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Falcons Defense Will be Shallow Against Bucs

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By Matthew Asher

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 29: Pierre Thomas #23 of the New Orleans Saints is tackled by Sean Weatherspoon #56 and Chris Owens #21 of the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome on November 29, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

(Credit, Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The good news for the Falcons is that after the Tampa Bay game this Sunday, the team gets a week off to rest and recover from any nagging injuries. The bad news is they still have to get through the Tampa Bay game this Sunday.

While only six Falcons are on this week’s injury report, four of them are starters and just one player is on the defensive side of the ball. The silver lining to the injury situation is that it would allow for some of the backup players to get a chunk of snaps in, which should help Mike Smith and the rest of the coaching staff evaluate the depth of each position.

Starting safety WIlliam Moore (hamstring) and nickel cornerback Chris Owens (hamstring) are the two Falcons listed as out for the game. Neither Moore nor Owens was able to participate in any of the practices this week.

Coach Smith isn’t thrilled about either man being out for the game, but understands they need the week off. “I would like for William to be ready to go, but the doctors have got to make that determination,” Smitty said. “We’re to a point in the process where we need to get him as healthy as you can be.”

Wide receiver Roddy White (knee) is the only offensive player in this week’s injury report. Like Moore and Owens, Roddy didn’t participate in any of the practices this week. However, he is listed as questionable for the game.

This isn’t the first time Roddy has been listed on this season’s injury report and still gone out and played on Sunday. “Roddy is about as tough as any football player that I’ve been around,” Smitty said. “For him to battle through injuries that he’s had it’s just speaks volumes. You can’t keep him down. He’s a guy that regardless of what’s going on it’s hard to keep him out of the game. He wants to play and he’s a competitive guy.”

Like White, defensive end Cliff Matthews (hamstring) and defensive tackles Corey Peters (knee) and Jonathan Babineaux (ribs) are all listed as questionable. Matthews didn’t participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday but was able to practice in a limited amount on Friday. For Babineaux and Peters, both were limited in practice throughout the entire week.

For the Bucs, eight players are listed. Seven are listed as probable and just one is listed as doubtful. The one doubtful player, guard Roger Allen (groin) was the only one who did not participate in practice. The other seven were all able to fully participate.

Tight ends Dallas Clark (illness) and Nate Byham (illness), center Jeremy Zuttah (ankle) and tackle Donald Penn (not injury related) are the members of the offense listed. The three defensive players are defensive end Da’Quan Bowers (hamstring) and cornerbacks LeQuan Lewis (knee) and E.J. Biggers (hip) were able to fully participate in practice.

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

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