Falcons rule out starters for Week 9 contest against Chargers

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Arthur Smith met with the media after Friday’s practice and ruled out AJ Terrell and Elijah Wilkinson for the Falcons Week 9 contest against the Chargers.

As Rothstein says in his tweet, these aren’t exactly surprising. Neither player has participated in the team’s practices this week as Terrell deals with a hamstring injury and Wilkinson a knee injury.

This is the second straight game the All-Pro corner will miss, having sat out the win over Carolina. The Falcons secondary was brutalized by PJ Walker with Terrell, Casey Hayward, and Jaylinn Hawkins out of the lineup. On the bright side, Hawkins is expected to play, and the Chargers are expected to be down Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.

Darren Hall will start in his second straight game, and Falcons fans can expect him to start the rest of the season in place of Hayward, who is likely out the remainder of the season. Dee Alford, Mike Ford, or Cornell Armstrong will get the start opposite Hall, with Isaiah Oliver manning the slot.

Wilkinson will miss his second game of the season after missing the Falcons’ Week 3 win over the Seahawks. During that matchup, it was Colby Gossett that got the nod in place of the veteran Wilkinson. However, throughout the week, it’s been 2021 starting center Matt Hennessy that has gotten the reps with the first-team offense. 

Gossett was more than fine in his lone start, and I imagined the coaching staff would go in his direction again. With Hennessy taking snaps with the starters, one has to think he’s going to get the start. It could be due to an undisclosed injury, Gossett’s unsatisfactory play, or a particular wrinkle in this week’s matchup that favors Hennessy’s skill set. I’m not sure, but the Falcons will be down at least two starters in a game that could get them over .500 for the first time since 2017.

Arthur Smith also added that Cordarrelle Patterson‘s status is up in the air, and a decision will likely come on Saturday.

Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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