An important member of this Falcons defense is on his way back to action. Edge rusher Steven Means was designated to return off injured reserve on Tuesday, the team announced, opening a 21-day practice window that should lead to his return.
Means suffered a knee injury during a victory over the New Orleans Saints and went on IR before the next game in Dallas.
He was missed.
While his stats aren’t overwhelming, Means plays a huge role on this Falcons defense, setting an edge against the run and as a reliable part of the team defense who is always in the right spot.
Losing him taxed the Falcons a bit and getting him back should get the rotation back right. Ade Ogundeji and James Vaughters will still be active on the edge but Means will take some meaningful snaps if he's able to come back soon.
It's uncertain exactly when he could return. Dante Fowler, for example, came back the same week he was designated to return. Others take the full 21 days – if they ready in that time, they go on season-ending IR – to be added to the active 53-man roster.
Means' designation to return wasn't the only Falcons move of this Tuesday. They also activated guard Josh Andrews off the reserve/COVID-19 list and waived cornerback Chris Williamson.
The Falcons play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.