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Falcons seem cautiously optimistic that CB A.J. Terrell will return this week

The team’s top corner has been out for a few weeks now, and the team has to be eager to see him return.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

A.J. Terrell last played in Week 7 against the Bengals. He missed most of that game after suffering (or, perhaps, aggravating) a hamstring injury and has been working his way back since. In the interim, a Falcons secondary also missing Casey Hayward has predictably struggled quite a bit, even with stretches of strong play from Darren Hall at times.

We’ve been waiting to see when Terrell might return, and in his Monday press conference, Arthur Smith sounded an optimistic note for this upcoming game against the Bears.

That’s far from a sure thing, but even this kind of cautious optimism is welcome. Terrell had his ups-and-downs early in the season, but he’s easily this team’s most talented cornerback and is a factor both in coverage and against the run. The Falcons, as you’ve surely noticed, need a lot of help in both areas. With a handful of capable passing attacks on the way, getting Terrell back would help, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have him to help contain Justin Fields and that potent Chicago ground attack, either.

If Terrell is out again, Darren Hall and Rashad Fenton will draw the starts outside, with Isaiah Oliver and Dee Alford getting time at the nickel. Fenton had a rough debut against the Panthers but hopefully just needed to shake some rust off.

We should know whether he has a shot to play by Wednesday—if Terrell isn’t practicing at all early in the week, I’m still going to be very dubious about him playing—and all we can do in the meantime is cross our fingers until then.