FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Arthur Smith said on Monday that the Falcons did fear Casey Hayward's shoulder injury would be one he had to work through long term, and that proved to be true as the organization moved him the injured reserve on Tuesday.
Hayward injured his shoulder in the second half of Sunday's win against the 49ers. He immediately went to the locker room, and did not return to the game.
As A.J. Terrell had also left the game with a thigh injury, Darren Hall and Dee Alford took over at cornerback for the injured starting duo. With Hayward officially on IR, it should be Hall who slots in for him.
Terrell said after the game that he felt "good," and that the reason he didn't go back into the game on Sunday was about "being able to play it safe a little bit" more than anything else. Falcons begin practice on Wednesday and Terrell's status throughout the week will be something to monitor.
With Hayward heading to IR, the Falcons have even more room to bring someone up to the 53-man roster. That spot goes to tight end MyCole Pruitt.
Pruitt was elevated from the practice squad ahead of both the Tampa Bay game two Sundays ago and the San Francisco game this past Sunday. Pruitt was important to the Falcons offensive operation in both games, particularly flashing against the 49ers with a touchdown to cap off the Falcons first drive.
Pruitt is someone the Falcons added during training camp. The tight end was drafted by the Vikings in 2015, before making his way to the Titans in 2018. There he met his position coach: Arthur Smith. Smith would go on to be Tennessee's offensive coordinator for the next two seasons.
Pruitt is someone the now Falcons head coach knows well.
Speaking of knowing well, the Falcons also announced on Tuesday that two familiar faces would be signed to the Falcons practice squad. DL Jalen Dalton and ILB Dorian Etheridge return to the Falcons after both sustained injuries during the preseason.
Dalton and Etheridge played well for the Falcons during training camp, and through the preseason (when they were healthy). They're two players this coaching staff really saw value in, so it comes as little surprise that they made their way back to Atlanta.
To make room for Dalton and Etheridge, the Falcons have released Kobe Smith from the practice squad.