Falcons head coach Mike Smith said on Monday that starting linebacker Akeem Dent was definitely ruled out for Thursday's game against the Bengals. Dent continues to go through the NFL's protocol for concussions. Smith said he felt like they had plenty of time and Dent would recover.
Mike Peterson has been getting the majority of the first-team reps since Thursday's game and he appears to be the starter at this time while training camp continues. Rookie linebacker Pat Schiller's reps will go up as well with Dent out. Smith said he anticipates Schiller to play a considerable number of snaps in the game this week as they look for backup depth at middle linebacker.
"Pat's going to get an opportunity to play a significant number of snaps so we're going to get evaluation," Smith said.
Smith said the key, as is the case for so many of the depth players on the roster, will still be special teams for a player like Schiller. How well he performs in that area of the game will go a long way toward determining his spot on the roster.
"Your fifth and sixth (linebackers) are going to play more special teams snaps than they are going to play snaps on defense," Smith said.
Schiller began much of his play last week against the Ravens in the third quarter. He ended the game with two tackles.
"I liked what he did," Smith said. "He got some experience and he's going to get some experience this week, a significant more number of snaps."