Few Falcons Left to Soar in 2007

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP)
Keith Brooking says the Atlanta Falcons have no reason to panic.

Yes, Patrick Kerney now plays in Seattle. Rod Coleman and
Demorrio Williams might not return from injuries for several
months.

Grady Jackson is embroiled in a lawsuit with the Falcons, and
Jonathan Babineaux faces criminal charges in nearby Gwinnett
County. Chris Crocker has been demoted, and Atlanta cut Jason
Webster two months after releasing Ed Hartwell.

Only right end John Abraham, left cornerback DeAngelo Hall,
strong safety Lawyer Milloy and strongside linebacker Michael Boley
return as starters along with Brooking. The five-time Pro Bowl
linebacker is adamant, though, that new coordinator Mike Zimmer
will field a competitive defense in 2007.

Brooking said today -- quote -- ``You've just got to push
forward and play the game of football. Every team faces it every
year. Good teams fight through the hard times, plug those holes and
move on. That's the only way you can approach it.''

The Falcons, with just three winning records in Brooking's nine
N-F-L seasons, have already plugged in first-round draft pick
Jamaal Anderson to replace Kerney at left end.

Atlanta's second pick of the second round, cornerback Chris
Houston, is expected to start on the right side in a job Webster
held for most of the last three years. If he meets expectations,
Houston should become a starter by the September ninth opener at
Minnesota.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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