Three Falcons players were declared out of the exhibition finale against the Jaguars head coach Dan Quinn said on Sunday.
Running back Brian Hill (ankle), tackle Kevin Graf (ankle) and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds (chest) all suffered injuries in the 24-14 exhibition loss to the Cardinals on Saturday. They will not play when the Falcons host the Jaguars at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Reynolds, a reserve and special teams player, started all three games this preseason at weakside linebacker.
Hill, a fifth-round pick from Wyoming, is battling for the third running back spot.
Graf is trying to earn the backup swing tackle spot.
“We’ll see how much progress they can make,” Quinn said of Hill and Graf. “We’ll see where they are in a week’s time. Both of them will be held out this week with ankle injuries and then we’ll get a better look.”
Reynolds’ injury sounded more serious.
“LaRoy Reynolds will also be out this week,” Quinn said. “He had a chest injury. He’s going to get another opinion on that injury this week.”
Rookie cornerback Damontae Kazee, who suffered an ankle injury against the Steelers, will not practice on Monday and Quinn is considering holding him out of the Jaguars game, too.
The injury hurts for Hill, who appears to be behind Terron Ward for the third running back spot.
“Brian, for sure, would have gotten extended carries again (against Jacksonville),” Quinn said. “We tried to feature him in each of the games to see what he can do. Really, in this system, to get more reps.”
That Ward is playing better is no surprise to Quinn.
“It’s Terron Ward’s third year in the system,” Quinn said. “That’s over 30 something games for him watching and practicing and getting the looks at it. Brian is still gaining experience in it. For him to miss a week, this week, all of it counts, especially when you’re first learning.”
The Falcons are high on Hill, but he’s off to a slow start rushing the football. He’s rushed 26 times for 41 yards for a paltry 1.6 yards per carry. Ward has rushed 30 times for 113 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and two touchdowns.
“He’s improving, Brian is, on special teams,” Quinn said. “We are going to keep working like crazy on offense. One of the areas of emphasis heading into the summer was catching out the backfield. It wasn’t a big part of what he did at Wyoming. He’s certainly improved in that area.”
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