The Falcons may have to face the Buccaneers without their speediest running back and starting left guard. Those aren’t fatal losses, perhaps, but we’d prefer that Tevin Coleman and Andy Levitre were on the field, even so.
Unfortunately, we won’t know either way until very late in the week, and possibly gameday on Monday. That’s because Coleman is in the league’s concussion protocol, which will unfold at its own leisurely pace, and Levitre is nursing an injury that already kept him out a week ago against the Saints. Ben Garland did an admirable job filling in while he was out, and would be called upon to do so if Levitre can’t suit up Monday. It helps that the Bucs are weak and depleted on the interior of their defensive line, as well.
The loss of Coleman is a bit more complex. The Falcons had no trouble moving the ball against Tampa Bay during their last matchup, especially through the air, but Coleman can hurt teams both via the run and the pass. Without him, the Falcons will lean heavily on a very game Devonta Freeman again, possibly mixing in Terron Ward, and will have to find other targets in the passing game. Given Steve Sarkisian’s habits, I suppose the latter isn’t actually that big of a deal.
Stay tuned for updates later in the week. I’d guess that Coleman will play and Levitre won’t, but admittedly that’s just a guess.