As Coy Wire continues to prove his value to the Atlanta Falcons, his teammates explain what the linebacker brings to the team.
The 53-man roster quests of Ian Johnson and Coy Wire will continue when the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, respectively, return to preseason action on Friday.
Johnson, fresh off a stellar 50-yard performance (Highlights) against the Indianapolis Colts in the Vikings’ preseason opener, will aim to contribute in what promises to be a big night at the H.H.H. Metrodome on Friday. The Vikings host the Kansas City Chiefs in what figures to be Brett Favre‘s debut with the local team.
Kickoff is at 8 p.m. ET, and the game can be seen in a re-air on NFL Network at 11 p.m. ET on Friday.
Wire returns to the field on Friday night as well, as the Falcons visit St. Louis to take on the Rams. Game time is 8 p.m. ET, and a replay of the game can be seen on NFL Network at 2 a.m. ET on Saturday.
Here is a look at the other On The Fringe players in action during this weekend’s preseason games …
Still looking for his first reception since making arguably the greatest catch in Super Bowl history, David Tyree returns to action when the Giants visit Soldier Field to play the Bears on Saturday. Game time is 8 p.m. ET, but a replay of the game can be seen on NFL Network at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday.
Attempting to separate himself in a crowded situation at receiver for the Cardinals, Lance Long returns to action against the Chargers at 10 p.m. ET on Saturday (NFL Network replay of the game will air at 1:30 a.m. on Sunday). Long’s quest to make the Cardinals’ final roster got off to a solid start last week against the Steelers, as the second-year receiver caught five passes for 48 yards (Highlights).
Coy Wire made an appearance in the Falcons’ 27-26 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions on Saturday.
The linebacker made two consecutive tackles in the fourth quarter, including one for a loss. He finished with three total tackles on the day.
D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution expounded on five Falcons position battles, with strongside linebacker as the first on the list.
Coy Wire and Stephen Nicholas were listed as challengers.
- Nicholas was listed at No. 1 on the depth chart. He’s off to a good start in training camp. It’s the third-year player’s position to lose.
Jamie Winborn — signed on the first day of camp — is a wild card for the spot if Nicholas and Wire do not make the cut. Full story …
Third-year linebacker Stephen Nicholas, who was promoted to starter at outside linebacker over the offseason, had high praise for his teammate, Coy Wire, after Wednesday’s practice.
“It is great to see God use him, God is almighty and Coy is a blessing man,” Nicholas said.
When introducing Wire for the On The Fringe series, NFL.com’s Steve Wyche wrote that the Falcons linebacker is deeply spiritual, and one of the more respected and inspiring players on the team.
“I’ve always lived my life as a man of faith, and for me to doubt and not trust in God now, who had gotten me this far … would be an insult to Him,” Wire told NFL.com. “We are more capable than we know. We are capable of so much more than we think is humanly possible.”
NFL.com senior analyst Pat Kirwan visited Falcons training camp and filed this report on our man On The Fringe, Coy Wire.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Everybody loves the Rocky story. The guy against all odds who makes it.
The Falcons have their Rocky in a linebacker named Coy Wire. When I was with the Jets, we had Wayne Chrebet, who defied all odds to make the team and went on to have a great career. Wire is an inspirational young man, maybe too slow to be a safety and maybe too small to be a linebacker. He is in the second week of camp, and after talking with front office people and coaches, Wire’s journey continues the steady climb to the final roster.
As I watched Wire practice as the second-team weak side linebacker on base defense and the second-team ‘backer in nickel defense, it doesn’t look like he is pushing the starters to break into the first group, but it is clear that he will make this team. As I watch Wire practice, he reminds me of Larry Izzo, an undersized linebacker who started his career in Miami, got signed in New England to be a core player on special teams and in a pinch plays linebacker.
One Falcons executive called Wire “Izzo plus,” because he feels Wire will deliver the same production Izzo brings on special teams, but may have a little more as a linebacker. Time will tell if that assessment is accurate, as Izzo enters his 14th NFL season. Wire enters his eighth season and looks better now than he did as a backup safety in Buffalo, where he played after graduating from Stanford.
Wire is a core player on the special teams, which means he is going to be on the field for close to 30 plays a game. I knew he would make the final 53-man roster when I watched him work as the personal protector on the punt team. The “PP,” as he is known, is the quarterback of the all-important special teams unit and Wire looks like a very good “PP.”
As for Wire’s linebacker duties, a week ago he was considered the first ‘backer off the bench if there was an injury, but the recent signing of veteran Jamie Winborn puts the first backup role in some jeopardy. Two weeks into camp, Wire can back up the “Sam” or “Will” linebacker spots, but he may really be the fifth ‘backer on the depth chart. As for taking on NFL offensive linemen, Wire’s ability to leverage a blocker and guide a runner to the other ‘backer needs work. It is tough up at the line of scrimmage for a guy barely six feet tall.
Wire could play a more prominent role in nickel defense, because of the coverage skills he learned playing safety in Buffalo. He can match up with a second tight end or zone off a slot receiver, and in a pinch, he could make the nickel package calls because he has solid football intelligence.
Falcons fans will see Wire on the field making tackles on special teams. However, unless there are a few injuries to the linebackers, he will be on the sidelines, ever ready to step on the field and help this Atlanta defense stop its opponent. There is a tremendous amount of trust from the organization that Wire makes them better. His roster spot appears secure, even at the expense of releasing a young linebacker with more potential, but less to offer the 2009 team. If I were to put Wire’s preseason on a line graph, it would be a steady and slow rising line that will never peak at the top but will never dip to the bottom.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution took an in-depth look at the Atlanta Falcons’ situation at linebacker, giving prominent mention to our man On The Fringe, Coy Wire.
- We originally could assume that since Wire not only earned a roster spot as a backup LB, but also replaced Michael Boley as the full-time starter, that he likely has a pretty safe spot. However, The Falcons then went out and signed Jamie Winborn. Since he is roughly the same age and similar in playing style and utility as Wire, there looks to even be competition for Coy now.