FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - When Brent Grimes went down in the very first game, everyone wondered how the Atlanta Falcons would cope without one of their best cornerbacks.
When Asante Samuel banged up his right shoulder, the question came up again.
Turns out, the Falcons' secondary is doing just fine.
Robert McClain, a former seventh-round pick who was cut by his last two teams, has helped make up for the loss of Grimes to an Achilles' injury. Last week, Christopher Owens stepped up with one of the best performances of his career, allowing the Falcons (11-1) to keep winning even after Samuel was knocked out of the game.
Atlanta hopes to have Samuel back on Sunday when it travels to Carolina to face the Panthers (3-9). The Falcons already have clinched the NFC South.