ENGLEWOOD Champ Bailey went all out for his Georgia homecoming, buying tickets for everybody that I cared about.
And since the Denver Broncos Pro Bowl cornerback is assembling such a big audience at the Georgia Dome, hes hoping maybe the Atlanta Falcons might indulge him and throw his way.
Dont be bashful, either, Matt Ryan, because Bailey doesnt mind the action.
With the Falcons having one of the top receiving tandems in the league Baileys hoping to be kept busy Monday night.
I welcome that, said Bailey, who grew up in Folkston, Ga., and became a star for the Georgia Bulldogs. I look forward to it every week anyway, even though sometimes thats not the case. Im always prepared for it.
Bailey and Porter certainly will have their hands full as they try to keep track of Roddy White and Julio Jones. The duo combined for 12 catches and 195 yards last week in a win at Kansas City.
Theyre as good as they come, the 34-year-old Bailey said. Were going to see a lot of great tandems, but (White and Jones) are emerging to be one of the best. All I see is growth from Julio Jones from last year. Hes like night and day.
Bailey is relishing this rare trip home, knowing there may not be many more chances.
About the only thing Baileys not looking forward to is covering tight end Tony Gonzalez. Theyve had quite a few memorable matchups dating back to Gonzalezs time with the Chiefs.
Im so tired of this guy, Bailey said, laughing. He never stops. He creates so many problems because hes so savvy, and his experience, it shows every week.
Given that Bailey is one of the best in the business his 11 Pro Bowls attest to that QBs typically dont throw his way all that often. But that may be changing with the arrival of Tracy Porter.
Hes pretty good, too. Just ask Ben Roethlisberger, who tried to throw on Porter last weekend, only to have Porter step in front of the pass and return it for a game-sealing 43-yard touchdown.
Porters presence just may lead to more chances for Bailey.
I hope so, said Bailey, who has 50 career picks.
Still to be figured out, though, is who will play in the Broncos nickel package. With defensive back Chris Harris bothered by a sore ankle and questionable for the game, Denver may turn to rookie Omar Bolden or little-used Tony Carter.
You cant account for everybody on every play, as far as double-teaming or whatever, so youve kind of got to say, Youve got your guy; you better take care of it, Bailey said. Thats the way youve got to approach this thing. We know weve got to win some one-on-ones.
Not to mention pressure Ryan, whos quickly becoming one of the elite QBs in the NFL. Even more, Ryan has been so good at home.
For some reason, I dont know if he has a chip on his shoulder when hes at home, (but) he turns it up a bit, said Bailey, whose team beat Ryan and the Falcons 24-20 in 2008 at the Georgia Dome. Were aware of that. Weve just got to go out there and take care of our job and not worry about it too much.