Falcons LB sidelined with concussion

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 11, 2012
Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith is having a tough time keeping his starting middle linebacker healthy. After losing Curtis Lofton to free agency in the spring, the Falcons signed Lofa Tatupu to replace him, but a torn pectoral muscle ended his season before the start of training camp. Now Atlanta must temporarily replace second-year linebacker Akeem Dent, who sustained a concussion in the 31-17 loss to Baltimore and will miss next week's exhibition against Cincinnati. With 14th-year veteran Mike Peterson taking Dent's spot Saturday in practice, Smith didn't seem concerned about the situation at middle linebacker, but the specter of injuries is one that haunts every NFL team. Smith has made it a stated goal in camp and preseason games that the Falcons will do everything in their control to avoid injuries. ''You have to get your guys prepared, and it's a fine line,'' Smith said. ''You're always walking that fine line, in terms of the right amount of work, the right amount of contact, and overworking your players. I think we do a really nice job.'' Atlanta took a hit at fullback, too, when rookie fullback Bradie Ewing was lost for the season after injuring his right knee against Baltimore. Ewing, a fifth-round pick from Wisconsin, was listed as the top reserve behind starter Mike Cox. ''That's a tough break in his first NFL preseason game,'' Cox said. ''I told him he was in my prayers and everything. He wants to get through and be back better than ever.'' The Falcons aren't sure when starting defensive tackle Corey Peters (left foot) and reserve defensive tackle Vance Walker (undisclosed injury) will return. Kerry Meier, the team's No. 4 receiver, missed practice with an unspecified leg injury. No. 3 receiver Harry Douglas returned to practice after being held out of the Baltimore game with a rib injury. Losing a starting middle linebacker might not hurt the team as much as in years past because new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan deploys a lot of schemes with five defensive backs and two linebackers. The top two linebacker jobs belong to Sean Weatherspoon and Stephen Nicholas, but the Falcons will play some 4-3 sets that will require Dent, Peterson or a cross-trained veteran like Spencer Adkins to fill the role. Adkins, who is listed behind Nicholas on the depth chart, started his first career game in three seasons last year when Nicholas and Peterson were injured. ''You always want to be a starter, man, and the thing that makes us special in our linebacker group is that I believe we have six starters,'' Adkins said. ''We make our starters better and our starters continue to keep us getting better.'' With Peters and Walker sidelined, reserve defensive end Kroy Biermann believes the Falcons can overcome injury setbacks in the same way they have throughout his five-year Atlanta career. Biermann has started 17 of his 64 games. Many of his starts came when a first-team end was injured, like when John Abraham was hurting and missed the Green Bay loss last season, or two years ago when Jamaal Anderson was ineffective and lost his job. ''Whenever I'm on the field, in a game, I'm just out there to play hard and knock some heads off,'' Biermann said. ''The thing is when you look at every position on our defense, we've got a lot of depth. It goes without saying that we don't want any of our 1s or 2s getting hurt, but we're doing OK now. Hopefully it will stay that way.''
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: Kyle Lowry drains half-court shot to force overtime

WATCH: Florida K nails 64-yard field goal easily

Marcus Mariota fires up Predators fans before playoff game

49ers file for arbitration in Levi’s Stadium rent dispute with Santa Clara

Kevin Durant has interesting reason for lying about height

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Kris Letang gets one-game suspension for high hit on Marcus Johansson

Report: Bills sign OT Cordy Glenn to 5-year extension worth up to $65 million

Texans’ Duane Brown had 10-game suspension overturned

Bruce Boudreau on coaching again: “I’ve had a couple of conversations”

Report: Don Shula hospitalized for breathing difficulties

Jerry Sandusky seeking new trial four years after being convicted

Ryan Leaf on Johnny Manziel: ‘It’s like holding up a mirror sometimes’

Byron Scott admits to giving ‘entitled’ D’Angelo Russell tough love

WATCH: Diego Simeone shoves team official on sideline

Report: Syracuse and UConn to renew rivalry with game at MSG

Mark Richt: Satellite camps are ‘illegal recruiting’

Someone built their very own Batmobile for the Gumball 3000 race

Lamarr Houston on Aaron Rodgers: ‘He’s a little too arrogant’

Florida State bans fans from wearing headdresses at all athletic events

Tom Brady’s request for 14-day extension granted in Deflategate case

Most exciting games of the 2016 NBA playoffs so far

Dale Earnhardt Jr. lays favorite car ‘Amelia’ to rest following bang-ups at Talladega

Former Rockets star Robert Reid: ‘Harden looks after Harden’

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Most exciting games of the 2016 NBA playoffs so far

Five bizarre moments in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

How the Sharks have 'weathered the storm' against the Predators

Okay, who stole the Kansas City Royals player off that billboard?

Eight players to watch in Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs

A Round-By-Round Look At the NFL Draft

10 biggest takeaways from the NBA playoffs thus far

QUIZ: Name every No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft since 1985

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Sharks vs. Predators

NHL postseason Round 2 quick hits: Blues vs. Stars

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker