How Injuries Will Change The 2012 Atlanta Falcons

Will Svitek: Not a steam-powered automaton. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Yesterday brought some bad news, as we learned that Kevin Cone has a concussion. Then it brought some terrible news, when we learned that Will Svitek is going to miss the entire season.

How will this affect the Atlanta Falcons?

These injuries greatly clarify a couple of position battle, to start with. Unless Cone can make a swift recovery, he's losing at least a week's practice time and a game, a game he needed to make his case for fifth receiver. With Michael Calvin off the roster, James Rodgers suffering from the drops and neither Tim Toone or Drew Davis really stepping up, the fifth receiver battle is shaping up to be brutal.

One of three things will likely happen: Davis makes it after a nice game, Cone comes back and claims it or Marcus Jackson turns out to be the dark horse winner based on his nice game against the Bengals. Any way you slice it, the winner here isn't likely to be a slam dunk.

After the jump, a closer look at Svitek.

Svitek being out for the year is a nightmare scenario for multiple reasons. With his ability in pass protection, Svitek was the logical choice to take over at left tackle should anything happen to Sam Baker. He wasn't any great shakes in the run game, but the Falcons are transitioning toward a more pass-friendly offense anyways.

With Svitek down, the Falcons are left with some fairly unappetizing backup options. There's either Lamar Holmes, who might be a terrific tackle someday but is a fairly raw rookie right now, or Michael Johnson as he trains for tackle. They could also dive into the free agent market, which has Marcus McNeill and a few tackles you might find down at your local grocery store bagging vegetables. Even with his injury history, McNeill might be the best option out there...or he would've been, had he not retired. My bad, everyone.

Needless to say, neither of these injuries are good for the Falcons. How do you think the Falcons will be affected, ultimately?

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