Atlanta Falcons Injury Update: Latest Information After 1st Preseason Game

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Atlanta Falcons Injury Update: Latest Information After 1st Preseason Game
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

The Falcons took on the Ravens on Thursday night and tried to get out unscathed. However, they did lose some key players for at least the preseason.

Injuries suck. There's just no other way to put it. They are part of the game though. Akeem Dent and Bradie Ewing were two Falcons who happened to get injured in last night's game.

Ewing went down on a punt return with an apparent knee injury and was carted off the field. Dent went out with what looked like a concussion after getting into a helmet-to-helmet hit on a special teams play.

 

Akeem Dent

Starting Middle Linebacker

Akeem Dent got into a helmet-to-helmet collision on a special teams play in the first half of the game. Dent suffered a likely concussion, and Mike Smith doesn't feel responsible as he will continue to play the top linebacker on special teams, noting he is a key player there (h/t Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com).

 

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Who's the backup?

Mike Peterson is the backup after Tatupu went down with a pectoral injury. Peterson is a long-time vet with years of experience in Mike Smith's defenses and should be ready to go should he play just 30-40 percent of the Falcons' defensive snaps.

 

Freak-Out Scale: 4-out-of-5

It's a big deal when the starting middle linebacker goes out, no matter what the scheme is. However, the Falcons won't be using the 4-3 as their base in 2012. They will be primarily out of the nickel and dime formations and will be reliant on the additional speed brought by those packages.

 

Timeline For Return:

Akeem Dent has been put into the NFL's concussion protocol program. So, he could be out two weeks or he could be out for 10 weeks. It all depends on how quickly he progresses and feels week-to-week. Best-case scenario: he is back for the opener. Worst-case scenario: he's back at the bye week.

 

Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Bradie Ewing

Competing for Starting Fullback

Ewing got hurt on a special teams play during the first half of the game versus the Ravens. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson (h/t Adam Mertz of the Wisconsin State Journal), the Falcons have determined it to be a torn ACL.

 

Who's the backup?

Mike Cox out of Georgia Tech. He was the Falcons' starting fullback last season when Ovie Mughelli went down for the season as well. While he isn't known as a top-notch runner or receiver out of the backfield, he is an excellent blocker receiving a +0.7 and a +2.1 grades for pass blocking and run blocking by ProFootballFocus (subscription required).

 

Grant Halverson/Getty Images
Cox (right) resumes his role as starting fullback due to the injury.

Freak-Out Scale: 1-out-of-5

While it's awful to lose a potential starter, the Falcons still have last season's starting fullback on the rosters and ready to go. Cox isn't a world beater by any stretch, but he is worth the roster spot. He also is a solid blocker and can take over for the rookie easily.

 

Timeline For Return:

As per usual on torn ACL injuries, Ewing will be out a full season. Due to this, coach Mike Smith has said that Ewing isn't going to return this year and has been placed on injured reserve (h/t Jay Adams of AtlantaFalcons.com). In the end, his entire contract and Mike Cox's entire contract still combine to be less than what Ovie Mughelli was supposed to make this year.

 

Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist and Trends and Traffic Writer for Bleacher Report. As a Featured Columnist, he covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He is also the Falcons analyst at Drafttek, runs the NFL Draft Website ScarDraft.com and hosts Kvetching Draftniks Radio.

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