Quinn: 'We're going to be more than OK' after Jones, Neal placed on IR

John and Hugh
September 12, 2018 - 12:54 pm

© Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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It's been a costly start to the season for the Atlanta Falcons. Not only did the team drop their season opener to Philadelphia (15-12), they lost two of their Pro-Bowl defensive starters in the process.

Safety Keanu Neal (knee) and linebacker Deion Jones (foot) were officially placed on Injured Reserve this week. Jones will be designated to return in eight weeks if healthy while Neal will miss the entire 2018 season. 

Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is confident both Duke Riley and Damontae Kazee, who will take on an extended roles, are ready to step up.

"That's what you do; you answer the challenge. At some point we’ll get Deion back -- it won't be for a little while.  We certainly have guys that are capable to play really well in this system. We’re defintiely bummed for [Neal and Jones>, but the other two are definitely ready for the opportunity.” 

With Duke Riley and Kemal Ishmael holding it down in Jones’ absence, Coach Quinn mentioned an increased role for Foye Oluokun in the base package.

Another injury to keep an eye on is RB Devonta Freeman. He was hit hard late in the Philadelphia game. Coach Quinn spoke to the media on Wednesday about Freeman's status.

 

RB Brian Hill was signed to the active roster but it was moreso because the team had an open roster spot, and didn't want to lose him.

The main consensus among Falcons fans: Is there any reason to push the panic button? Coach Quinn made no hesitation in his response: 

“We are going to be more than okay. It’s a good feeling to know that every man here is (here) for a reason. If their opportunity comes they’re prepared for it, ready for it, and when those moments come and you answer the bell, it’s a pretty cool feeling and the respect that is earned when you do that.” 

Neal’s season-ending injury will certainly impact his team but Coach Quinn is confident he will return true to form next year. 

“He’s such a good competitor and he represents so much of the style we love to play. He puts so much to it. We’re bummed for Keke because he puts a lot into it. The good news is he’ll come back strong. We’re definitely bummed we won’t have him for ’18 but #22 will be running the field for many years to come in the red and black.”

Who do you think needs to step up the most now that both Keanu Neal and Deion Jones are out? Take the poll on our Twitter page: