Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald are good receivers. Sure, they've only amassed 454 and 658 receiving yards respectively this season, and Fitzgerald is banged up right now. But you can't sit on either of them, and the Falcons aren't well-equipped at cornerback right now. Make no mistake, the Cardinals passing attack will pose a challenge. Fitzgerald is recovering from an MCL spain, and he was inactive last week. Floyd is healthy, but he hasn't exactly thrived with Drew Stanton under center. On Sunday, Floyd was only targeted twice, failing to reign in a pass both times.
The question is this: how do the Falcons account for them with limited depth at cornerback? As you know, Robert Alford won't be playing this weekend; he will be out with a broken wrist for another 1-3 weeks. Meanwhile, Robert McClain, who started opposite Desmond Trufant in Alford's absence last week, may miss time. He injured his calf during the Browns loss.
Ultimately Trufant and Josh Wilson will play outside for the Falcons if McClain can't go. Wilson has played a good amount this season, only recently ceding snaps to McClain. Interestingly, Wilson has played almost 300 snaps this season, turning in only 2 truly bad performances (against the Bears and Ravens in weeks 6 and 7). Other than that, he's basically been a league-average cornerback, albeit mainly in the slot.
I'm inclined to think that McClain will be available Sunday. I say that for two reasons. First, he was thinking about returning against the Browns prior to Trufant's interception.
On a side note. Robert McClain looked like he was about to reenter the game before Trufant intercepted that pass.
— Knox Bardeen (@knoxbardeen) November 23, 2014
Second, the Falcons haven't made a roster move at cornerback. While Javier Arenas can play the slot in McClain's absence, you'd think the Falcons would consider promoting Ricardo Allen if McClain's status were truly uncertain. The injury report will come out later today, and we will know more then, but my guess is he plays.
Ultimately if McClain plays, I think the Falcons will be fine. They may give up a couple big plays, but they'll play capably. If McClain doesn't play, they will go into the game exceptionally thin at cornerback, especially if Allen isn't promoted. That could be problematic. That said, keep a close eye on the injury report this afternoon, because it will matter.
Check back later today. Our inebriated, lovingly simple friend Dave is going to break down how the Falcons limit Stanton and running back Andre Ellington.