The Atlanta Falcons face a real challenge in the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, but members of the team’s roster continue to land on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Atlanta announced Thursday that reserve offensive tackle Jason Spriggs would receive that designation ahead of Sunday’s game, making him the 13th Falcons player currently on the reserve/COVID-19 list.
Spriggs is the first Falcons offensive lineman to join that unfortunate group, which also includes Hayden Hurst, Tajae Sharpe and Richie Grant. The Falcons have been among the healthiest teams along the offensive line this season, but Spriggs did start at right tackle during the win against Miami in Week 7 and he’s played in eight games this season.
Atlanta was the first team to announce a 100 percent vaccinated roster at the beginning of the season, and the team site maintains that “the entire Falcons roster is fully vaccinated”. If that is indeed the case, the Spriggs, like all current Falcons on the reserve/COVID-19 list, could potentially test out of quarantine rules, according to NFL protocol updates that were announced on December 16.
Most notable from a competitive perspective: There are now more ways for fully vaccinated players and staff to “test out” of COVID protocols and return from quarantine in less than 10 days. It’s very technical but should mean more players and coaches returning sooner. pic.twitter.com/vAKqZjeRQb— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) December 16, 2021
While Spriggs may not have been at the forefront of the Falcons’ game plan for this week’s playoff-deciding matchup, Arthur Smith has touted the importance of depth and preparing all members of the 53-man roster for action. Spriggs’s performance in Week 7 is a testament to how he can serve this team if Kaleb McGary misses time.
Whoever ends up playing for Atlanta’s offensive line, he will have his work cut out for him. Although the Bills rank a paltry 27th in sacks this season, they are second in pressure rate. They may not be getting home, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t getting close enough to make an impact.
The Spriggs news isn’t necessarily devastating for the Falcons, but you never know who can make a difference on Sunday and the reserve/COVID-19 list is now growing.
Here is a full rundown of the Falcons’ reserve/COVID-19 list as of Thursday at 4 p.m. ET:
- DL Jonathan Bullard
- OLB Brandon Copeland
- DL Marlon Davidson
- DL Tyeler Davison
- QB Feleipe Franks
- S Richie Grant
- S Jaylinn Hawkins
- TE Hayden Hurst
- WR Tajae Sharpe