The Falcons have announced their inactives with the game a little over an hour away, and there’s some good news to come out of the announcement.
Per the team, tight end Kyle Pitts will play against the Saints, giving the offense a puncher’s chance of overcoming a stout New Orleans defense. Pitts also gets his shot at history, as he’s chasing Mike Ditka’s all-time yardage record for a rookie tight end and needs just 59 yards to get there. Pitts already set the modern record, blowing by Jeremy Shockey weeks ago.
It’s not all roses, though. Here is the list of inactives for Week 18.
- QB Josh Rosen
- DL John Cominskey
- G Jalen Mayfield
- WR Frank Darby
- OLB James Vaughters
- DL Tyeler Davison
The big news here is that Mayfield, who is injured, won’t play in this game. Mayfield has been benched briefly a couple of times, but had started the previous 16 games in 2021. With Mayfield out and Josh Andrews active, it’ll be interested to see if Andrews, Drew Dalman or Colby Gossett draws the start at the position and how they fare. Mayfield will go into 2022 competing for the starting left guard job again, and it’ll likely depend on how much progress he makes this offseason.
The team prefers versatile rookie Feleipe Franks as Matt Ryan’s backup, which means the end of the Rosen era is coming this offseason. Franks, who has dabbled at multiple positions, figures to at least be the team’s third quarterback and Taysom Hill Lite option in 2022.
Otherwise, there are few surprises here. It’s a shame to see Darby inactive but he’ll have a more prominent role next year if he makes progress, given that this receiving corps is barren. Vaughters may stick as a reserve rotational outside linebacker as the team remakes that position in the offseason, as well. Davison figures to be gone as the team has preferred other options on the defensive line, but served as a solid starter and reserve these past few years for Atlanta and won’t lack for options in the offseason. Cominsky made the shift to outside linebacker and has mostly been inactive this season, but it’s possible he’ll get a shot to compete for a role in 2022.
Here are the Saints inactives:
- OT Terron Armstead
- QB Ian Book
- RB Mark Ingram II
- CB Bradley Roby
- DB P.J. Williams
- WR Kenny Stills
The Saints are missing a dominant starting tackle, a useful reserve running back and a pair of their defensive backs against Atlanta, so they’re not at 100% strength. Go Falcons!