Atlanta has dealt with a rash of injuries to start the season, similar to what fans have seen around the league. With no offseason, preseason games and an expedited training camp, players did not have their typical time to prepare for the rigors of an NFL season.
ESPN's Vaughn McClure spoke with former Chicago Bears head trainer Tim Bream about the high number of soft-tissue injuries thus far this season, and he felt there was a correlation between the time spent at team facilities and the injuries occurring.
"Asked if he believes the lack of an offseason possibly contributed, Bream said, 'I think that's a good hypothesis, no question, because of lack of training time and the type of functional and neuromuscular training -- as well as the value of nutrition associated with being at the facility -- that needs to occur for an elite NFL athlete to prepare for their responsibilities on the field,'" McClure writes.
The Falcons' Wednesday injury report provided some indication that the team is getting healthier. Julio Jones was one of two players held out of practice, and a number of starters got back to working in a limited fashion. With Atlanta still searching for its first win of the season, the Falcons will want to have as many of their players healthy this weekend against the Carolina Panthers.
Falcons must fix coverage issues
The Falcons struggled to defend a Packers passing attack that has been one of the best in the league to start the season. Injuries played a role in some of Atlanta's miscues because of the miscommunication that occurred between some of the new faces in the lineup.
That miscommunication was apparent on a couple of Packers touchdowns where the receiver broke wide open. Tight end Robert Tonyan caught three touchdown passes on Monday night, and running back Aaron Jones scored the game's first touchdown after no defender covered him in the flat.
"For sure it was a factor from some communication and how could it not be with some of the guys it was their first time getting some access together after Kazee and Hawk left, but at the end of it, that's our responsibility to make sure we can nail those moments," Dan Quinn said. "Not an excuse, but certainly one of the factors. We're hopeful that we'll get some of the guys back this week that have the experience in the system and the communication being on-point like we would be accustomed to."
What we learned in Falcons' loss
Now through the first quarter of the 2020 season, the Atlanta Falcons are still searching for their first win. After falling to the Green Bay Packers on "Monday Night Football" by the score of 30-16, the Falcons are focused on making sure the second four games don't look like the first.
If Atlanta is to have more success moving forward, it will need to get more production from the offense. While the Falcons were able to move the ball at times against the Packers, they didn't do so consistently or hit on many explosive plays. That side of the ball stuck out to Jelani Scott, who wrote about it in his game recap.
"It was an all-sizzle-no-steak kind of day for a Falcons offense that statistically ranks among the NFL's best," Scott writes. "Todd Gurley (16/57/2) and wideout Olamide Zaccheaus (8/86) managed solid outings, but that was about it. After punting on their first two drives, the Falcons (0-4) strung together a 20-play, 94-yard drive that started on their 1-yard line … and it ended with a field goal. Matt Ryan was decent (28-of-39), but the bulk of his 285 yards came on drives that concluded with punts or a turnover on downs. Questionable designations shrouded Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley entering the night, but both took the field with the intention of making an impact. Neither would make a dent in this one. Ridley was held without a catch (five targets) for the first time since his debut in 2018. As for Jones (4/32), his night ended after he re-aggravated his hamstring injury and didn't play in the second half."
Julio Jones re-injures hamstring vs. Packers
As Scott notes, Julio Jones did not play during the second half of Atlanta's game against Green Bay. After entering the matchup with an ailing hamstring, Jones was officially ruled out for the second half due to the hamstring injury. With his first catch of the night, Jones became team's all-time leader in receptions, but he wasn't able to make the type of impact he often does.
Following the game, Falcons coach Dan Quinn said it was too soon to make any proclamations about the receiver's status for the next game.
"I think like all things, we'll see how he responds this week and if he's able to go against Carolina or not," Quinn said. "I know it's a short week but too early for us to tell if he'll be available at Carolina on Sunday or not."
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