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Falcons place Hayden Hurst, Daren Bates on injured reserve

The injuries are piling up for Atlanta, which made a flurry of moves ahead of Thursday night’s game.

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The Falcons are dealing with several significant injuries right now, and there’s ambiguity as to whether Cordarrelle Patterson and Jaylinn Hawkins will play tonight. Unfortunately, there’s no ambiguity at all for Hayden Hurst and Daren Bates, who were already ruled out but now have been placed on injured reserve.

Atlanta made a dizzying number of moves ahead of tonight’s game, so let’s recap them all quickly here.

We’ll start with Hurst. The team’s second tight end, Hurst has 20 grabs for 158 yards and a touchdown on the year, and will be replaced on the active roster by Parker Hesse. Neither Hesse nor Lee Smith is primarily known for their pass catching, which leaves the Falcons down another pass catcher against a tough defense. Hurst had not been extremely productive to this point, but hopefully he’ll be healthy in three weeks and can return to help out an offense that needs all hands on deck.

Bates is a special teams ace the Falcons signed to help shore up their coverage units after surrendering a pair of long kickoff returns against Washington and the Jets, and he’ll be replaced by linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbee in what’s likely to be almost purely a special teams role. As is the case with Hurst, we’ll hope Bates is back in action and healthy as soon as he possibly can be.

The Falcons also elevated wide receiver Marvin Hall and safety Shawn Williams from the practice squad for the game. Hall, a speedy receiving option who knows Matt Ryan from a previous stint in Atlanta, will hopefully help out a passing offense that was absolutely woeful against Dallas a week ago and now faces another stiff test. Williams will likely play mostly special teams, but may be pressed into action at safety on a limited basis if Hawkins can’t go tonight.

The team also added offensive lineman Joe Sculthorpe to the practice squad. The 2021 undrafted free agent spent the summer with Atlanta before being cut, and now returns to try to carve out a long-term reserve role.

The final move involves Qadree Ollison, who is being elevated from the practice squad in place of Josh Andrews, who is on the reserve/COVID-19 list and was not cleared ahead of the game. Ollison didn’t get much run last time around, but with Cordarrelle Patterson potentially missing the game, both he and Wayne Gallman may find themselves pressed into significant roles against the Patriots.

That’s a bevy of moves for a Falcons team hoping to beat the odds and carve out a win tonight. We’ll hope to see Hurst and Bates soon, and we’ll hope that Hall, Ellerbee, Hesse, Ollison and Williams can contribute tonight.