The Falcons Week 7 injury report released today indicated that cornerback Dunta Robinson is questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Robinson suffered a concussion on a hit he delivered to Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the second quarter last week. He missed the remainder of the game and sat out all three days of practice.
As previously noted, tight end Justin Peelle (sports hernia) and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (knee) are out this week. Running back Antone Smith who suffered a shoulder injury last week is also listed as questionable after missing the entire week of practice. Linebacker Curtis Lofton who was limited in practice on Wednesday, fully participated on Thursday and was removed from the report for Friday, indicating he will play this weekend.
For the Bengals, they will be without running back Brian Leonard, defensive end Antwan Odom, and safety Roy Williams. Cornerback Johnathan Joseph (ankle), defensive tackle Pat Sims (knee), and defensive end Jonathan Fanene (hamstring) were labeled questionable. Fanene fully participated in all three days of practice this week. Joseph missed Wednesday and Thursday practice, but was limited on Friday. Sims missed Wednesday practice, was limited on Thursday and fully participated on Friday.
If not every day, but every few days over the course of training camp I plan to post some scouting reports of some of the Falcons top (or at least more notable) players. I’m kicking things off with the centerpiece of the Falcons defense, middle linebacker Curtis Lofton.
Pros: Is physical, hard-hitting run defender that shows nice range in the middle of the field when defending the run because he has a good nose for the ball. Does his best work when he’s allowed to attack upfield at or near the line of scrimmage. Shows good passion and exuberance for a physical defensive style, making him a natural for a team leadership role.
Cons: Needs work in coverage, and lacks awareness when playing in space. Will lose sight of some of his assignments, and doesn’t consistently get good depth when working in zone coverage. Doesn’t have the hips or quickness to match up with opposing receivers over the middle and is rarely in position to make a play in the passing game. Despite good range, doesn’t have great speed and doesn’t make many plays vs. the run outside the hashmarks.
2010 Outlook: Lofton has already begun distinguishing himself as one of the up and coming run-defending middle linebackers in the league. But he still has a ways to go in coverage, and how much improvement he shows this season will be a huge indicator of his long-term success in both Atlanta and the league.
J. Michael Moore of AtlantaFalcons.com reports that middle linebacker Curtis Lofton returned to practice today. Lofton has been held out of practice since the first day of training camp due to a hamstring injury.
Per the report, all players on the roster practice today except running back Jason Snelling, who suffered a bit hit from Jamaal Fudge on Friday’s scrimmage. The Falcons welcomed back Roddy White for his first day of practice due to his holdout, as well as defensive tackle Trey Lewis who missed a few days last week.
With less than a day before the Falcons kick off training camp on Saturday with an 8:30 am et practice, the Falcons were able to get one of their two remaining unsigned draft picks under contract when they signed linebacker Curtis Lofton to a four-year deal per the AJC.
Lofton is expected to be the team’s starting middle linebacker, but his ability to compete for that role could have been impacted based on when he arrived to camp. First round pick Sam Baker remains the only unsigned rookie. All players on the teams’ roster are expected to report today at Flowery Branch for camp.
According to the Sports Xchange team report, the Falcons are close to signing two more draft picks: second round linebacker Curtis Lofton and sixth round running back Thomas Brown. The Falcons already have signed four of their draft picks, more than other teams except the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins.
The AJC reports that with two fellow third rounders signed, wide receiver Harry Douglas could also be close to signing as well.
The Falcons have eleven total draft picks.
With their second round pick, the No. 37 overall pick, the Falcons selected linebacker Currtis Lofton out of Oklahoma.
Lofton played middle linebacker for the Sooners, and could potentially play the same for the Falcons. The team is looking to groom a replacement and heir apparent to Keith Brooking in the middle. But Lofton may also work early on at weakside linebacker, where Stephen Nicholas is expected to be the starter.
Lofton registered 157 tackles and 3 interceptions last season in 14 games.