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Falcons injury report: Steven Means to injured reserve; two Falcons downgraded to out vs. Dallas Cowboys

Lee Smith, Jonathan Bullard won't play in NFC showdown

DALLAS – The Falcons have downgraded three members of their squad from doubtful to out heading into Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Edge rusher Steven Means, tight end Lee Smith and Jonathan Bullard received new designations on the team's injury report, the Falcons announced on Saturday afternoon.

Cornerback Kendall Sheffield was ruled out the previous day.


Each absence will impact the Falcons in unique ways.

Means is a starting edge rusher playing significant snaps, which must be filled by others. Activating Dante Fowler off injured will help that effort. He has been practicing all week since being designated to return and could work opposite rookie Ade Ogundeji on a regular basis. James Vaughters will also be active in this rotation, especially in the base package. Brandon Copeland will factor in here as well.

The Falcons will miss Smith as a run blocker, pass protector and occasional receiver. He serves a unique role not ideally suited for fellow tight ends Kyle Pitts and Hayden Hurst, so the Falcons might have to get creative – could we see more of fullback Keith Smith? – to compensate for Smith's absence.

The Falcons have already gone a game without Bullard, who remains in the league's concussion protocol. We saw a steady dose of Marlon Davidson and Mike Pennel in a rotation, with big body Anthony Rush working a ton on the interior. Grady Jarrett is an obvious mainstay along the front.

John Cominsky remains questionable with a shoulder injury, though he has been a healthy scratch in recent weeks.


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