Roddy White, for 10 years the Falcons’ workhorse receiver, is scheduled to undergo minor surgery Monday for the removal of debris from his right elbow.
While he is expected to be ready for the opener Sept. 14, his absence poses an obstacle for a team implementing an new offensive system and the season just three weeks away.
White was a late scratch from the Falcons’ game with the Jets on Friday after his elbow began swelling late in the week.
“He’s had something loose in his elbow that’s caused it to swell up,” coach Dan Quinn said Sunday. “So they’ll go in and take out whatever the loose body that was in the there. Pretty minor stuff but it caused some swelling. It wasn’t from a hit. It just kind of came up unusually.
“So he’s going to get that done tomorrow and hopefully, in a week or so, he’ll be good to go.”
Asked if there was concern that White miss playing time when the season starts, Quinn said, “No. None.”
The offense has accumulated an assortment of physical setbacks this preseason. Guard Peter Konz, who missed most of last season to knee surgery, will undergo arthroscopic surgery that will cost him another two or three weeks. Running back Evan Royster, who was knocked out of the Jets game with an unspecified injury to his midsection, should return this week.
But most importantly, running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman, who have been been out with hamstring problems since the first week of camp, are close to returning, Quinn said. The offense has yet to function with the two backs expected to handle most of the carries.
And with the way the run game has suffered this preseason, timing is becoming an issue. Quinn: “We’ve got a long way to go in that area.”
“We have the running backs to do it,” right tackle Ryan Schraeder said following the 30-22 loss in New York. “It will be fun once Devonta and Tevin get back. To see those guys run, based on what we did in the spring, it was pretty fun watching those guys in this system.”
Not so much fun on Friday. The Falcons were limited to 31 yards in 21 carries. In two preseason games, the Falcons (1-1) have been out-rushed 171 yards to 90 (1.7 yards per attempt). Quinn said his review of game tape underscored single “a break down at one spot” that led to failed plays. The team went through a walk-through practice Sunday to address some of those breakdowns.
“I can’t wait to get going back with them this week and make that again a point of emphasis,” Quinn said. “We know the exact style that we want to do it and the technique of how to do it and now it’s just a matter of getting the reps and continuing to work on it.”
White’s absence should also allow the staff a better look after its depth at receiver. Though Quinn is uncertain on how many wide-outs the team will carry this fall, there will be some chances for players like Nick Williams, Justin Hardy and Eric Weems to get on the field.
“When a guy of Roddy’s caliber isn’t out there, yeah, you’re bummed that you’re not able to have him there,” Quinn said. “But you love to see the opportunities for guys and Nick is a great example of that, of someone who keeps competing and battling for it. He’s someone we definitely want to keep looking at. …
“It’s also an opportunity for Justin Hardy. Frankly, those two guys have had probably more turns that some of the other receivers and I think it’s beneficial for both those guys who haven’t had the experience Rod has day-to-day to get more turns.”
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