Archer: Keanu Neal will be missed

Falcons officially place safety on IR, sign DE

John and Hugh
September 10, 2018 - 11:05 am

© Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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The Atlanta Falcons dropped their season opener 15-12 to the Philadelphia Eagles but that wasn't the team's biggest loss Thursday night. It was the loss of strong safety Keanu Neal for the season. 

Falcons Radio Network analyst Dave Archer told John and Hugh that Atlanta will lose some physicality but will gain better cover ability with Damontae Kazee replacing him. 

“I think Kazee is going to be fine; he’s just a smaller guy. He's a corner by trade who packs a punch. With Keanu out of the game, you lose some versatility. Duke Riley will have to step up. He’ll be counted on significantly in those nickel sets. (Neal) will be missed."

The Falcons officially placed Neal on IR on Monday, and also announced they signed DE Steven Means.

In all appearances, the move means the Falcons are comfortable with the guys they have stepping in to fill the Keanu Neal void. 

Looking ahead, the Falcons will have an early test in the division as the Carolina Panthers roll in for the home opener at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday.

The offense will look to get back on track after putting only 12-points on the board against the Eagles. It was not one of Matt Ryan's best performances as he finished 21 of 43 for 251 yards, one interception and zero touchdowns. 

“He didn’t play well. His rhythm wasn’t very good. He obviously deserves some of the blame as to how he played, but there were other factors involved too. I thought we were sloppy on some of the pass routes as well. There were times when he had big time throws but had a big lineman in his lap.”

The Falcons running game couldn't get going either as Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for only 55-yards on 15 rush attempts. They'll have another tough challenge ahead against a Carolina defense that held Cowboys' running back Ezekiel Elliott to 69-yards on 15 rush attempts.