The Falcons are going to need all hands on deck the rest of the way if they’re going to win games, bluntly. They’ve shown that their toughest opponents are hard for them to get past at close to full strength, and they’re playing the Bucs, Chiefs, and Chargers over the season’s final four weeks, meaning there’s not a cupcake left to play.
Unfortunately for the Falcons, it doesn’t look like they’re going to be fully healthy for their matchup against Los Angeles.
- FB Keith Smith (neck)
- P Sterling Hofrichter (right hamstring)
- RB Todd Gurley (knee)
- S Keanu Neal (ankle)
- RB Ito Smith (neck)
- LB Foye Oluokun (neck)
- DE Dante Fowler Jr. (hamstring)
- TE Hayden Hurst (ankle)
- DE Jacob Tuioti-Mariner (neck)
- DT Grady Jarrett (groin)
- WR Julio Jones (hamstring)
- S Ricardo Allen (concussion)
- T Kaleb McGary (personal)
- G James Carpenter (groin)
The only real positive note here is that Hofrichter was upgraded to limited participation, increasing his chances of playing Sunday. The news is not encouraging otherwise.
The hope is that everyone else on the limited participation list will be able to go Sunday, albeit with some degree of limitations. If both Ito Smith and Todd Gurley are banged up, Brian Hill may have a larger role, while any limitations for Fowler Jr. and Tuioti-Mariner will increase the snaps available to guys like Allen Bailey, Steven Means, and Charles Harris. Hurst and Oluokun will be replaced, if they can’t go or need breaks, by Jaeden Graham and Mykal Walker, respectively.
Everyone on the no participation list except McGary seems unlikely to go Sunday. Julio often defies the odds so he’s the most likely player to do so again, but I am concerned about his status once again. Carpenter does not appear to be making enough progress to return Sunday, leaving Justin McCray to start at left guard again, while Allen’s placement in concussion protocol leaves him unlikely to play. Sharrod Neasman would likely start in his place, with T.J. Green potentially coming up from the practice squad to chip in.
We’ll hope for better news on Friday, but at the moment I’m concerned the Falcons will be without all three. We’ve seen what this offense looks like with Julio, so going without him on Sunday against a talented pass defense feels like it’ll go poorly.