As many are already aware, Falcons MLB Akeem Dent suffered a concussion in Atlanta’s first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. It was on a special teams play no less, which made many Falcons fans wonder why our starting MLB would be out on a preseason special teams play. I’m not going to get into that, but I will get into how the injury adds more question marks for this Atlanta Falcons team.
Sure, Dent suffered an injury and will miss at least the next week of practices, the preseason game against Cincinnati, and possibly even more training camp time. He will be ready to go for the regular season, even without full training camp work, and I feel like the Falcons are going to throw him into the games ready or not.
But the bigger question is, how will Dent hold up at the MLB position? Dent is about the right size for the position, but he suffered a concussion early in the preseason. It is a well documented fact that after suffering one concussion (and I couldn’t say if this is his first concussion or not) that players are more susceptible to additional concussions.
Look at the position that Dent will be playing in 2012. The MLB’s job is to get to the ball carrier and finish the tackle on every play. No matter what, the MLB is asked to get his head in the play and finish the tackle. With that high level of contact, Dent might experience more head trauma that may keep him out of future games– games that actually count for something.
Just as bad is if Dent becomes timid as a result of the concussion. There is a low chance of this, as he has played at a high level in college and never played timidly. However, it is worth bringing up that Dent may not fly around the field the way he needs to if he is worried about getting his head knocked off. Playing scared is the worst say to play, the easiest to get hurt, and if Dent plays that way he will get eaten alive at MLB.
Perhaps Dent recovers quickly, plays well in the remaining preseason games, and takes the MLB position like nothing ever happened. I would love to see that, and Lord knows we need him to do that. But if he is hurt for significantly more time, or is re-injured, we would be starting Mike Peterson at MLB. He is solid, but behind him we have nobody whatsoever. If Dent stays down from this injury, it will almost certainly keep the Falcons defense down to an extent.