extensively at their regular positions, the Falcons may be hesitant to overload them. Look for Owens and some of the young receivers to get a look in the return game during the preseason.