Another day. Another Links. Let’s get it.
Ridley and Gage return
The Falcons could use some good news coming out of the bye. They got it. With the Julio Jones trade, the Falcons were desperately short on talent at wide receiver. It was a group that could not deal with any injuries. Then Russell Gage was injured and Calvin Ridley had a last minute personal reason to miss the London game. The Falcons won but not every team will be the Jets.
Kaleb McGary heads to the COVID list
The good news is since the Falcons are 100% vaccinated, it is possible that McGary returns swiftly to the lineup. The bad news is McGary has been one of the line’s most frustrating players. Matt Gono, who was believed to be in the competition to start at right tackle, is still on injured reserve.
Atlanta’s upcoming schedule
The Falcons are 2-3. The team was really only a play away from 3-2. Still, Atlanta was embarrassing early in the season. The progress has been impressive enough, with other teams regressing, that the upcoming schedule could be competitive. The struggling Dolphins and Panthers are up the next two weeks.
Avoiding the rookie wall
Arthur Smith held his first press conference since the bye week. He spoke on a number of topics, but he did explain some of the team’s sometimes confusing decisions to limit rookie reps. Smith wanted to avoid the “rookie wall,” especially with the extended season in mind. Smith is mindful that so many rookies went immediately from their final college season, to draft preparation, rookie minicamp, training camp, preseason, then the regular season. Certain players have been limited to not overwhelm and overwork the young players.
Speaking of progress, is it enough?
We asked the writers if the recent surge of competency was enough to change their 2021 expectations. After the team’s poor start, expectations most certainly dropped. Now Atlanta may be moving back to preseason expectations.
Falcons add a special teamer
Atlanta still could use some help at depth. Well, starter as well, but one step at a time. The team added what could be a core special teamer on Monday.