Expectations for Troy Andersen were high heading into 2023. Nobody really knew if the hyper-athletic linebacker would pull it together and become a spectacular defender, but we were going to get to find out, and Ryan Nielsen’s scheme and its friendliness for versatile inside linebackers seemed to bode well.
We got some really fun moments through two games—Andersen missed one because he was in the league’s concussion protocol—but it appears that’s all we’ll get for this season. Per Arthur Smith, there is a fear that Andersen’s shoulder/pectoral injury suffered in Sunday’s loss to the Lions is season-ending.
Arthur Smith says scans on Troy Andersen’s shoulder “didn’t look good” and it’s possible he could be down for the year. #Falcons— Joe Patrick (@japatrick200) September 25, 2023
Sometimes an injury sounds dire on first blush and isn’t as bad as expected after further tests, but we’ll have to brace for Andersen missing the rest of the season. The pass rushing and coverage promise he brought to the table and the ability to fly all over the field owing to his speed is going to be missed if that’s the case, and we’ll have to wait until 2024 to see Andersen’s potential. It’s a significant loss, especially so early in the season, and especially with this defense legitimately playing well right now.
Nate Landman will have to step in. The undrafted free agent was a standout against Green Bay for his solid work against the run in particular, drawing praise from assistant head coach Jerry Gray along the way. He’ll be expected to take on the starting job and hold it as long as Andersen is out, though the Falcons will almost certainly add a veteran to this suddenly very thin group with Tae Davis being the only other inside linebacker currently on the roster. Landman has looked good in his limited action; we do not know what he’ll look like over the course of a full season, but have to trust his early returns are what he can offer with more extended playing time.
We wish Andersen well on his recovery, but hope against hope we get some better news.