GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) - After an agonizing first year with the Atlanta Falcons, Peerless Price is eager to make amends. New coach Jim Mora understands
the receiver's frustration over a disappointing 2003 season.
"Yeah, coach Mora kids me all the time, like 'You're not going to be a decoy on this route,' " Price said Sunday after practice. "I know those guys
will make an honest effort to find ways to get me the ball so I can make plays."
Atlanta's new offense, which first-year coordinator Greg Knapp designed to rave reviews the last three seasons in San Francisco, should be right for
Price. He moved to flanker during the spring in hopes of creating favorable matchups with linebackers and safeties who might struggle to cover him.
"I think it's going to be a great year -- the kind of year I expected last year is going to happen a year later," Price said. "I think it's going to
give me more opportunities to make plays. Coach Knapp, you look at some of the guys he's coached -- Jerry Rice and Terrell Owens -- they played
flanker and that's the spot I'm going to be playing."
Knapp has the team's two fastest receivers, Michael Jenkins and Dez White, competing for the starting job at wideout. Brian Finneran moved to No. 2
flanker, but he is an exceptional blocker and coaches consider him the team's best route runner -- assets that could free Price to be even more
dangerous in three- and four-receiver sets.
"We're learning a new offense, and you've got to get your timing and stuff down," Price said. "I've just got to fine-tune those skills."
Great fanfare accompanied Price's arrival 17 months ago. The Falcons traded their first-round draft pick to Buffalo so quarterback Michael Vick would
finally have the top-flight wideout he coveted. Owner Arthur Blank rewarded Price with a new contract that included a $10 million signing bonus, but
the team's hopes crashed when Vick broke his leg in a preseason game.
Coming off a career year with the Bills that included 94 catches, 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns, Price finished 64-838-3, but the inaccuracy of
Atlanta quarterbacks didn't help. The Falcons completed just 50 percent of their pass attempts, worst in the NFL. The return of Vick, who led Atlanta
to the second round of the 2002 playoffs, and a consistent rushing attack should prevent the Falcons from finishing last in third-down efficiency and
time of possession for the second straight year.
"Peerless is going to have a breakout year," Vick said. "I can feel it. He can, too."