In a bit of bad news on the injury front, Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith has announced that starting defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. has been ruled out for Week 7’s contest against the Miami Dolphins.
A knee injury has kept Fowler out of practice all week, and the Falcons have gone ahead and ruled him out altogether following Friday’s “did not practice.”
NEW: Arthur Smith rules Dante Fowler out with knee injury.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) October 22, 2021
This is a new injury which was picked up; Fowler has played in all five games for the Birds thus far. The Falcons are also coming off of a bye week.
This is a blow to Atlanta’s defensive line, as Fowler has thus far put together a solid first quarter of the new season. He’s the joint leader on the team with 2.0 sacks, along with Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, who should see an increase in snaps this weekend due to the absence. Rookie Adetokunbo Ogundeji should also see his own increase in snaps, after playing a career high 30 against the Jets.
Fowler has also been Atlanta’s best run defender this season, according to PFF (among player’s who have played a minimum of 20% of the team’s snaps). He’s third on the team in run stops behind only Deion Jones and Foyesade Oluokun, and he has the most QB hurries with 10.
Cornerback Avery Williams, who has played in just two games so far this season, and Kaleb McGary are both also unlikely to suit up.
Dante Fowler will be out Sunday for the Falcons. Avery Williams will be doubtful. Slight chance on Kaleb McGary.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) October 22, 2021
Williams has logged a full week of limited practices with a hamstring injury, but that does not look like it will be enough for him to see the field this week, as the doubtful designation almost always downgrades to “out” on game day.
McGary is not on the injury report, but he landed on the COVID-19/reserve list at the start of this week. Since he (along with the entire team) is vaccinated, that does give him a chance to play as early as this weekend with a negative test, but the report does not sound too optimistic that he will see the field either. The team will turn to either Jason Spriggs or Colby Gossett at right tackle if McGary is ruled out.
The good news is that Jaylinn Hawkins carries no injury designation following a missed practice on Wednesday, with an illness. He logged two full practices on Thursday and Friday and should be good to go following the best performance of his young career against the Jets.