Bad news for fans hoping the Falcons can pull out the upset. Great news for fans hoping the Falcons can pull out a top-5 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Falcons will be short the league’s best wide receiver (apologies to Antonio Brown and his 217 receiving yards this season) and their starting free safety.
Raheem Morris announced both players out on Friday morning, suggesting neither one were particularly close to suiting up for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones has been dealing with a problematic hamstring in recent weeks. The team is hopefully just playing it safe and not rushing Jones back.
The team’s already problematic offense has been even worse without Jones, however, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage have benefitted from Jones’ absence.
Also of note is the return of the team’s right tackle and former first-round selection.
#Falcons RT Kaleb McGary is back with the team going through COVID-19 testing. Team hopes he clears and can play on Sunday. He was in Washington to a personal family matter and missed the last game.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) December 18, 2020
This should be a decent upgrade at right tackle. Matt Gono has filled in admirably for McGary without any major downgrade, but McGary has been the better player even if only marginally. Hopefully he can return on Sunday against the Buccaneers’ impressive defensive line.
For Jones, Morris has stated the team may consider simply shutting down the wide receiver for the year. That may be the best move for his future health especially with the playoffs far out of reach.