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Troy Andersen surprisingly designated to return from injured reserve

In case the Falcons do make the playoffs, or simply to get him back on the field because he’s ready, Andersen has a chance to return.

NFL: JAN 08 Buccaneers at Falcons Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

When Troy Andersen was placed on injured reserve after suffering a significant shoulder injury, I thought we had seen the last of him in 2023. It turns out I was only sort of correct about that.

The 2023 season rolls on even if the calendar year has ended, and the Atlanta Falcons have designated Andersen to return from IR. That means there’s a non-zero chance we’ll see him in action against the Saints this Sunday, even if I’d doubt he’d roll out with the starters.

Heading into the year, the second-year linebacker was one of the players the Falcons figured to count on in 2023. An athletic marvel with intriguing coverage skills, Andersen instead was lost early in the year and replaced by Nate Landman, who has been a terrific run defender even if the coverage struggles have repeatedly cropped up. The positive side of that is that the Falcons now know Landman is a damn fine reserve who can step in as a starter when the team needs him to; the downside is that they didn’t get the extended look at whether Andersen could be a transformational piece for this defense. That will have to wait until the 2024 regular season.

In the two games he did appear in, Andersen struggled a bit with missed tackles but only allowed 5.4 yards per target on passes thrown to him, with seven completions on nine targets. He chipped in a half sack and 19 total tackles.

So why activate him now? If Andersen is healthy enough to go, there’s no sense in parking him for the rest of the year, especially with the Falcons still improbably in the playoff hunt. If things fall the right way and Atlanta ends up as the #4 seed in the NFC, having Andersen back would presumably be a boon for them. If nothing else, it opens up his practice window and gives Andersen a shot to play a little here at the end of the year, giving Atlanta’s linebacker group at least some small boost.

We’ll see what comes of this move and whether we do actually see Andersen Sunday, but it’s nice to know he’s close enough that he might be able to play in the near future. I’m still excited to see what he can bring to the table in a full, healthy season next fall.