Who will the weekly roster inactives be?
The 53-man roster is set (well, 52 of 53, anyway). The 11-man practice squad is set (well, 10 of 11, anyway). The regular season kicks off in less than half a week. Finally, it’s time for some real football!
What Falcons, though, even on gameday, won’t be able to get on the field? They can only activate 45 of the players on the final roster. I’m sure on a week-to-week basis the list of inactives will change, perhaps due to the opponent, perhaps due to injuries, but who are the most likely players to have to sit out on Sunday afternoons?
Here’s my guess on the eight most likely candidates:
Matt Gono, Justin Zimmer, and Richard Jarvis – all three of these guys are rookie undrafted free agents with more accomplished players or players the team has invested more in (Ty Sambraillo, Deadrin Senat, and Kemal Ishmael) in front of them.
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Blidi Wreh-Wilson – Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Isaiah Oliver, and Brian Poole are clearly ahead of Wilson on the depth chart. Justin Bethel is not, but Bethel wasn’t signed to be a cornerback. He was signed to be a special teams ace, and the Falcons didn’t sign him to that contract to not be active on gameday.
Ricky Ortiz – for as little as Steve Sarkisian uses a fullback, does Ortiz really need to be active? Couldn’t Logan Paulsen do the job on the rare occasion it’s required? I admit to not seeing a lot of Falcons preseason action, so I don’t know if Paulsen has lined up at FB as a Falcon yet, but if he has, then does Ortiz really need to be active?
Marvin Hall – I know Hall brings a pure speed element that the other receivers don’t have, but that’s about all he brings at this point. Justin Hardy has apparently won the kick returner / punt returner job, and Russell Gage was drafted for his special teams acumen, so that would appear to leave Hall as the odd man out.
Jordan Richards – if Keanu Neal were to go down with an injury, Kemal Ishmael could slide in to his spot. Damonta Kazee and Brian Poole could both play free safety if Ricardo Allen were to be injured. Richards has been a horrible defensive player thus far in his NFL career, based on everything I’ve read from the New England media, and his special teams play hasn’t been so special that he’s guaranteed to be active on gamedays.
Derrick Shelby – this was a tough one to call. You have to have two quarterbacks active. You pretty much have to have three running backs active. If Paulsen is your de facto fullback, then you need your other two tight ends active. You’re down to five wide receivers already. I considered Wes Schweitzer, but then you’d be down to only seven offensive linemen active.
Defensively, you’re down a safety, a corner, a linebacker, and a defensive tackle. Shelby isn’t the pass rusher Vic Beasley, Takk McKinley, and Brooks Reed are, and Jack Crawford can be a true base end when the situation calls for it.
What do you think, Falcon Nation?