Falcons could be without several key contributors for season opener

NFL: AUG 05 Atlanta Falcons Training Camp

The Falcons are gearing up for their season opener in Atlanta this Sunday, hosting the Panthers, but they could be without several key contributors who are dealing with injuries.

Training camp has been somewhat kind to the Falcons; however, a couple of notable starters have dealt with nagging injuries, particularly Cordarrelle Patterson and Jeff Okudah.

Patterson, along with Mike Hughes, has been dealing with a soft tissue injury. Thankfully, the latter returned to practice on Monday while the veteran Patterson is still out. KhaDarel Hodge injured his ankle during the second preseason game against the Bengals and is also in danger of missing the Week 1 contest.

However, Arthur Smith seems optimistic a lot of them will be ready to go.

“Some of those guys will be back out there, but (I’m) very pleased with how everybody’s progressing,” Smith said Monday. “Those guys worked hard over the weekend rehabbing, but most of those guys will be back with the exception of a few.”

Okudah seems to be the most likely to not be ready to go this Sunday. Out of all these guys, he seems to be the most important to the team’s overall success.

Tre Flowers, Dee Alford, Mike Hughes, and Clark Phillips are the Falcons’ options to supplement Okudah’s snaps, but everyone outside of Flowers seems more comfortable working in the slot as a nickel corner. Flowers is a veteran but isn’t exactly an inspiring option. Thankfully, the Panthers are dealing with injuries in the wide receiver department.

As far as Patterson and Hodge, the Falcons should be able to handle those absences if that’s the case. Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier are more than capable of carrying the load; the club just might have to bring Godwin Igwebuike up from the practice squad.

Hodge’s presence on the offense isn’t as significant as Patterson’s, but the Falcons special teams will surely miss him.

All things considered, the team is relatively healthy, and none of these injuries are long-term. Okudah should be back soon, and Patterson’s absence seems to be precautionary.

Photographer: Jeff Robinson/Icon Sportswire

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