Peters injury leaves 11 players on Falcons’ IR
The Atlanta Falcons are finishing the season with 11 players on
injured reserve, including two additions this week.
The Falcons, who complete their disappointing season on Sunday
against Carolina, placed defensive tackle Corey Peters on IR on
Thursday. Peters left Monday night’s loss at San Francisco with a
right Achilles injury.
Earlier this week, rookie safety Zeke Motta was placed on IR
after undergoing neck surgery.
It is a fitting end to a season filled with injuries. Among
other prominent names on IR: wide receiver Julio Jones, left tackle
Sam Baker, right tackle Mike Johnson, fullback Bradie Ewing and
defensive end Kroy Biermann.
Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, running back Steven Jackson and
receiver Roddy White missed three or more games with injuries.
”It’s been a difficult year for a lot of guys,” coach Mike
Smith said after Thursday’s practice. ”I feel for the guys
personally because they’ve all worked hard and they’ve all had
expectations to have a clean season and a good season. For us as
coaches, it’s part of the NFL. Some years you’re going to have
more. Some years we’re going to have less.”
The Falcons (4-11) may be without Weatherspoon and running back
Jacquizz Rodgers against the Panthers. Weatherspoon was inactive
against the 49ers with a knee injury and hasn’t returned to
practice this week.
Smith said Weatherspoon’s knee ”hasn’t responded” and the goal
is to have the linebacker run on the side during Friday’s
Rodgers is going through the NFL’s concussion protocol.
Peters, second on the team with 5 sacks, was emotional on the
sideline at San Francisco following his injury. Peters, who has
started 53 of 56 career games, is a pending unrestricted free
The injuries have provided new challenges for quarterback Matt
Ryan, who has played behind an offensive line that has been
shuffled on a weekly basis.
”It’s been tough sledding, there’s no question about that,”
Ryan said Thursday. ”We’ve had a number of guys nicked up. It’s
part of the game. It’s the part you don’t like about it, but it is
part of the deal. Some seasons shape up that way. You’ve got to
find a way to adapt and overcome. We haven’t done a good enough job
Ryan Schraeder, an undrafted rookie from Valdosta State, started
at right tackle against the 49ers. Peter Konz and Harland Gunn
rotated at right guard.
Ryan has had to throw to such fill-in receivers as rookie Darius
Johnson, Kevin Cone and Drew Davis.
The line, which also included center Joe Hawley, left tackle
Lamar Holmes and left guard Justin Blalock, gave up only one sack
against the 49ers. Given solid protection, Ryan completed 37 of 48
passes for 348 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions in
the 34-24 loss.
”You learn from whatever situation you get put in,” Smith
said. ”I think Matt has shown a lot of resiliency throughout games
and throughout this season. I felt like he played one of his better
games of the season on Monday night. I think it is apparent when he
has time and we can keep the pocket clean that he can dissect a
”But it’s a learning experience, having to bring younger
receivers along, having to interact with them differently. I think
it will bode well for us in the future.”
Smith noted the Falcons avoided such widespread injuries in his
first five seasons.
”We’ve been very fortunate in our first five years in terms of
the number of guys that we’ve had put on injured reserve,” Smith
said. ”The great thing is all of these injuries are ones they can
recover from and we anticipate getting them all back.”
Notes: The signed safety Sean Baker and defensive tackle Adam
Replogle to the active roster from the practice squad. Smith said
it is possible the two will be on the active roster against
Carolina. Replogle (6-3, 294) was signed as a free agent out of
Indiana. Baker (6-0, 209) was signed by Tampa Bay as a college free
agent out of Ball State in 2012 and was signed to the Falcons
practice squad on Oct. 22.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org