The first two weeks of the 2018 NFL season have been incredibly unkind to the Atlanta Falcons. Sure, the team sits at an even 1-1 record, but an injury maelstrom suddenly finds the S.S. Brotherhood running a skeleton crew. It’s the first time since Dan Quinn took the helm that the injury scourge has befallen so many so soon, and the burden now rests on the players and coaches to show that the bonds they’ve forged can withstand the tempests of a season that already finds them taking on water.
If The Brotherhood was ever more than a mere mantra, we’re about to find out.
The Falcons have already lost their starting strong safety Keanu Neal to an ACL injury, their starting middle linebacker Deion Jones recently underwent a surgical procedure on his foot, and now starting left guard Andy Levitre is gone for the season. We’re still holding our breath on the status of a number of other players, as well.
The injury bug hasn’t just bitten the Falcons. It’s moved in, seemingly infesting the foundation at Flowery Branch. You can hear it in the walls.
But these are the dire situations that The Brotherhood is supposed to be built to withstand; a next-man-up mentality that regardless of the storms and squalls that every team must face, the guy behind you is there to pick you up.
If Dan Quinn’s Brotherhood motif runs as deep in this organization as it appears, then you want an Atlanta Falcon in your foxhole.
After a hard-fought win against the Carolina Panthers, next on the slate is the New Orleans Saints. An offense that can overwhelm you in a moment’s notice like a storm surge cresting a hull, the Saints will certainly prove a handful for a defense trying to find its footing after losing Neal and Jones. The linebackers will need to be on full alert, as Drew Brees will be looking to gash them with heavy doses of Alvin Kamara dump-off passes. It’s worrying, sure, but it’s yet another test for an Atlanta Falcons team that seems destined to face them all season long.
So we find ourselves back to The Brotherhood.
It’s two weeks in, but the Atlanta Falcons have seen more than a season’s worth of injury. They are battered and banged up, but they still possess a potent offense and a defense that may need to be more opportunistic than consistent. If this team can continue to weather what’s already come their way, then it will be proof-positive that The Brotherhood is a testament and not just a tagline.