It’s hard to believe that the Falcons don’t have the worst pass defense in the NFL. That title belongs to Seattle. However, Atlanta has allowed more than 1,000 passing yards over the first three weeks. While it’s expected to see big numbers from Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott, they also let the Bears torch them for more than 300 yards through the air.
On Tuesday, the Atlanta Falcons confirmed that new signee Darqueze Dennard will be placed on Injured Reserve. He suffered a hamstring injury late in the 30-26 loss to the Bears in Week 3. With the Falcons already without rookie A.J. Terrell, after he tested positive for COVID-19, this left them mighty thin at cornerback — a position that has been the biggest concern all season.
According to Pro Football Focus, Dennard was the highest-graded defender in Week 3, earning an 82.7 mark. On top of making six tackles and two pass breakups, he also intercepted Nick Foles in the endzone to stop a surging Bears offense.
Top-5 #Falcons PFF Defensive Grades vs. Bears
1. CB Darqueze Dennard – 82.7
2. LB Mykal Walker – 79.4
3. DT Grady Jarrett – 74.3
4. S Keanu Neal – 73.6
5. CB Isaiah Oliver – 66.6
— Evan Birchfield (@EvanBirchfield) September 28, 2020
However, to counter the news of Dennard being placed on IR, the Falcons announced the return of Jordan Miller. Miller missed the first three games this season to finish off his four-game suspension, which carried over from 2019, as he was suspended the final game against the Buccaneers.
In addition to Miller, Dan Quinn and the Falcons are optimistic about Kendall Sheffield returning to the team. The second-year corner has yet to play in 2020 and is likely to be thrown into the fire as soon as he’s healthy enough to take the field. Sheffield has been listed as the number one starter as the Falcons released their depth chart for Week 4.
“He’s looking forward to getting our first practice together, which will be Thursday this week with the Monday game. We’re definitely looking forward to having him back out on the field. We’ll have a better sense after he goes through the three practices to see where he’s at, but we’re very encouraged about him for this week.”
The status regarding A.J. Terrell and his availability is still unknown, but it doesn’t look like he will play in Week 4.
The Falcons take on the Packers on Monday night and need all the help they can get in the secondary. Through three games, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for over 850 yards and nine scores. Despite the possibility of being without Davante Adams, the Packers are not short on receiving weapons. Allen Lazard is quietly becoming an impact player in Green Bay. He ended Sunday night with 146 yards on six catches against New Orleans. In addition, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Marcedes Lewis are both still respectable targets. The Falcons secondary will be tested and on their heels the entire night. It’s time for someone to make a play.