The Falcons were already down Ricardo Allen and Kendall Sheffield on Sunday, with Damontae Kazee also banged up. The secondary figured to be a bit of a trouble spot against Mitch Trubisky and his talented group of pass catchers, even if that’s hardly the most intimidating matchup Atlanta will face this year, due to those injuries and two straight weeks of shaky play.
Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that things are getting worse. Moments after this story went live, national reporters tweeted out that Terrell is going on the reserve/COVID-19 list, making him the first player to miss a game this season due to landing on the list. That’s the latest unbelievable bad thing for a team that has already somehow managed a season’s worth of them. It’s an incredible bummer for Terrell, a player who was starting to roll, and obviously we’ll be worried about him until we know he’s healthy and well.
Falcons' CB A.J. Terrell is being placed on the reserve COVID list and is out for Sunday’s game against the Bears. He now becomes the first NFL player this season to miss a game due to COVID.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 26, 2020
Source tells me Falcons could be without rookie CB A.J. Terrell for Sunday’s game against the Bears. Could be a big blow with Kendall Sheffield (foot) and Ricardo Allen (elbow) already ruled out.— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) September 26, 2020
Terrell played quite well last week and is well on his way to being the team’s best cornerback, one of the essential building blocks this team needs on defense to actually get better. Without Terrell and Sheffield, and with Jordan Miller not returning from suspension until after the Packers game in Week 4, the cornerback group this weekend could very well be Isaiah Oliver, Darqueze Dennard, Blidi Wreh-Wilson, and some combination of D.J. White, Delrick Abrams, and Tyler Hall off the practice squad. Oliver’s making at least modest progress, Dennard is still a very solid player, and Wreh-Wilson is one of the best deep reserves in the entire league, but that’s hardly an ideal situation. That’s especially true with Rico and maybe Kazee out at safety, because even though neither is off to a stellar start, Atlanta’s going to be relying on inexperienced players and a still-getting-up-to-speed Keanu Neal.
Against Dallas or Seattle, this would’ve been even more of a death sentence than it would be against the Bears, given that Mitch Trubisky isn’t an elite quarterback. He’s got plenty of weapons, however, and this is more news a Falcons team desperately seeking its first win does not need.
The most important thing is that Terrell is healthy, so we’ll hope this turns out to be a proximity scare and not a case of him actually contracting COVID-19. We’ll be thinking of him Sunday.