The Detroit Lions Week 16 opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, have declared their injury designations and will likely be without one of their starting wide receivers, but are otherwise very healthy this late in the season.
Let’s take a look at the Falcons’ additions to the COVID-19 list and injury designations for this week, with the starters bolded.
- DL Marlon Davidson (COVID-19)
Davidson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Thursday—his second stint in just over a year—and is in danger of missing this Sunday’s game. The 2020 second-round pick has seen his role decline of late, as he has been unable to find his groove in the rotation, despite the Falcons’ defensive line being subpar this year. It’s been a disappointing two seasons for the Auburn product.
- WR Tajae Sharpe (foot)
Sharpe has been labeled day-to-day by Falcons’ coach Arthur Smith, but he missed every practice this week, and a doubtful designation is a sign that the Falcons will likely be looking for another starting wide receiver.
Russell Gage is established at one spot, and Olamide Zaccheaus has seen the field on over half the Falcons offensive snaps this season, but after that, the wide receiver room is lacking experienced bodies, as top receiver Calvin Ridley has stepped away to focus on his mental health.
Look for rookie tight end Kyle Pitts to become even more involved in the Falcons’ offensive game plan.
Not listed with an injury designation
- RB Cordarrelle Patterson (rest)
- TE Lee Smith (rest)
- RG Chris Lindstrom (personal matter)
- DL Tyeler Davison (illness)
- LB Deion Jones (illness)
- KR/CB Avery Williams (groin)
Williams is the Falcons’ primary return man on both punt and kick returns. He has held the punt return role all season, but recently took over kick returns from Cordarrelle Patterson (in Week 10) as his role on the offense has grown. But make no mistake, Williams is a solid kick returner with a 77.5 grade from PFF—which is better than his punt return grade of 58.1 from PFF.
Williams was not listed on the injury report on Wednesday but popped up on Thursday as limited, which carried over to Friday’s practice as well. Mid-week injuries can often be a problem, so this is worth monitoring, but not being listed with an injury designation is a positive outlook.
Jones missed practice on Wednesday but was able to return on Thursday in full. Davison missed Wednesday and Thursday but returned on Friday. They’re ready to go.
Patterson, Smith, and Lindstrom were all given a day off this week, either a designed rest day or an excused absence.