During Tuesday’s media availability, Dan Quinn confirmed the unfortunate news that we already knew from Monday: that defensive tackle Michael Bennett had broken his ankle. What we didn’t know, however, is that while he will require surgery to repair the injury, there’s a shot that Bennett could see the field in 2019.
#Falcons coach Dan Quinn said safety J.J. Wilcox (knee) was out for the season while answering my question. Also, DT Michael Bennett (broken ankle) will have surgery, but could return for the 2019 season. pic.twitter.com/agxdfbh8cS— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) July 23, 2019
That’s certainly good news for Bennett personally, and for the Falcons’ rotation along the defensive line.
Immediately in the wake of Michael Bennett’s injury, the Falcons brought in defensive lineman and offseason target Allen Bailey, signing him to a two-year deal worth $10.5 million. Bailey is certainly an upgrade in the middle of the line — and can also play outside, should the Falcons toss out some different wrinkles on defense.
But as last season illustrated in all of its maddening detail, having adept players for depth is a luxury that cannot be discounted. Bennett is the second long-term injury along the defensive line, as Steven Means tore his Achilles earlier in the offseason. The loss of Bennett was a clear shot at Atlanta’s strength on the line, so the Falcons moved quickly (and in the waning hours of the evening) to bring Allen Bailey to town.
Injuries are sometimes unavoidable, but lack of depth is often a self-inflicted wound.
There’s no timetable for Bennett to return, but it’s very encouraging to hear DQ say that it’s possible for him to make it back in time to contribute in 2019. We wish him the best for a successful surgery and a speedy recovery, and hope to see him mixing it up on the line sooner than later.