FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. To look at the arc of the career of Falcons cornerback Christopher Owens from a certain direction, one can see a downward trend.
As a rookie in 2009, Owens started six games. Then it was three the next season, two last and just one this one in 12 games.
Yet on Thursday, when Falcons starting left cornerback Asante Samuel went out of the game on the third play from scrimmage, Owens had to step in against a New Orleans offense that had bedeviled the Falcons. In the teams previous seven meetings, the Saints had averaged nearly 29 points against Atlanta.
However, as much as Owens young career has been marked by struggles notably against Green Bay in the playoffs in January 2011, as the Packers whipped the Falcons 48-21 he has made slow, steady strides that suddenly became noticeable against New Orleans last week.
Owens illustrated why the front office and coaching staff have had so much faith in him when others have questioned why the Falcons kept him on the rost...