5 things to know about the Falcons on Monday

Falcons head coach Arthur Smith walks on the field to challenge a play during the second half against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Hans Deryk/AP)
Caption
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith walks on the field to challenge a play during the second half against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (Hans Deryk/AP)

Credit: AP

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons return to practice today after a mini-bye.

With the offense shut down, the Falcons loss 25-0 to the Patriots on Thursday.

The Falcons (4-6) didn’t lose any ground in the NFC South to the Panthers (5-5) and the Saints (5-6), who both loss on Sunday. Tampa Bay (6-3) plays the Giants tonight on Monday Night Football.

The Falcons are set to play the Jaguars (2-8) at 1 p.m. Sunday at TIAA Stadium in Jacksonville. The Jags were pummeled 30-10 by the 49ers, but have a win over the Bills on their resume.

Here are five things to know about the Falcons today:

1. Ridley update: Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who is away from the team indefinitely to work on his mental well-being, was placed on the non-football injury list by the team on Nov. 5. He has not played in the last four games and the Falcons 1-3 over that stretch. When the Falcons placed him on the NFI list, he was set to miss at least three games.

The window is open for his potential return, but coach Arthur Smith said he did not have an update on his status on Friday.

Ridley missed the game against the Jets in London on Oct. 10 because of a personal matter. He played against Miami on Oct. 24 and caught a touchdown pass in the 30-28 victory.

Ridley has 31 catches for 281 yards and two touchdowns this season.

2. Betting line: The Falcons at Jaguars game opened as a pick-em game with the over-and-under in points set at 47.5 on betonline.ag.

3. Series history: This will be the eighth regular-season meeting with the Jaguars. The Falcons lead the series 4-3. The Falcons won the last meeting 22-12 on Dec. 22, 2019. The Falcons have won the last three meetings. The teams regularly meet in the exhibition season.

4. Fixing the offense: Smith said that the staff is in the solution business and that they would fix their issues over the mini-break.

The major issue is getting the offense back on track without Ridley (mental health, non-football injured list), wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson (ankle, expected to miss another game) and tight end Hayden Hurst (ankle, injured reserve).

The offense has not scored a touchdown over the last 27 possessions.

5. Fixing the offensive line: Smith was patient earlier in the season with rookies Jalen Mayfield and punter Cam Nizialek. It will be curious to see if he juggles the offensive line which has struggled on run blocking and pass protection.

One solution could be to move rookie Drew Dalman to center (Matt Hennessy is struggling), Hennessey or Josh Andrews (on COVID-19 list) to right guard and Mayfield to right tackle. Kaleb McGary’s letting the speed rush just blow by him is getting old and they can’t run behind him in the run game.

Jarvis Davis of 92.9 The Game has called for McGary’s benching. He didn’t like the at McGary didn’t help Matt Ryan up after a sack against the Patriots. That couldn’t have gone over well in the locker room.

Davis, who played on the line at Albany State, knows the code for the trenches.

Smith didn’t have an update on the return of Matt Gono, who could also help along the line which is getting stuffed in short-yardage situations.

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Patriots 25, Falcons 0

Next four games

Falcons at Jacksonville, 1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 28

Tampa Bay at Falcons, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 5

Falcons at Carolina, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12

Falcons at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19

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