The Falcons are preparing to host the Bengals on Friday for the club’s second exhibition contest. There’s much anticipation around the preseason game because starters are expected to suit up; however, Atlanta will still be without several significant contributors, including Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Hughes, and Cornell Armstrong. Unfortunately, it seems the prospect of them, as well as others, missing the season opener isn’t encouraging.
Falcons HC Arthur Smith said he'll have more of an update on RB Cordarrelle Patterson & CB Mike Hughes after 3rd preseason game against Pittsburgh. Both are dealing with soft-tissue injuries.
CB Cornell Armstrong won't play against Cincinnati on Friday. Could be back next week.
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) August 16, 2023
Injuries are starting to pile up for the Falcons.
Ade Ogundeji just landed on the injured reserve. Matt Hennessy has also had an extended absence from practice to go along with Jeff Okudah, who is already expected to be out for the Falcons’ Week 1 contest against the Panthers.
Cordarrelle Patterson, Mike Hughes, and Cornell Armstrong are now in danger of joining them. It would be a crushing blow on several fronts.
Firstly, Patterson is still set to be an integral part of Arthur Smith’s offense. Despite Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier being available, the veteran’s versatility adds a dynamic element to Atlanta’s scheme. It shouldn’t be detrimental to the group’s effectiveness, but it’s notable.
Hughes is also a significant loss. The Falcons were primed to have a respectable secondary, with A.J. Terrell and Jessie Bates leading the way. Jeff Okudah and Richie Grant would round out the backend, but we know Okudah won’t be available. Therefore, we expected Hughes to assume the boundary or nickel role while others fill the void.
Now, your guess is as good as mine as to who will start against Carolina. Will the Falcons trot out Clark Phillips III and Tre Flowers? Or Dee Alford and one of them? That’s not exactly ideal.
Thankfully, the Falcons improved the depth of the roster this offseason, particularly at cornerback. The club is also in a position to handle the blow of one of their running backs missing time. If more injuries arise across the offensive line, that could prove difficult to overcome.