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Julio Jones, Jake Matthews questionable versus Rams

Mohamed Sanu is out.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

We’ve mentioned over and over again this week that the Falcons are going to be depleted against the Los Angeles Rams, and while there are a couple of tough decision to be made on Sunday, we have a much clearer picture of just how depleted they’re going to be.

Without Sanu in the game, the Falcons are going to lean more heavily on Justin Hardy and Taylor Gabriel. Both have been useful players in limited opportunities—Hardy more limited than Gabriel—and we’ll have to see how they do when they’re a bigger focal point for the defense. I think Hardy will be more likely to directly replace Sanu on the field on most snaps, given that he’s a capable blocker like Sanu.

The question comes with Julio and Matthews. I don’t need to tell you that Tom Compton, while a perfectly unobjectionable reserve and sixth lineman, is not the man you want protecting Matt Ryan for an entire game against a tough defensive line, and that plus Aaron Donald’s matchup against Chris Chester could leave the offensive line extremely compromised. Without Julio, the Falcons will be rolling out Taylor Gabriel, Justin Hardy, Aldrick Robinson and Nick Williams at wide receiver, which is a decent enough group to get things done, but does not command the respect and attention that Julio does. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are going to have major roles, either way.

Fingers crossed we see Julio and Matthews in this one, and may Sanu be back on the field soon.