Atlanta Falcons to see several familiar faces on Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The Falcons roster has seen a ton of turnover in recent offseasons since Arthur Smith and Terry Fontenot took over in Atlanta. And they aren’t all depth pieces. Plenty of starters or key rotational players are on different squads — Matt Ryan, Hayden Hurst, Foye Oluokun, Dante Fowler Jr., Mike Davis, etc. This week, the Falcons will see several familiar faces on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.¬†Russell Gage, Julio Jones, Keanu Neal, and Deadrin Senat will all face their former team. Let’s run through how each has faired this season:

Julio Jones

The Falcons’ all-time leading receiver has been hampered by injuries through four games this year, and it’s an obstacle he’s battled in recent years. Regardless of how great he is on the field, Jones has only been able to suit up twice this year.

In Week 1, Jones was targeted five times and hauled in three of them for 69 yards while carrying the ball twice for 17 yards. He only played slightly more than 50% of offensive snaps in the season opener before missing the next two games.

Jones did make it back on the field last week, but that injury continued to affect his game. He was targeted just twice, catching one pass for seven yards and played less than 30% of the offensive snaps and missed most of the second half.

Russell Gage

Outside of the Bucs’ Week 3 matchup against the Packers, Gage has been relatively quiet. In Tampa’s season opener against the Cowboys, he was targeted just twice but hauled in both for 13 yards while playing in only 42% of the offensive snaps. Since then, though, Gage hasn’t been on the field for less than 64% of snaps.

In Week 2, Gage was targeted six times and had five catches for 26 yards. His best game came against Green Bay, where he was Tom Brady‘s most-targeted pass catcher, putting up 12 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. He did, however, have a costly fumble. Last week, he returned to his limited role, catching two balls for 24 yards.

Both former Falcons pass catchers have underwhelmed to start their Bucs career.

Keanu Neal

Neal has been more of a reserve player but has been a special teams mainstay — logging 50% of special teams snaps in Week 1, 42% in Week 2, 76% in Week 3, and 23% in Week 4. Neal’s role in the third phase of the game dipping last week was because he experienced an expanded role on defense — playing in 57% of the defensive snaps against the Chiefs.

Deadrin Senat

Senat hasn’t seen much action, logging 21% of defensive snaps in Weeks 3 and 4, totaling three tackles in those contests.

Both Neal and Senat will likely assume their reserve roles unless injuries arise.

Photographer: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire
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