The Falcons elected to start Matt Hennessy at left guard in this one, but unfortunately he didn’t get a full game to show us what we could do. Hennessy exited the game in the third quarter with an injury and a limp, and he ended up not playing again after that point.
In addition, the Falcons lost tight end/quarterback/special teamer Feleipe Franks to injury, as well. He exited the game and did not return.
Colby Gossett has replaced Matt Hennessy at left guard for the Falcons.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) November 6, 2022
On a very short week, the fact that both were ruled out is probably a very bad sign for their Week 10 availability. Hennessy was having his up-and-down start to this one, particularly in pass protection, and the team does have a ready-made replacement in Colby Gossett, who also pulled a start earlier this year against Seattle. Given that the team clearly wanted a longer look at the third-year Hennessy at left guard, the fact that he may well miss at least one full game truly stinks, and it leaves Atlanta’s depth at center and guard in rough shape in the short-term. We may see both Ryan Neuzil and Justin Shaffer elevated on Thursday night.
Franks has a much smaller role in this offense, but he’s asked to do a lot of different things during the week and on Sundays, and they’ll effectively need to replace a fourth or fifth tight end, third quarterback, and 10-20 special teams snaps against the Panthers if he can’t go.
Given how shaky this team has been the last two weeks, they can ill-afford any more attrition. Atlanta will head into a game against a similarly reeling Panthers squad likely to be down not one but two starting left guard options, Franks, and potentially their top two cornerbacks once again. It’s going to take some superlative fill-in efforts to make up for that.