Austin Hooper’s 2019 season has been nothing short of terrific. He’s on pace to post career highs across the board, and he’s been the rare bright spot in what (until Sunday, thanks Saints) had been a grim season. Unfortunately for the Falcons, he may not remain on pace to post those career highs, because he’s now dealing with a knee injury.
Per Ian Rapoport, who is providing all the bad news you could possibly need this morning, Hooper is headed for an MRI and is, alarmingly, “expected to miss some time.” The big question seems to be whether this is going to be a couple of weeks of healing time or something that shuts Hooper down for the year, which would be devastating.
#Falcons TE Austin Hooper, the NFL’s leader at his position with 56 catches, is getting an MRI on a knee injury suffered Sunday source said. Hooper is expected to miss some time, but the MRI will determine how much. Atlanta could be without Devonta Freeman & Hooper this week.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 11, 2019
The Falcons are likely going to have to go without Hooper for at least one week, by the sounds of this, which means Luke Stocker and Jaeden Graham will have larger roles and Carson Meier will probably be up from the practice squad. Stocker and Meier are better blockers than they are receivers—I know none of us are keen to see more Stocker targets—which means it’ll be up to Graham to take on some of Hooper’s target share in his absence. The promising young tight end has done good work with his opportunities, but given that he’s largely unproven, I’d expect the Falcons to lean harder on their receiving corps against the Panthers.
Let’s hope for good news here.