Atlanta Falcons secondary takes hit as Darqueze Dennard hits IR
The Atlanta Falcons placed veteran cornerback Darqueze Dennard on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, meaning he’ll be sidelined at least three weeks and unavailable for Monday night’s matchup at Green Bay.
Dennard, who signed a one-year deal with the Falcons before the season, is coming off his best game with an interception in the end zone in a 30-26 loss to the Chicago Bears. Dennard played 77 snaps before exiting with the injury with 2 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation.
Dennard, who had been playing the nickelback role, started at left cornerback against the Bears because rookie first-round draft pick A.J. Terrell was placed on the reserve-COVID-19 list the night before the game. Terrell remains on the list and his status for Monday night’s game in unclear. Kendall Sheffield, who was projected to start at cornerback, has yet to play this season due to a foot injury but he’s out of a walking boot.
Another key member of the secondary, safety and captain Ricardo Allen, missed the Bears game with an hyperextended elbow.
Falcons secondary coach Joe Whitt Jr., who spent 11 years in Green Bay, addressed the banged up secondary in preparation for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
“This in the NFL. Everybody has to be ready,” he said. “We’re not played to go out there and play well. We’re paid to go win this week against Aaron. It’s going to be a great challenge. I was with Aaron for 11 years. I know what type of quarterback he is. Their offense is rolling. … There as good as any offense in the league.”
Depending on the status of both Terrell and Sheffield, the Falcons might have to start veteran Blidi Wreh-Wilson at left cornerback opposite Isaiah Oliver, who is expected to remain at right cornerback despite his noticeable coverage struggles. The team activated cornerback Jordan Miller from the reserve/suspended list Monday so he could be in line for action if ready to step in. The Falcons played Delrick Abrams some at cornerback against the Bears but then moved him back to the practice squad.
The Falcons are 0-3 after blowing double-digit leads in consecutive weeks against the Bears and Cowboys following a season-opening loss to the Seahawks.