The Falcons saw a few defenders go down with injuries on Sunday in the team’s 30-14 loss to the Super Bowl favorite Buccaneers — Ade Ogundeji and Richie Grant with an ankle and Fabian Moreau with a hamstring. After going into the game with a leg up on Tampa Bay, Atlanta finished the game in a similar spot as the division leaders as far as health goes. On Monday, Arthur Smith gave an update on those players, saying they’d be evaluated this week before the Carolina game. Smith also told the media that Hayden Hurst is back in the building after missing the last three weeks with an ankle injury.
TE Hayden Hurst is “back in the building” after missing the last three games due to an ankle injury, Arthur Smith says. OLB Ade Ogundeji (ankle), DB Richie Grant (ankle) and CB Fabian Moreau (hamstring) will be evaluated this week.
— Josh Kendall (@JoshTheAthletic) December 6, 2021
Grant and Ogundeji have now taken a more prominent role in the defense, and though they’ve struggled in different ways, any halt in their development could be detrimental. The Falcons need their 2021 rookie class to pan out with several key starters, but they can’t develop if they aren’t on the field. Hopefully, these injuries are insignificant, and the first-year defenders don’t miss any time.
Moreau and Hurst were more involved than the rookies, and the former has played considerably well. He’s on a team-friendly one-year deal and is consistently targeted playing opposite A.J. Terrell. Atlanta’s pass defense hasn’t been abysmal, and Moreau is a big part of that. He’s been more than satisfactory and would be sorely missed.
In a move to make room for Hurst, the Falcons waived Parker Hesse on Monday afternoon. Hurst isn’t going to move the needle for the Falcons offense, but any little bit will surely help. Hopefully, we see more downfield routes as Hurst returns; though, if we didn’t see it before he went down with the injury, I don’t see it happening in his return.