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Takk McKinley will miss the final two games of the Falcons 2019 season

He suffered a shoulder injury and will be out the rest of the year.

NFL: DEC 30 Falcons at Buccaneers Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Takk McKinley’s 2019 has not been the year he or the team wanted. He’s been much more effective as a pass rusher than his surface numbers suggest, but he has just 3.5 sacks on the year after he and Dan Quinn predicted a breakout season in that regard.

The Falcons defense is still much better with Takk in the fold—he led the team in pressures for most of the year—and losing him is still a blow for the Falcons, even in a lost year. Unfortunately, they have lost him for their final two games, as the shoulder injury Takk suffered—or potentially aggravated one he’s been dealing with since at least November—will sideline him against the Buccaneers and Jaguars.

With a full offseason ahead, Takk should be back at full strength and will be starting for a Falcons defense that figures to lose quite a few pieces in 2020. In his absence, there will be more snaps for Adrian Clayborn, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, and potentially rookie John Cominsky, if he’s activated with Takk out. None of those guys can entirely replace Takk, but it’s a solid group and Clayborn has been excellent throughout most of the year.

For McKinley, 2020 now becomes a pivotal year. I would expect Atlanta to exercise his fifth year option given the way he’s played this year, even if the numbers didn’t knock anyone’s socks off, but he’s still awaiting that big breakout season. Let’s hope it’s coming.