The Atlanta Falcons lost their fourth preseason game tonight. Because the preseason doesn’t matter, that’s all I’m going to say about the loss. This is when I’d normally summarize all the noteworthy injuries from the game, but this won’t be a typical post-game injury report, so bear with me for a moment. (Plus, to be frank, there weren’t any injuries of note in tonight’s game, at least for the Falcons.)
Take note of the picture beneath the headline. It’s from last week’s game. That’s Kevin Graf being carted off the field with an ankle injury. (The Falcons gave him an injury settlement this week.) Now think about how healthy the Falcons have stayed during the preseason, with only a few exceptions. Devonta Freeman suffered a concussion, but he’s been cleared and will be ready go in week one of the regular season. LaRoy Reynolds may be headed for injured reserve. Swing tackle Austin Pasztor is working his way back after a pectoral injury, but the team knew about that when they signed him. Finally fifth round draft pick Brian Hill is nursing an injured ankle. All things considered, that’s not bad. In fact, it’s fantastic.
So what gives? Was it luck? Maybe. But I’m much more inclined to credit the coaching and training staff for their careful personnel management. In my mind, this was no accident. Avoiding injuries is an impossibility in the NFL [knocks on wood]. But there are steps teams can take, especially during the preseason, to keep their roster healthy. The Falcons did that this preseason.