Mora excited about rookies
Jim Mora
Jim Mora
Publisher
Posted Nov 9, 2005


Jim Mora can't say enough about Atlanta's rookie class.

"You never want to give them the excuse that you are a rookie, or you are a young guy," the Falcons coach said. "When they go in, they are expected to perform at a standard. If you expect it, demand it, and emphasize it, then I think you have a good chance of getting it if you pick the right guys, which we have."

For the second time in two drafts under Falcons president and general manager Rich McKay, Mora has first-year players making huge contributions on offense, defense and special teams.

Receiver Roddy White, a first-round pick from Alabama-Birmingham, made his first start last week and impressed coaches and teammates with his physical style of play. Defensive lineman Jonathan Babineaux, the second-rounder from Iowa who swings from under tackle to right end, showed athleticism and speed in his starting debut.

Fourth-round pick Chauncey Davis of Florida State started in Weeks 2 and 3 at defensive end. Linebacker Michael Boley of Southern Mississippi continues to show the ability to get off blocks. He started for the third straight game at Miami.

Seventh-round pick Darrell Shropshire was active for the first time in a Week 7 win over the Jets.

Last year brought one immediate starter in cornerback DeAngelo Hall and five other players who held important roles in 2004 and earned starts over the past two seasons.

Based solely on contributions he made in his first 26 games, linebacker Demorrio Williams, a fourth-round pick from Nebraska, has become the best asset. Nose tackle Chad Lavalais, a fifth-rounder from LSU, made five starts last year, second only to Hall, and earned a first-team job in training camp.

Quarterback Matt Schaub, a third-round choice from Virginia, is 0-2 as a starter, but he clearly showed the moxie needed to move the offense at critical junctures in a Week 4 loss to New England.

Receiver Michael Jenkins beat out Peerless Price for a starting job during OTAs. He started the first seven games this season before an ankle injury sidelined him last week at Miami.

"In the course of a 60-play game, there's going to be some negative plays and there's going to be some positive plays, but if you compound either way, you get stuck in the play," Mora said. "You just have to keep going. Put in behind you and go, and that is what our guys have learned to do. That is what mature players learn to do. I am impressed with the rookies."


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