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If Clabo’s Injury Keeps Him Out, Denver’s Defense Could Tee Off On Ryan

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By Matthew Asher

With the exception of Brent Grimes’ season-ending Achilles tear, the Falcons appear to be in good shape as far as injuries go. Robert James (knee) and Roddy White (groin) are listed as probable. Tyson Clabo (hip) and Sean Weatherspoon (hamstring) are listed as questionable. Nobody is listed either as doubtful or out for the Falcons.

Tyson Clabo is the Falcons starting tackle, Sean Weatherspoon is a weakside linebacker, Roddy White is Atlanta’s Pro-Bowl starting wide receiver and Robert James is a linebacker. Clabo and Weatherspoon were limited on Saturday’s practice while White and James fully participated on Saturday’s practice.

atlanta falcons1 If Clabos Injury Keeps Him Out, Denvers Defense Could Tee Off On Ryan

(Credit= Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The injury to Clabo might be costly. If Clabo is inactive for the game, Atlanta would have to use their third-string (currently the backup right tackle) tackle, Mike Johnson. Johnson has played in only three NFL game with no starts.

Clabo currently will matchup against Broncos rookie defensive end Derek Wolfe as well as go against linebacker Von Miller if he blitzes Matt Ryan. Although not injured, Atlanta’s left tackle Sam Baker would matchup against Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil. Coach Mike Smith knows that slowing down Miller and Dumervil will be critical for an Atlanta victory. Miller is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and Dumervil led the NFL in sacks several years ago.

“These two guys (Miller and Dumervil) are really good edge rushers,” Smith said. “Between the two of them, they had 21 sacks last year, so they can bring it. They put a lot of pressure with their four man rush because they have two very good edge rushers.”

While it wouldn’t be pleasant for Ryan to play on Monday without Roddy White, his absence from the game would not be as big an issue as Clabo’s absence would be. Julio Jones, Atlanta’s other starting wide receiver is more than capable of catching the additional Ryan passes thrown at him, should White miss the game.

Denver’s injury report is also relatively small. Guard Chris Kuper (forearm) is listed as out. Cornerback Chris Harris (ankle) and center Philip Blake (thumb) are listed as questionable.  Guard Manuel Ramirez (elbow) and deep threat wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (shoulder) are listed as probable.

While both Chris Kuper and Chris Harris did not participate in Saturday’s practice, Harris is listed as questionable while Kuper is out. Philip Blake, the other Bronco listed as questionable, was limited in practice. Manuel Ramirez and Demaryius Thomas were fully integrated in Denver’s last practice session.

The potential loss of Thomas might not be as devastating to Denver as it at first seems. While Thomas is the undisputed deep threat of the Broncos, he’s not the only receiver Peyton Manning is throwing to. Since Manning is new to the Broncos, no patterns have been established as who Manning likes to go to in certain situations. This could simply mean that Manning either designates another deep threat Bronco, or simply have Manning throw mid-range passes rather than deep bombs.

For reference:

  • Probable: a 75% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  • Questionable: a 50% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  • Doubtful: a 25% chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game
  • Out: there is no chance the injured player will be medically cleared for the game

For more Local Football Bloggers and the latest Falcons news, see CBS Sports Atlanta.

Matthew Asher. Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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