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Ishmael Slides into Starting Spot Again

It's been a rough year for veteran safety William Moore. The former Pro Bowler spent most of the season on injured reserve with the designation to return before making a comeback late in the season.

The injury bug bit him again, and again. Moore, it was announced Tuesday, is officially done for 2014 as the Falcons have placed him on injured reserve after another shoulder injury suffered against the Saints in a win Sunday.

That leaves second-year safety and former seventh-round pick Kemal Ishmael to pick up the slack the rest of the way, which shouldn't be a problem. Ishmael, listed as Moore's replacement on the latest unofficial depth chart, has earned plenty of experience in Moore's previous absences and to say he's filled in nicely would be an understatement.

Ishmael leads the Falcons in interceptions this year with four, and he's racked up 88 tackles. He may have made the play of the year on Sunday in New Orleans when he stripped Saints tight end Jimmy Graham of the ball before he crossed the goal line and recovered it to keep the Falcons' division rivals behind on the scoreboard.

"He's continuing to improve and mature as a safety and a defensive back," head coach Mike Smith said after announcing Moore's season is over. "It's a next-man-up mentality. He's played more snaps this year than William has played so he's got a lot of experience as a second-year player with scrimmage snaps. Last year, he was predominantly a special teams player, but he got a lot of experience through the 15 games."

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