By Matthew Asher
After 17 grueling seasons, the NFL regular season will now come to a close this Sunday. This season has been a huge disappointment for the Falcons, who were expected to be one of the top NFC teams, just like last year.
The good news is that only six Falcons are listed this week against Carolina. Half of the players listed are starters and just two of the six players are on the defensive side of the ball. The bad news is two of the players are listed as out and one of them is a starter on the defensive side of the ball.
Running back Jacquizz Rodgers (concussion) and starting outside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee) are the two Falcons listed this week as out. Neither man was able to practice at all this week. Expect Steven Nicholas to fill in for ‘Spoon this week and Jason Snelling to take ‘Quizz’s reps this week against Carolina.
Starting tight end Tony Gonzalez (toe) has been limited in practice every day this week. He is listed as probable. If he cannot play, expect Chase Coffman and Levine Toilolo to share reps. However, since this is probably Tony’s final NFL game, it would be very nice if he could start and finish with some impressive stats to end his NFL career.
Backup wide receiver Darius Johnson (ankle) is the last skill position player listed this week. He’s been limited in practice all three days and is the only Falcon listed as questionable. Johnson is the backup to both Roddy White and Drew Davis, so if he is unable to play, it’s not going to be a big deal since he’s low on the depth chart.
Second string cornerback Robert Alford (ankle) is the final defensive player listed this week for Atlanta. Alford was limited both Wednesday and Thursday but was able to fully participate in practice on Friday. Alford typically plays in nickel and dime formations, so if he’s unable to play, expect Robert McClain, Dominique Franks or Zeke Motta to fill in for Alford.
The final Falcon listed is offensive linesman Peter Konz (neck). Fortunately, Konz has been able to fully participate in practice all three days this week. Konz is listed as starting right guard and backup center. Garrett Reynolds would likely be Konz’s replacement as a guard and Joe Hawley is listed as the starting center.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1pm EST.
- 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 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.