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Falcons' DBs getting healthy for Saints

Atlanta’s defensive backfield appears to be getting healthy at just the right time.

Coach Mike Smith said Monday he expects cornerbacks Brent Grimes and Kelvin Hayden to return to practice Tuesday as the Falcons begin preparing for a Dec. 26 showdown with Drew Brees and the pass-happy Saints.

Grimes, who normally starts opposite Dunta Robinson, missed the last three games after having a minor surgical procedure on his knee. Hayden had been the team’s primary nickel back, but he missed the last four games with a toe injury.

The Falcons have been getting by with Christopher Owens and Dominique Franks playing with Robinson. Owens and Franks have been adequate, but neither of them is as athletic as Grimes or as experienced as Hayden.