Atlanta Falcons receivers Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley questionable vs. Green Bay Packers
Atlanta Falcons receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, listed as questionable, are trending upward for Monday night’s game at Green Bay.
The team ruled out four other players. Starting safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen, starting defensive end Takk McKinley and kicker Younghoe Koo won’t play due to injuries. McKinley and Koo are recovering from groin injuries, Allen hyperextended his left elbow and Neal injured his left hamstring last week against the Chicago Bears.
With Koo unavailable, the Falcons plan to elevate recently signed Elliott Fry from the practice squad to kick at Lambeau Field. Fry has yet to appear in an NFL game after spending time with the Bears, Ravens, Panthers and Buccaneers.
Jones and Ridley practiced all week but were limited coming off hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively.
When asked before Saturday’s practice if Jones and Ridley would be ready to go, Falcons coach Dan Quinn was optimistic.
“I hope so. We just got done with our walk-through, and they were able to be involved in that,” Quinn said. “As we go through practice today, we’ll get a better sense. But yeah, they’re definitely trending up.”
Jones said Friday he felt “good” without fully committing to playing Monday night. He said his soft-tissue injury is a “day-to-day” thing.
“I feel good right now. I definitely feel good,” Jones said. “I’ve been running really well at practice. But it’s just you don’t know. I’m not 100 percent with anything, but I feel good.”
Receiver Russell Gage has been cleared to play after recovering from a concussion. The depth behind Jones, Ridley and Gage includes Olamide Zaccheaus, Brandon Powell and Christian Blake.
The Falcons’ secondary will be short-handed. Rookie cornerback A.J. Terrell is still on the reserve/COVID-19 list after last week’s positive test, veteran Darqueze Dennard in on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and Neal and Allen are unavailable.
Cornerback Kendall Sheffield, who missed the first three games due to a foot injury, is cleared to play and is expected to start at left cornerback opposite Isaiah Oliver. Blidi Wreh-Wilson is expected to play the nickel role, with recently reinstated Jordan Miller behind him.
Due to the injuries, the Falcons are counting on rookie Jaylinn Hawkins to step in at strong safety, with Sharrod Neasman backing up Damontae Kazee at free safety.
Defensive tackle Grady Jarrett (hip), defensive end Dante Fowler (ankle), linebacker Foye Oluokun (hamstring) and offensive tackle Kaleb McGary (MCL) are all expected to play coming off injuries.
The Falcons will try to avoid their first 0-4 start since the 1999 season as they face Aaron Rodgers and the 3-0 Packers.
The Packers listed nine players as questionable for Monday night, including Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams, who missed last week’s game because of a hamstring injury. Adams practiced the past three days on a limited basis, including Saturday.
Coach Matt LaFleur said after Saturday’s practice: “We’ve got about 53 hours before kickoff, so, you know, we’ll give him up to that time and then we’ll make a decision. But yeah, we’ll see.”
Others in that same situation included defensive tackle Kenny Clark (groin), cornerback Jaire Alexander (hand/knee), tight end Josiah Deguara (ankle), running back/kick returner Tyler Ervin (wrist), outside linebacker Rashan Gary (ankle), center Corey Linsley (groin), outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith (ankle) and punter JK Scott (illness).
Tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee) has been listed as doubtful, while the team placed linebacker Christian Kirksey (pec) and receiver Allen Lazard (core) on injured reserve, meaning they’ll miss at least three games.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky contributed to this report.