Falcons defensive coordinator Mike Nolan was concerned about the depth at both safety positions. Nolan wanted a veteran that could backup Thomas DeCoud and William Moore just in case something was to happen to one of them.
Nolan got his wish because the Falcons agreed to terms with Chris Hope on Friday. Hope, 31, has played in 147 games and has started in 109 of them. He was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002 and played with them for four seasons before heading to the Tennessee Titans.
During his 10-year career, Hope has tallied 20 career interceptions to go along with his 748 total tackles and four sacks. He was a member of the 2005 Steelers team that won a Super Bowl and he also made the Pro Bowl with the Titans in 2008. During that year, Hope started in all 16 games and racked up 63 total tackles, one sack and four interceptions.
Hope’s signing is a solid one because if there is one area of concern when it comes to depth, it’s both safety positions. Hope has the ability to play both because he has done it his entire career. He started as a free safety with the Steelers and move to strong safety when he was with the Titans. A
nd with his 10-year resume, he brings a lot of experience to a very young group.
So here’s what could happen when Hope enters the fold. Moore and DeCoud are the starting safeties while Shan Schillinger and 2012 draft pick Charles Mitchell are set to back them up. Hope is going to take one of the reserve spots and that means Schillinger will probably be cut when it’s all said and done. Schillinger has done well for the Falcons the last two seasons, especially on special teams. But the
Falcons want to see what they have in Mitchell which makes Schillinger is a little more expendable.
With the addition of Hope along with cornerback Asante Samuel, the Falcons are doing whatever it takes to improve its secondary. The Falcons were tanked 20th in pass defense, giving up 237 yards per game.