“We have open conversations with all of our players about it, but at the end of the day, we’re always going to do what’s best for the player, their health and safety and what’s best for the team,” Smith said.
Oliver, 25, was held out of the first two exhibition games.
He played in the third exhibition game. He looked fine in the second quarter covering Jacksonville wide receiver Laviska Shenault out of the slot on two third downs. The ball didn’t come his way on both of those plays.
However, he still was placed on injured reserve to start the season. Now he is on the 21-day designated-to-return list.
Oliver, who was drafted in the second round (58th overall) of the 2018 NFL draft, played nickel back with the reserves against Jacksonville. The Falcons did not play their starters in the game.
Oliver, who was moved to nickel back in the 2020 season, was injured against Washington on Oct. 3 last season. Running back J.D. McKissic blocked Oliver when he was rushing the quarterback, and his knee was injured on the play.
Oliver missed the rest of the season after the injury.
League rules limit teams to eight players who can return from injured reserve.
“Now, we are down to seven,” Smith said. “Regardless of whether Isaiah gets activated our not. That’s one of your spots.”
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The Bow Tie Chronicles
Atlanta Falcons 2022 NFL schedule
Sept. 11: Saints 27, Falcons 26
Sept. 18: Rams 31, Falcons 27
Sept. 25 Falcons 27, Seahawks 23
Oct. 2 Falcons 23, Browns 20
Oct. 9 at Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.
Oct. 16 vs. San Francisco, 1 p.m.
Oct. 23 at Cincinnati, 1 p.m.
Oct. 30 vs. Carolina, 1 p.m.
Nov. 6 vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m.
Nov. 10 at Carolina, 8:15 p.m.
Nov. 20 vs. Chicago, 1 p.m.
Nov. 27 at Washington, 1 p.m.
Dec. 4 vs. Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.
Dec. 18 at New Orleans, TBD
Dec. 24 at Baltimore, 1 p.m.
Jan. 1 vs. Arizona, 1 p.m.
Jan. 8 vs. Tampa Bay, TBD