Falcons’ patchwork secondary on the hot seat Sunday vs. Panthers

FLOWERY BRANCH -- Carolina wide receiver D.J. Moore quietly has put together three consecutive seasons of 1,100 receiving yards or more.

That’s remarkable considering the Panthers’ quarterback carousel over the past few seasons. The Falcons’ secondary, which likely will face the Panthers without three opening-game starters, will be on the hot seat when the teams meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

“We are confident in this group,” cornerback Dee Alford said. “We are ready to play.”

Right cornerback Casey Hayward (shoulder) is on injured reserve. Safety Jaylinn Hawkins is in the concussion protocol, and A.J. Terrell has a hamstring injury.

Darren Hall took over for Hayward on Sunday against the Bengals. Dean Marlowe went in for Hawkins at safety.

Alford, who returned to practice last week from a hamstring injury, could start outside. The Falcons could promote Cornell Armstrong from the practice for the second week in a row. He was pressed into duty against the Bengals.

The Falcons can move Erik Harris to nickel back and play Isaiah Oliver outside at cornerback. Oliver and Mike Ford are listed as Terrell’s backups on the team’s official depth chart.

“They have a physical group of receivers,” Alford said. “We are trying to get that imagine of being physical DBs. So we just have to be physical at the line of scrimmage. Get our hands on this group of receivers. Just make plays when they come our way.”

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Atlanta Falcons 2022 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 Buccaneers 21, Falcons 15

Oct. 16 Falcons 28, 49ers 14

Oct. 23 Bengals 35, Falcons 17

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