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Falcons activate 3 off reserve/COVID-19 list, elevate 5 practice squad players

Richie Grant and Brandon Copeland will be back for this one, and every defender will help.

NFL: DEC 26 Lions at Falcons Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Falcons will go into Sunday at significantly less than full strength, which is not ideal. The Buffalo Bills are not an easy opponent, and they’re about as healthy as they’ve been in weeks. Atlanta’s going to need a stellar effort tomorrow, but then, that was always true.

The good news is that the Falcons are getting some players back off the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Sunday’s matchup, and they’re elevating five players from the practice squad to help out tomorrow.

Activated off reserve/COVID-19 list

  • QB Feleipe Franks
  • OLB Brandon Copeland
  • S Richie Grant

The big name here is Grant, obviously. He’ll start at nickel and will be essential to the effort tomorrow, and he’s impressed me in recent weeks with his tenacity and athleticism. With Fabian Moreau likely to miss the game, the Falcons are going to have to lean heavily on their young players in the secondary, and we’ll hope Grant and Darren Hall can be instrumental to a surprise win on Sunday.

Copeland is a core special teamer and useful piece of the rotation at outside linebacker, as he’s been good for at least some pressure. Franks contributes on special teams and may well slot back in as Matt Ryan’s backup Sunday, though you could see this coaching staff end up leaning heavily on recent signing Matt Barkley.

Practice squad elevations

  • WR Austin Trammell
  • TE Parker Hesse
  • DE Nick Thurman
  • DB Luther Kirk
  • DB Lafayette Pitts

Trammell will likely contribute on special teams, but his speed will make him interesting if he gets to chip in offense. Hesse is a familiar face, as he filled in while Hayden Hurst was on injured reserve and provided to be an occasionally useful pass catching option and a good blocker.

Thurman will provide defensive line depth with Jonathan Bullard and Marlon Davidson on the reserve/COVID-19 list, while Kirk and Pitts will be called upon to help out a secondary likely to be down Moreau and Jaylinn Hawkins. We’ll hope these guys can contribute in a dire situation with depth impacted at multiple positions, because otherwise this team’s going to have an even tougher day against Buffalo.