It’s the rookie report, which rolls on after a tough week.
There weren’t all that many Falcons, rookies or veterans, who enjoyed a quality game on Thursday night against the Panthers. That doesn’t mean we didn’t see a few highlights.
Drake London made one of the plays of the evening, Arnold Ebiketie got half a sack, and Tyler Allgeier had a supremely weird game. Let’s talk about it.
WR Drake London: Bounceback game and score
After a rough effort against the Chargers, London reminded everyone that he’s already a very polished receiver. On Sunday, he led the team in receptions with five, accounted for 38 of Marcus Mariota’s 186 passing yards, and scored a touchdown on a beautiful leaping grab of a ball Mariota put where only he had a realistic shot to get it. London remains the team’s leading receiver, and if the passing game ever really clicks in 2022, his production will match his potential.
OLB Arnold Ebiketie: Splits a sack
Ebiketie and Dee Alford met at P.J. Walker and shared a sack, the first one Ebiketie’s had in a while. The pressures are still coming and I remain convinced we’ll see him pick up a handful of sacks between now and the end of the season when he closes a few more of those opportunities out, but the rookie has been one of the most consistent pass rushers the Falcons have.
ILB Troy Andersen: A few more snaps, one tackle
Andersen is going to grab a larger role if Mykal Walker and Rashaan Evans struggle, as they did against Carolina, and he did carve out a few more snaps this past week. He’s still likely to operate primarily as a reserve and third inside linebacker when Dean Pees feels like rolling three out rather than a full-time starter for the rest of 2022.
QB Desmond Ridder: Backup quarterback, no snaps
It’s within the realm of possibility that Ridder will start against Chicago. If not, Arthur Smith isn’t going to randomly toss him into a game that’s already in progress, so if you’re on Ridder watch you’re in wait-and-see mode. The rookie has yet to take a regular season snap under center.
OLB DeAngelo Malone: Continuing quality work as a reserve
Copy and paste from last week. Malone will get more run eventually, but in the meantime he has been solid.
RB Tyler Allgeier: Scuffles in Carolina
Allgeier fought like hell for extra yardage in this game, but it wasn’t a very productive day on the ground for anyone but Caleb Huntley and Marcus Mariota. Allgeier found himself getting hit in the backfield quite a bit and finished the day with eight carries for 20 yards and three receptions for -17 yards—you read that right—on a day where Mariota hit him a handful of times out of desperation and Allgeier lost yards. He should fare much better against the Bears.
DL Timothy Horne: A major part of the defensive line rotation
Another week, another nice play for Horne, who continues to look more comfortable by the week in his season-long rotational role on the defensive line. He’s not an impact player by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s making the occasional impact play and has been more solid than I ever would have anticipated coming into the season.
LB Nate Landman: Inactive
With Nick Kwiatkoski assuming a major special teams role, Landman just isn’t going to get much run at the moment. The fact that he’s still on this roster tells you how much the coaching staff likes him, however.
WR Jared Bernhardt: Eligible to return from IR this week
Bernhardt went on injured reserve a month ago—a move your dear blogging friend must admit he missed—and can return against Chicago. With at least five receivers on the depth chart ahead of him, even if Bernhardt returns it will likely be to a small role. His best days are all ahead of him, and all likely in 2023 or later.