FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- No definitive answers were provided as to the potential game status of defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and running back Devonta Freeman on Thursday, but Falcons coach Dan Quinn did share an idea of where the two players were trending.
Jarrett was held out of the Falcons' loss to the Steelers due to an ankle injury, while Freeman returned to action in Week 5 after being sidelined by a knee injury but hurt his foot during the game. Although neither practiced on Wednesday, Quinn seemed pleased with the progress Jarrett is making.
"He is making a big improvement," Quinn said. "He's got power, he can step off and push off and get off. So, he'll take it a step further today with the rehab portion of things, and I told him we'll take a look tomorrow and then we'll make an assessment as we get into Friday. But I'm very encouraged, he's definitely closer now than maybe even I thought he'd be. That kind of goes to his will and mindset ... Good news is that we're going to get Grady back sooner than later, for sure."
When discussing Freeman, Quinn took a bit more a cautious approach. It's important to note again that Freeman's current injury is a new one from the knee injury that sidelined him for three weeks, but that doesn't mean the Falcons are treating his foot injury any differently.
"Definitely his foot is sore," Quinn said. "He was able to do some work out to the side yesterday. He'll probably participate in some of the walkthrough today. But with his soreness, we're just going to see how it responds over the next day and a half [to see] if he can be ready to play. Certainly he's frustrated that he's got a sore foot, but the good news is it's not something that's long-term or a re-aggravation of anything he's had prior. So, those are good. But we're going to have to take a look and see. We'll probably know more after we go through today and then tomorrow's practice. He's definitely better than he was Monday, but we're not at the spot yet that we'd like to be for him to go and do all of the things he has to do."
If the two starters are out for Sunday's game, they can still play a valuable role for the Falcons. Quinn made it a point to praise Jarrett's leadership from the sideline against the Steelers, highlighting the ways in which he helped his team.
"In the game over the weekend, his leadership really jumped out to me," Quinn said. "He was the one grabbing Gatorades for guys, looking at the iPads trying to go over some things. There's men like him and [Ricardo Allen] that they're going to find ways to affect their teammates even when it's not on the field."