Atlanta Falcons' James Sanders and Dominique Franks Stepping Up

Frank SpartiCorrespondent IIDecember 8, 2011

James Sanders knocks ball loose
James Sanders knocks ball looseKevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There's some good news in the Atlanta Falcons secondary, despite Brent Grimes being out.

Yes, you read those words right.

When players go down with injury it is usually hoped the next player up can survive until the starter returns. Once in a while the player stepping in steps up and excels.

Dominique Franks, who was drafted in the fifth round and has not played much because of injury, is just such a player. The biggest issue with Franks was rumored to be his confidence level and lack of experience.

All issues seem to be improving for the DB, and it appears he will be able to hold his own against opposing wide receivers. Last week he went up against Houston's Andre Johnson and he was in position to make plays. He did get beat once but only because Johnson is so strong and an exceptional player.

This week Franks will go up against Carolina's Steve Smith. We will see if the lessons Franks has learned will help him shut down Smith, and I'm looking forward to seeing the matchup.

James Sanders is also playing well as he gets more accustomed to the Atlanta defensive scheme. He is a heads-up player with great experience.

One of the best things about watching football is seeing players improve and become indispensable to their team. I think we can add two more players to the list.