Falcons’ Roddy White suffers low ankle sprain

ATLANTA — One day after the Falcons’ 27-23 preseason loss to Baltimore, the status of wide receiver Roddy White’s injured right ankle remains somewhat cloudy. 

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that White had a low-ankle sprain and that he would miss “some time,” citing the fact that training camp affords him the luxury to sit out and heal, but if it were the regular season and a game were coming up that White would be able to play. Later in the day on 790 The Zone, the team’s flagship radio station, David Archer said X-rays were negative and that White had suffered no breaks. 

“I haven’t had a chance to speak in depth with Roddy,” coach Mike Smith said after the game. “We made the decision that Roddy was not going to come back into the ball game. When we have further information on that, we will give it to you.” 

In response to a request for confirmation by FOXSportsSouth.com., a team spokesman said Smith would address the topic on Saturday. The Falcons had a scheduled off day on Friday. 

White has never missed a game in his career, playing in 128 straight. With almost four weeks until the Falcons’ season opener at New Orleans, he will have plenty of time to recover.

If it is a low ankle sprain, White should be fine. 

However, if it’s something more serious, the start of the season could be in jeopardy for the player who owns almost all of the Falcons’ franchise receiving records. 

Line gets good reviews 

Considering the amount of yards and points the Falcons’ first team was able to put up, both Smith and quarterback Matt Ryan indicated that they were pleased with the right side of the offensive line, which still remains the more scrutinized half. 

While right guard Garrett Reynolds and right tackle Lamar Holmes each were beaten badly on separate individual rushes that led to incomplete passes, they also did some good things. On one running play, Reynolds and center Peter Konz combined to push Baltimore’s four-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Haloti Ngata several yards down field on a positive running play. 

Ryan noted that each year he sees significant improvement from the first preseason game to the second as teams knock off rust.

“The offensive line did a great job pass protecting and running the ball,” Ryan said. “I thought Lamar and Garrett played really, really well. To me it’s one of the best (defenses) in the league and specifically probably one of the best front seven in the league and I thought our guys came out and played tough, played physical, played smart and did a great job of executing.” 

Smith noted both the successes and the shortcomings. 

“We wanted to improve our run game,” he said. “I thought we did a nice job of running the ball in the first half. We did a good job with the pass protection as well. We’re a team that prides itself on not being penalized and we had way too many penalties in the ball game. I think we had nine penalties, a lot of procedural penalties that need to get corrected.” 

The Falcons, normally one of the league’s least-penalized teams, were whistled for nine penalties for 68 yards. Four of those were on the offensive line, all false start calls. Ryan Schraeder received two, Konz and Sam Baker eached were flagged once apiece. 

Defense excels 

Essentially, the game’s margin of victory was Baltimore’s punt return for a touchdown, which means the Falcons’ defense held the Ravens to 17 points. Seven of those came on one of the first-team defense’s biggest failure: Torrey Smith’s 77-yard touchdown reception on a slant play. But, statistically speaking, the Falcons defense performed very well.

Consider: Atlanta outnumbered Baltimore in first downs 27-13 and limited Baltimore to 30 percent efficiency on third downs. 

The Falcons also outgained Baltimore in total yards (422-249), came up with three turnovers and held the Ravens to a little more than 20 minutes in time of possession. 

“I think we played very well except we gave up one explosive play,” Smith said. “That was a very long explosive play. When the ball is thrown for six or seven yards on a quick slant, ideally, you want to get the guy on the ground before he runs 70-plus yards, but I thought they did a very nice job. 

“I think they did a very good job on stopping the run. The statistics were certainly in our favor but again it’s a 60-minute game. It’s a four-quarter game and we’re all playing to win. We didn’t get that done tonight, but I am encouraged that we were able to go through this evaluation process and see improvement from Week One to Week Two.”