The Falcons haven’t been hit as hard by COVID-19 as some teams, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean they haven’t been hit at all. After placing Marlon Davidson on the list earlier this week, the team just announced they added fellow defensive lineman John Cominsky to the reserve/COVID-19 list today, meaning he’s not going to play against the Vikings and likely not for at least a game or two after that.
In addition, the team is leaving defensive line coaches Tosh Lupoi and Jess Simpson in Atlanta, with outside linebackers coach Aden Durde taking over line coaching duties for the week.
If all this seems to add up to a mini-outbreak in the defensive line group, including both coaches and players, that’s exactly what I’m worried about. I’m keeping hope alive that we’ll see tomorrow’s game—the Falcons are taking two planes, just like the Patriots did with their own mini-outbreak a little while ago—but I’d consider it somewhat up in the air at the moment.
This leaves the Falcons woefully thin along their defensive line against the Vikings. as they were already missing Davidson and Takk McKinley. Right now, the interior group is down to Grady Jarrett, Tyeler Davison, and Deadrin Senat, with Allen Bailey and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner capable of kicking inside if needed. Bailey, Tuioti-Mariner, Dante Fowler Jr., Steven Means and Charles Harris are the defensive end group, and if you’re thinking that Fowler, Jarrett and Harris are going to have to do some heavy lifting as pass rushers, you’re hardly alone.
As a final note, the Falcons are promoting defensive tackle Chris Slayton and linebacker Edmond Robinson to the active roster from the practice squad on Sunday. Slayton will give the team some much-needed depth on the interior, while Robinson will be a key special teams contributor and reserve at linebacker for another week.