Right now, we have no idea whether the Falcons will have Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage, Erik Harris, Fabian Moreau, Avery Williams or Marlon Davidson for Week 7’s matchup against the Dolphins. We also don’t know if the Dolphins will have quarterback Tua Tagovailoa or top receiver DeVante Parker. The matchup isn’t going to necessarily swing on those injuries alone, but frankly, it could.
We’re a week and a half away from this game, which is more than enough time for players who would be out this Sunday to get back on the field. That’s excellent news for the Falcons, who certainly cut it closer than any of us would’ve liked against the Jets, even if they did manage a nice win with a depleted roster. It’s worth thinking about the ways
First of all, it’s worth noting that the Dolphins have one of the worst scoring offenses and the worst scoring defense in the NFL, something that seems unlikely to continue indefinitely. Jacoby Brissett has filled in admirably for Tua, but the latter is still a promising young quarterback who could make the Falcons defense very uncomfortable with an interesting cast of weapons. That could include Parker, who seems closer to a return, and it sounds like Tua will be very much on track to play against Atlanta. Tua presents a very different challenge than Brissett, who excels on short passes and is a capable scrambler.
Falcons have the Dolphins in two weeks https://t.co/cLlAEcZg3w— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) October 13, 2021
Atlanta has plenty riding on good health, as well. As bad as Miami has been to this point and as effective as the Falcons looked against New York, they still had to work some magic down their two top receivers on offense. Getting Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage back out there would help open things up for the likes of Kyle Pitts, who isn’t going to get the same benefits of single coverage the Jets served up very often without Ridley on the field, and would help the ground game given Gage’s blocking acumen in particular.
On the defensive side of the ball, a healthy Marlon Davidson is a good addition to the defensive line, Erik Harris has mostly played pretty well at safety and Avery Williams is both a capable punt returner and a useful piece of the secondary. Moreau, who I keep forgetting was injured, hasn’t had the best year to this point but has been a full-time starter who has delivered some timely plays in recent weeks. Missing any of those guys—hell, missing all of them, which remains a remote possibility—will make things more difficult for a team that’s had enough rough sledding already.
Besides Ridley and Harris, who we haven’t received any status updates on to this point, I think we’ll see everyone back for Atlanta in time to face a Miami team welcoming back Tua. The hope will be that getting back injured players, a week of rest and the re-calibration that comes with it will let Atlanta continue Miami’s misery.
Evan Birchfield will have some more injury updates as we get them through this bye week—if indeed we get any—and it’ll be worth keeping an eye out to see just how healthy Atlanta will be for their next game.