Earlier this week, we noted the possibility that Ricardo Allen could see time at cornerback. It would require both Desmond Trufant and Brian Poole to be out Sunday, yes, but it was not outlandish to assume that might happen. We just hoped it wouldn’t.
With Atlanta down Trufant and possibly down Poole, who was downgraded to questionable against the Vikings, the chances of Allen playing nickel cornerback just increased considerably. That’s per Vaughn McClure, who is extremely reliable when it comes to reports like this. We may get some Blidi Wreh-Wilson and maybe even Robert Alford at nickel, depending on how the Vikings align their personnel, but it appears the Falcons will put one of their most trusted defenders at a critical position.
It’s worth remembering that Allen’s coverage chops are better than the average free safety. The former fifth round pick was actually drafted as a corner and might have stayed there if Dan Quinn hadn’t come along and transitioned him to safety, and Allen was an aggressive ballhawk at Purdue. Chances are that he won’t fare any worse than C.J. Goodwin or Blidi Wreh-Wilson would at nickel, and frankly, he might be better.
The only problem is that Allen might be facing off against Adam Thielen, a dangerous opponent and a challenge even for Poole if he was healthy. I’m still holding out hope that Poole will be up for this one, but if he’s not, we may get an extended look at Allen at nickel corner and Damontae Kazee at free safety. I believe in both, and I hope they’ll reward that belief with quality performances.