Falcons: OL Hennessy on IR, Coach Smith, Players Speak

With a huge preseason win on the road behind them and an upcoming game ahead of them at home, the Falcons had a lot of things today to clear the air on.

The most consequential being the health of a few of their key starters. The team announced today that veteran offensive lineman Matt Hennessy would be on the injured reserve list. Hennessy has not practiced since July 28, when he suffered an unspecified injury. The only detail on that injury from the team was it was related to an injury from 2022.

This likely means Matt Bergeron, who was to compete with Hennessy for the OL position will now start at that position as long as Hennessy is on IR.

Hennessy isn’t the only Falcon heading to IR. Head Coach Arthur Smith confirmed WR Cordarrelle Patterson and DB Mike Hughes are said to be out for a couple of weeks and a determination on their futures will be made after preseason. (See complete Falcons IR list here.)

After getting that stack of bad news out of the way,  two of the non-IR players met with the sports media on hand.

New Falcons defensive end Calais Campbell told the press at Flowery Branch that the preseason practice benefits him because it gets him in football mode, and that he wouldn’t mind if the preseason game stats counted like the regular games do.  He also said he felt like he made the right decision to join the Falcons. “I was just telling some of my friends and family that helped me make the right decision…it was a good choice,” he said. “I got a whole lot of confidence. You see it every day in the work we put in. I can’t wait to go out and show it.”

Vet defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, who Campbell acknowledged as one of the reasons he came to the Falcons,  said he was ready to head up the defense.  “I always have my body ready and prepared to go as long and however needed to go at the same time I am ready to do what’s best for the team,” he said, adding it helps to have ready players on the defensive line with him. “However it goes down I’m ready to go.” He praised the rookies on his team that are performing well in preseason. “It’s gonna pay dividends to have a group of guys out here ready to go out there and compete,” he said.

Jarrett said that all of the guys in defense are “all hands on deck” with the defensive line. He observes that the coaches have been helping the squad get better and the players have been holding each other accountable as well.  “We got high standards for each other,” he said.

Jarrett says defensive coach Ryan Neilsen has been instilling in the team the importance of attitude and showing agressiveness on the field. “That’s his motto, attack and agressive.” he said “Every thing you do. The way you walk, the way you talk , he’s on you. Your posture needs to be right, your swager. You carry that on the field. Everybody’s buying in and it’s good to see the defense playing with that. You need that in defense.”

The Falcons play the Cinncinatti Bengals Friday night at Mercedes Benz Stadium, the second of three preseason games. The first regular season game against the Carolina Panthers is September 9th also at the Benz.