By Cedric Williams

Though some of them were working their way back from injury, and others were nursing new ones, the Atlanta Falcons had 11 players listed on their official injury report for last Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.

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Then, during the game safety Robenson Therezie suffered a hamstring injury that knocked him out for the second half.

The Falcons were already reeling from losing three of their last four games. Now the injury bug has bitten them a bit. And it’s for that reason that head coach Dan Quinn said earlier this week that he felt like his club’s bye week couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’re right in the middle of it,” Quinn told a throng of reporters during his weekly Monday press conference. “So we want to make sure the guys know that and we’ll come back, get fresh, get rested up, and get ready to come back after the bye and go for it in a big way.”

Among the players ruled out for last Sunday’s game are safety William Moore (groin), cornerback Robert Alford (groin), linebacker Justin Durant (calf), and wide receiver Leonard Hankerson (hamstring). The Falcons won’t begin to know until Monday how close any of them might be to returning to action. And the club certainly won’t officially know until next Friday if any of them will actually be able to play in Atlanta’s next game, which is Sunday, November 22, at the Georgia Dome against the Indianapolis Colts.

“Upon us is the bye week,” Quinn said, “and really the challenge that comes for the players is to look back to our start of training camp, are you happy with where your game’s at right now? That’s their challenge.”

Atlanta has a pretty intriguing schedule the rest of the way. Following the date with the Colts, the Falcons will play a second straight home game against the Minnesota Vikings (November 29), then go on the road for a rematch against Tampa Bay (December 6).

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The Falcons will follow that up with the first of two matchups against the NFC South division-leading and currently unbeaten Carolina Panthers (December 13), before playing their final out of conference game in Jacksonville (December 20).

Atlanta will host Carolina at the Dome (December 27), before closing out the regular season with a rematch against the New Orleans Saints, the club that handed the Falcons their first loss of the season back on October 15.

“The message I wanted to give to the guys is let’s make sure the ones that are in the past,” Quinn said, “don’t keep replaying those, and the ones that are going to happen in the future, don’t pre-play those. Let’s get right back to it, and we’ll take it one game at a time.”

Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones among league leaders in Pro Bowl voting

The NFL released its first tally of the early Pro Bowl votes on Wednesday, and Falcon players Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones were the league leaders in votes received at their respective positions.

Freeman, who ranks second in overall rushing with 721 yards on 164 carries and leads the league with 11 touchdowns scored, is currently the top vote-getter at the running back position with 103,334 votes. Jones, who leads the league with 80 catches and 1,029 receiving yards and is tied for second-most with six receiving touchdowns, leads all NFL pass-catchers with 85,034 votes.

Both players are also among the top 10 overall vote-getters regardless of position, with Freeman ranking fourth and Jones sitting at eighth. New England quarterback Tom Brady is the league’s overall top vote-getter with 141,750 votes.

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Cedric Williams, a lifelong St. Louisan and proud UMSL alum, has been a full-time reporter/photographer covering St. Louis area sports for nearly two decades. Most recently, he has been working as a credentialed beat writer covering the NFL, as well as college and high school sports for the St. Louis American, Patch.com, and other outlets from around the area. Please share any comments, questions, or feedback with Cedric at cedricwilliams510@gmail.com. His work can be found on Examiner.com.