The Falcons will be down two starters and two useful reserves on Sunday against the Lions, which is not an ideal situation. Fortunately, this team is deep enough and strong enough to weather that storm, albeit likely with a few struggles.
We begin with the expected news that Ryan Schraeder will miss Sunday’s game. Schraeder has been in the concussion protocol and was always unlikely to play, but today the team confirmed it. With one of the best right tackles in football out, newly-acquired Ty Sambrailo will get his first start as a Falcon, and we’ll hope he can hold up on that side alongside Wes Schweitzer. If he can’t, the offense is going to have some added troubles Sunday, and nobody wants that.
Terron Ward is the only surprise. Without Ward, who hasn’t gotten a touch yet in the first two games, the third running back will be Brian Hill, who will be active for the first time in his young career. I wouldn’t anticipate that he’ll get any carries, either, unless Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman get really tired running past this Lions defense repeatedly.
Vic Beasley had already been ruled out, as had Courtney Upshaw. The team brought up Joe Vellano from the practice squad to serve as depth, but the Falcons will roll ahead with Takkarist McKinley and Adrian Clayborn taking a lot of the snaps Vic Beasley won’t be able to, while Jack Crawford, Derrick Shelby and perhaps Clayborn should get snaps on the interior with Upshaw out. The pass rush is certainly weaker without Beasley, but hopefully Atlanta will get by just fine for at least one week.