Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that the Atlanta Falcons have placed running back Jerious Norwood on the injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury on the opening kickoff of the team’s matchup last weekend vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported earlier today that it was a torn ACL in his right knee.
Norwood had thus far had limited usage offensively this year, with his only two carries coming for 8 yards in the season opener vs. the Steelers. He also had a reception for 9 yards in that game, and had been splitting reps with Eric Weems as the team’s kickoff returner. Injuries are nothing new for Norwood, who had only made it through a full 16-game schedule once since joining the Falcons in 2006.
To fill Norwood’s spot on the roster, the team signed running back Gartrell Johnson. Johnson was a fourth round pick with the San Diego Chargers last year, but was cut by that team at the end of camp. He was picked up by the New York Giants, and appeared in 10 games, carrying the ball 13 times for 43 yards (3.3 avg). The 5’10″ 219-pound running back is more of a power runner than the speedy Norwood. You can read about Johnson in a scouting report included in the 2009 FalcFans.com Draft Guide.
The team did manage to add some speed at the position by signing Shawnbrey McNeal to the practice squad. McNeal was another cast-off of the San Diego Chargers and was an undrafted free agent this past year. You can read a scouting report on McNeal, posted here in the forums.
In the absence of Norwood, Antone Smith will likely be elevated up the depth chart and potentially get more reps on Sundays. Depth at running back is fairly thin with the loss of Norwood. Michael Turner suffered what Mike Smith termed a non-severe groin injury during the Week 2 game vs. Arizona. Jason Snelling is expected to get a heavier dose in the offense as he did against the Cardinals.
To free up a space on the team’s eight-man practice squad, the team parted ways with middle linebacker Bear Woods.
Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that the Green Bay Packers have signed running back Dimitri Nance off the Falcons practice squad. Nance is expected to add depth at running back for the Packers who lost starter Ryan Grant for the season due to injuries in their season opener versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Nance was an undrafted rookie out of Arizona State for the Falcons this year, and had his moments through the early part of preseason. He eventually lost the competition for the last running back position with Antone Smith. He was part of the final roster cutdowns and signed to the Falcons practice squad on September 5.
The Falcons now have an available spot on their eight-man practice squad.
Jay Adams of Atlanta Falcons.com reports that the Falcons have chosen their eight-man practice squad. It will consist of eight players that were cut by the Falcons yesterday in their final roster cutdown, including tight end Robbie Agnone, wide receiver Tim Buckley, safety Rafael Bush, running back Dimitri Nance, defensive end Emmanuel Stephens, wide receiver Andy Strickland, offensive tackle Jose Valdez, and linebacker Bear Woods.
Agnone was signed in early August as a replacement for injured tight end Colin Peek. Buckley, Bush, Nance, Stephens, and Woods were all undrafted rookie free agents the team signed this past April. Strickland ended last season on the team’s practice squad. Valdez was an undrafted rookie with the team in 2009, spending the entire year on their practice squad.
The Falcons announced the addition of six players to their practice squad today and also claimed defensive tackle Jason Jefferson off waivers from the Buffalo Bills. To make room for Jefferson, they released Tim Anderson.
The team added seventh round pick Keith Zinger among the six practice squad additions. Also wide receiver Eric Weems, guard D’Anthony Batiste, cornerback Glenn Sharpe, safety Eric Brock, and defensive end Brandon Miller were signed by the team. All six players were with the team this summer. The Falcons have two remaining spots on their practice squad.
Jefferson was a sixth round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 2005. But was cut by the Saints during his first training camp, and spent time on the practice squads of the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles before being signed by the Bills in October 2005. He began the ’06 season on the Bills practice squad before being promoted to the team’s roster in October, but remained inactive for most of the season. His most extensive action coming in 2007, where he had 11 tackles in 11 games. For his career, he has recorded 13 tackles in 21 games.
Anderson, another former Bills castoff was signed by the Falcons in November 2007. He had 5 tackles in 5 games for the Falcons. He was re-signed this past off-season and was seemingly the winner in a competition for the reserve nose tackle position behind Grady Jackson.
ESPN reports that wide receiver Noriaki Kinoshita, a mini-celebrity at last summer’s Falcons training camp, has been assigned to the team’s practice squad as part of the NFL’s International Player Development program. Kinoshita was among 16 players from 7 different countries that were selected to join various NFL practice squads. Initially over 100 players competed in camps held in Europe and Asia over the past year for the opportunity. The 16 players will be assigned to to all the teams in the AFC North, AFC West, NFC South, and NFC West.
Kinoshita had quite a following from the Japanese press last summer with the Falcons. He had played three previous springs in NFL Europe, catching a total of 37 passes in that span. As part of the league’s international practice squad program, he will be eligible to compete for the Falcons in preseason games, but will not be so during the regular season.