The Falcons were dealt a severe blow at defensive tackle on Tuesday when they placed both starters Rod Coleman and Trey Lewis on injured reserve. To improve depth, the Falcons signed defensive tackle Jesse Mahelona, promoted defensive end Kevin Huntley from the practice squad, and re-signed end Derrick Jones to the practice squad.
Both Coleman and Lewis suffered their injuries this past weekend against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coleman injured his triceps and hand on his right arm, while Lewis suffered a severe right knee injury. Depth was already a concern at the position after the release of starter Grady Jackson three weeks ago. After Jackson’s release, Lewis was promoted permanently as the starter at nose tackle. Coleman only returned from injury just five weeks ago.
Jonathan Babineaux and Montavious Stanley are expected to replace Coleman and Lewis, respectively. Babineaux started the first few games of the season in place of Coleman at the undertackle position. Stanley has gotten extensive playing time as the reserve nose tackle much of the season and now will be counted on to start. The team added free agent Tim Anderson a few weeks ago. He’s been inactive thus far, but will likely be counted on to have a much bigger role in the ensuing games.
Mahelona was a fifth round pick of the Tennessee Titans a year ago. Last season as a reserve with the Titans, he recorded 11 tackles and 1 sacks in 10 games. He was released by the Titans after being inactive for Week 1 this season, and joined the Miami Dolphins in October. He was inactive for a single game before the Dolphins released him.
Huntley has been off and on the Falcons practice squad several teams thus far this year. He was originally signed on September 12 and then released on October 9. He was re-signed on October 29. Jones originally joined the team’s practice squad on October 17, but was released two weeks ago.