For most of coach Mike Smith’s tenure, the Atlanta Falcons have remained pretty much a healthy squad. There is always the occasional injury from Matt Ryan’s turf toe in 2009 to the untimely injury to former Falcon John Abraham in last season’s final game, which turned out to hurt the Birds in the playoffs. But this season is very different as a series of injuries has struck the team.
First there was the injury to defensive end Kroy Biermann, one of the more important players in Mike Nolan’s defense. Biermann was a very athletic player who on one down would rush the passer and then the next would drop back to a deep safety and cover a back out of the backfield. His Achilles injury, normally career-ending, will take about a year to recover from. His presence is important to the overall chemistry and team dynamic. Then there is the injury to fullback Bradie Ewing. A heartbreaking one if there ever was because he missed all of last season due to injury and his absence exposed former Falcon Michael Turner’s weakness. Without that lead blocker, Turner became an average runner. In Ewing’s first home game, he made a catch out of the backfield for an important first down and in the tackle landed on his shoulder wrong and is out for the year.
Those are bad breaks, but for a team that is so close to reaching the NFL summit, a Super Bowl championship, these two injuries could spell doom for the Birds. This along with losing new free-agent running back Steven Jackson (out for a few more weeks) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (out until November) this might be the heartbreaking season that Falcons fans have dreaded since 2007, a losing season when nothing short of a championship was expected.