The Atlanta Falcons are a better football team when they have Ryan Schraeder and Ricardo Allen on the field. I think we can all agree on that, even if we saw enough of Damontae Kazee to make us excited about his potential.
The good news is that while there’s some uncertainty about when Mohamed Sanu, Vic Beasley and Courtney Upshaw will return, Schraeder and Allen should have little trouble returning for Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins. That’s because both have been in the NFL’s concussion protocol, and Schraeder will be about four weeks removed from his injury while Allen is three weeks removed from his. It would have to be a particularly significant, troublesome concussion to keep either one out any longer.
Schraeder will be particularly vital. Ty Sambrailo has predictably struggled in pass protection, even if he’s been no worse than average whilst blocking for the likes of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, and he was always going to be a significant downgrade from one of the five or so best right tackles in the entire NFL. Schraeder’s return should help give Matt Ryan more time and confidence in the pocket, which should translate to better outcomes for the entire offense.
Allen, who Marquand Manuel has called one of the best open field tacklers in the NFL, will serve as a safety net for this Falcons defense against the Dolphins, who theoretically should offer a much better offense than the Bills. He’s a consistently underrated defender, and while the Falcons need to figure out a way to get Kazee on the field more often, it won’t be at the expense of a safety the team trusts to get things done deep. He’ll help an improving defense hopefully fare better against a tougher part of the schedule.
Julio Jones should be back, too, but the Falcons made so little fuss about his situation that I never really considered it to be in doubt. A largely healthy, rested Atlanta team should hopefully have no trouble dispatching the Dolphins at home, moving to 4-1, and gearing up for a battle against a vulnerable-looking Patriots team on the road in Week 7.