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Mike Smith: Ex-Patriots safety James Sanders was a ‘stabilizing presence’ in our secondary this year

02.25.12 at 4:19 pm ET

INDIANAPOLIS — Prior to the start of the season, the Patriots underwent a sizable overhaul of their secondary with a series of moves which included the Aug. 29 release of veteran safety James Sanders. Sanders was quickly picked up by the Falcons and finished the season with 41 tackles (30 solo) for Atlanta, which ended up finishing 10-6 and making the postseason.

On Saturday at the NFL scouting combine, Falcons coach Mike Smith fairly gushed about Sanders and the stabilizing presence in the Atlanta secondary.

“He was a very good addition,” Smith said of the 28-year-old Sanders, one of the Falcons 17 free agents. “[He was] a solid addition for our secondary with his experience, even though he was a young player — I think he’€™s in his late 20s. We got him late. He was a guy that joined our football team right before the season started. There was an acclimation period, but when he got a chance to play he performed well. He was a stabilizing factor in our secondary. I really like his makeup and his skill set as a guy that can play both strong and free safety.”

Read More: 2012 combine, James Sanders, Mike Smith,
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