Collins, a second-round pick from LSU, started at right cornerback and Robert Alford moved inside at nickel back, replacing Phillips Adams. Alford remained outside in the base defense.
Collins played 37 of the 54 defensive snaps (69 percent), but didn’t get any action from Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who was making just his seventh NFL start.
“Each week, Collins, who’s one of our guys in our plan B development (program), has been working hard and getting the extra time in practice,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “I think his technique outside has been really improving, so it was great to see that carry over into the game.”
Collins has been starring on specials teams while waiting for his chance.
Collins missed most of the offseason after foot surgery. He struggled at times in the exhibition season, but continued to play hard through his mistakes.
At 6-foot-1, 203 pounds, Collins has the size that Quinn covets for the Falcons’ scheme. The coaches wanted to see improvement in his technique after his uneven exhibition season.
“Outside, if you can just get out of whack, that split second of your technique that it can go away from you,” Quinn said. “It’s every play and I think that’s one of the real messages for him. ‘Can I stay with it down after down?’ He’s got the speed and the length to do it, so it was really important for him to know that he can do it down after down.”
The coaches re-evaluated the secondary after the 31-21 loss to the Saints.
“We wanted to go back and look at some things, and we thought that would be one avenue to go about to try and just find the little ways to affect the team better,” Quinn said. “We moved Robert inside and Jalen outside. We’ll continue to work that and also worked Robenson Therezie some in our nickel safety package. Those are some of the things, in specific, that we worked on.”