By Matthew Asher
After their much-needed bye week, the Falcons will host the 0-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what Falcons Nation hopes is where Atlanta will turn the season around for the better. For those hoping that Atlanta will make a trade to address their shortage of wide receivers, it’s not going to happen.
There was a mentioning of Atlanta possibly getting New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, but it appears the Falcons didn’t do anything more than what’s regarded as “due diligence.” According to Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith, don’t expect much of a roster change, or one at all, for the rest of the season. “We built this roster,” Smitty said. “We like this roster. That’s all I’ll say about it.”
What that means is that Harry Douglas, Drew Davis and Kevin Cone will now be counted on in the receiving corps. This will not be an easy task. Julio Jones is out for the rest of the season, Tony Gonzalez has been double-teamed constantly and Roddy White is still dealing with his hamstring and ankle injuries. There’s a chance White may not play against Tampa Bay this week.
White is currently listed as day-to-day. Although the first wave of injury reports have yet to be released, it’s still unknown if White, Sam Baker and Steven Jackson will be able to suit up this Sunday. Jackson did attend the Tuesday open practice but didn’t have his helmet. Neither White nor Baker attended the open part of the practice.
With the loss of Jones and the possibility of White not being able to play, expect the Falcons to run less no-huddle plays, at least for a little while. Dirk Koetter, Atlanta’s offensive coordinator, spoke about why the Falcons aren’t going to rely on it so much. “Obviously, when you take experienced guys out, you can’t ask inexperienced guys to (do it),” Koetter said. “Roddy, Matt and Julio have been together so long that they can just use hand signals. It builds on its own.”
With the 53-man roster now with a few openings, Atlanta has added journeyman wide receiver Brian Robiskie. The 36th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Robiskie has been on the rosters of the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions already. In his five years in the league, Robiskie has tallied 43 receptions, 485 yards and four touchdowns. If the last name Robiskie sounds familiar, Brian is the son of current Falcons wide receiver coach Terry Robiskie.
But regardless of who will actually be suiting up on Sunday, Smitty still believes Atlanta can right this ship and have a successful 2013 campaign and said he was “very confident in the group that we have in the locker room and the group that we have in the staff room. We’ve got a lot of experience. We’ve got a lot of guys that have won a lot of football games.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. EST. #RiseUp
For more Falcons news and updates, visit Falcons Central.
Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist. From an early age, sports have played a major role in his life. He graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Journalism. After college he spent 2 years working with CNN Sports and still occasionally writes sports articles for several publications both in the United States and Canada. His work can be found on Examiner.com.