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.
- 'I definitely owe Kyle': Micah Parsons looking for revenge in first NFL match up with Kyle Pitts
- The switch up: Deion Jones, Foye Oluokun discuss being the "quarterback of the defense"
- What goes on, why there's value, in Dean Pees 'signal callers meeting'
- Bair Mail: On Cordarrelle Patterson, Terry Fontenot finding hidden gems, replacing Calin Ridley
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.
Falcons Final Whistle | A Postgame Podcast
Break down the hottest topics surrounding the Atlanta Falcons and how they can impact the team's success with Atlanta Falcons Insiders Scott Bair, Tori McElhaney and Kris Rhim. Like and subscribe to join us for the lively debate on Falcons Final Whistle.
Welcome to Falcons Final Whistle – an Atlanta Falcons football postgame podcast during the season that shifts gears in the offseason to answer a pressing question about the team's future each week through free agency, the NFL Draft and the offseason program.