In wake of Keanu Neal’s injury, the Atlanta Falcons’ 2016 first-round pick, the Falcons made a somewhat major adjustment to their roster.
Atlanta signed veteran strong safety Dashon Goldson to a one-year deal after learning that Neal will miss anywhere from 2-3 games to start the season.
As of now, Goldson is listed as the backup strong safety behind Kemal Ishmael heading into the fourth and final preseason game this Thursday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
It’s unclear as to if Goldson will remain as Ishmael’s backup to start the season, but it should make you as a fan feel much better about this unfortunate predicament that we are in.
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Having Neal go down with a knee injury is one of the last thing’s this team needed. After a horrendous team showing against the Miami Dolphins last week, things got even worse with the news of Neal’s injury.
But, things like this happen all the time. And luckily for the Falcons and for the fan base, Neal’s injury isn’t all that bad. He’s very fortunate that he isn’t out for the entire season, so count your lucky stars for that one.
All that we know is the following:
Neal will not be able to play for at least three weeks. Which will mean Ishmael and Goldson will take over in his place. And after Neal is ready to return, who knows exactly what will happen.
Goldson is coming off of one of his best NFL seasons. His 110 combined tackles was the most of his career dating back to 2007. But at the age of 32, Goldson isn’t anything more than a placeholder.
Neal is the future without a shadow of a doubt. When he’s healthy and ready to play, he will be out on the field. But with the experience of Goldson now on the team, Neal may not play as much as you would think.
If Goldson picks right back up where he left off last season, you could see him continuing to start over Neal until Neal is ready to take the reins.
Neal wasn’t able to get very many reps in the preseason. He did not play in the first game and wasn’t played a ton in game 2. And after playing just one quarter against the Dolphins, he suffered the knee injury.
He’s missed a lot of valuable reps that a rookie needs. So don’t expect him to be thrown into the fire right away.
Goldson’s acquisition means that Neal’s rookie season will be more of learning year more than anything. Having a guy with Goldson’s experience will hopefully help Neal fully take over on defense by the halfway point of the season.