Depth of Falcons May Be Deciding Factor in Game
By Matthew Asher
With nearly three-quarters of the season completed, the Falcons are starting to show signs of wear and tear with yet another season-high for players on the injury report. With 13 listed, this is both a good and bad situation for the Falcons simultaneously.
The good news is that just one player is listed as out for the game: safety Charles Mitchell (calf) did not participate in any of the practices this week. The bad news is that eight of the other players on the injury report play significant roles for the Falcons.
Six players are listed as probable for the game. They are defensive end John Abraham (back), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (neck), kicker Matt Bryant (back), cornerback Chris Owens (thigh), quarterback Matt Ryan (left finger) and running back Michael Turner (groin). Of these six players Ryan was the only Falcon to fully participate in practice all week. The remaining five Falcons were limited both Wednesday and Thursday but were all able to fully practice Friday.
The final six Falcons are listed as questionable for the game: wide receivers Kevin Cone (groin) and Julio Jones (ankle), defensive tackles Peria Jerry and Vance Walker, cornerback Asante Samuel (shoulder) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (illness/ankle). Jerry was the only Falcon in this group to not participate in any practices this week. The other five players were limited throughout the week with a few missing days of practice. Samuel missed both Wednesday and Friday, Jones missed Wednesday and Spoon missed Thursday’s practice.
Nine Tampa Bay Bucs are listed on the injury report. Safety Cody Grimm (hamstring) is the only player listed as out. Wide receiver Arrelious Benn’s status is not listed, nor exactly what type of injury he sustained either. Both men did not participate in practice.
Six Bucs are listed as probable: wide receiver Tiquan Underwood (head), cornerback Leonard Johnson (heel), safety Ahmad Black (illness), linebacker Dekoda Watson (hamstring) and defensive ends Michael Bennett (shoulder) and Aaron Morgan (shoulder). All five men fully participated in practice.
The final Buc on the injury report is cornerback Eric Wright (Achilles). He is listed as questionable and was limited in practice this week.
Even with all these injuries, the Falcons know that Tampa Bay is not going to be a pushover. Ryan knows just how intense this Buccaneers team is. “Every time we’ve played them it’s been a tough, physical game,” Ryan said. “They look like they’re playing with increased intensity…I’ve been impressed with their effort. I really have. We know watching them they’re going to give you sixty minutes of their best, and we’ve got to do the same.”
- 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
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Matthew Asher is a freelance writer covering all things Atlanta sports related. His work can be found on Examiner.com.