Are The Falcons Ready To Deal With Injuries?
The Atlanta Falcons are in a bad way here. Not shipwrecked on a deserted island bad, but more like limping through the woods and the wolves have just noticed bad.
The 1-1 Falcons have announced that they have lost versatile defender Kroy Bierman and FB Bradie Ewing for the remainder of the season due to injury. The team will also be without their best linebacker, Sean Weatherspoon, until at least Week 11 as he has been placed on injured reserve-designated return with a lisc frank foot sprain. If that wasn’t enough, starting RB Steven Jackson has a thigh injury that will cost him the next two to four weeks.
This is not an ideal scenario for a team going on the road looking to beat a 2-0 Miami Dolphins team in their home opener. But the Falcons coaching staff have proven to be capable of dealing with this type of scenario. Take a look back at last week.
In the Falcons victory over the Rams, the Falcons were clearly trying to establish physicality at the line of scrimmage with a run game. In five of the Falcons first 12 plays from scrimmage, the team lined up with a fullback or two tight ends on the field.
What was impressive about the Falcons game plan and win over the Rams was how quickly it was scrapped and adapted due to injury. Ewing was hurt on the fifth play of the game, followed by Jackson on the 12th play. Despite being up 7-0, the Falcons had lost their two primary resources for a physical running game.
The Falcons ran their best personnel group of one running back, one tight end and three receivers for 35 of the next 50 plays. When they attempted to get two backs on the field, Jason Snelling played fullback.
What does this mean exactly? It again displays that the Falcons coaching staff is one of the best in the league in dealing with issues on the fly. While the team will miss the four starters who are out with injury, the track record of this team says that they will find a way to get competent production out of those positions.
That is the good news on the injury situation for the Falcons.
The bad news is that their run game is still non-existent and it is hard to imagine it improving with two backfield starters out. The Falcons first 12 carries against the Rams last Sunday got them 23 yards. They just could not take any time off the clock as the Rams began their comeback.
With Biermann out, the defense will now be under more pressure to get more pressure. The team has allowed both Saints QB Drew Brees and Rams QB Sam Bradford to pass for more than 350 yards while only recording just two sacks.
But at 1-1, the Falcons are just one game away from being a team of resilience, or a team on the decline.