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Atlanta Falcons dealing with rash of injuries

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New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) evades Atlanta Falcons strong safety Keanu Neal (22) for a 27-yard touchdown on December 24, 2017 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. Photo by AJ Sisco/UPI

By The Sports Xchange

After going out of their way to avoid injuries in the preseason, the Atlanta Falcons have become engulfed with players who are sidelined. Surely help is on the way before playoff hopes are dashed with a string of early season losses.

"Thomas [Dimitroff, general manager] and I discussed that and we'll continue to discuss that afterward," Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said. "We have some other guys with some versatility that we'll try to plug around. We'll see what the length of the injuries are. That would certainly make a difference if we went outside to look for somebody else. If it's a shorter term, then likely we'd stay inside."

Defensive ends Takkarist McKinley and Derrick Shelby missed Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints with groin issues.

Quinn said McKinley is the closest to being able to return. They joined linebacker Deion Jones (foot), who is out for another month, and safety Keanu Neal (knee), who is out for the year.

The latest injury knocked veteran safety Ricardo Allen from the game before overtime against the Saints with an Achilles injury. He will miss the rest of the season. It was originally thought to be a calf injury, as it occurred in a non-contact situation.

Veteran cornerback Robert Alford said there's no time for the players to feel sorry for themselves or get down.

"It's next man up," Alford said. "That's how we approach things here. Unfortunately, injuries happen, so here we have that next-man-up mentality. I just went to check on him and tell him I'm with him."

Defensive end Vic Beasley, who got his first sack of the season, took the same approach.

"It's going to be tough to bounce back from a loss with Ricardo, another starter," Beasley said. "Hopefully, we will have another man that can step up. It's definitely a discomfort to the team. When I saw him get carted off the field, I realized that was another blow. He's such a knowledgeable player who has helped us over the past three games and throughout my career."

The players who were inactive for Sunday may be the first to get a chance -- veterans Keith Tandy and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Quinn said the team would bring in a reserve strong safety for workouts, but not for a starting role.

Allen's spot at free safety will be taken by second-year pro Damontae Kazee, with Brian Poole, Jordan Richards, Tandy or even linebacker Kemal Ishmael getting a shot to start at strong safety.

NOTES:

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QB Matt Ryan threw for 374 yards and matched a franchise record with five touchdowns on Sunday against the Saints. He had a passer rating of 148.1. He surpassed Joe Montana (35) for the most career touchdown passes against the Saints. Ryan now has 37.

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S Ricardo Allen was lost for the season on Sunday with an Achilles injury. Allen was hurt away from contact at the end of regulation of the game against the Saints and was carted off to the locker room.

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WR Calvin Ridley caught seven passes for 146 yards and three touchdowns. That included a career-long 75-yard touchdown. It was the first 100-yard receiving game of his career. The three touchdowns tied the club rookie record last set by tight end Alge Crumpler in 2006. He is the first rookie since Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants to have three touchdown catches in a game.

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WR Julio Jones had five catches for 96 yards against the Saints on Sunday. He caught a 58-yarder, his longest reception of the season and the longest against the Saints in his career.

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LB Duke Riley led the Falcons with a career-high 12 tackles on Sunday against the Saints. That tied his season total from a year ago. It's the sixth-most tackles against the Saints in franchise history. He leads the team with 22 tackles, 15 of them solo.

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Sports - U.S. Daily News: Atlanta Falcons dealing with rash of injuries
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