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Who's 'Next Man Up' for Falcons After Ta'Quon Graham Injury? 3 Options for Atlanta

The Atlanta Falcons are adopting a "next man up" mentality on the defensive line after Ta'Quon Graham's knee injury.

The Atlanta Falcons are excited about their 27-24 win against the Chicago Bears over the weekend, but it came with a price.

On offense, the team appears to have lost Kyle Pitts for a couple of weeks. But the defense took a hit too, likely losing defensive tackle Ta'Quon Graham for a considerable period of time with a knee injury.

This means the Falcons will adopt a "next man up" approach, and it could be one of three guys. According to the depth chart given for Sunday's game, Timmy Horne is the likeliest player to see a jump in playing time.

"Timmy Horne's a guy that gets better every week," head coach Arthur Smith. "He's in there grinding it out."

There should also be some consideration given for Abdullah Anderson, who recorded his first sack of the season in Sunday's win.

"Abdullah, he's in there, tough player," Smith said. "Stuff that happens inside when you're close to the football that's not for everybody. That's why I love guys like Abdullah that go in there and grind it out, (like) TQ and all those guys up front. I try not to be bias, but I do have a great appreciation for those guys that mix it up in there." 

There's also going to be an opportunity for undrafted free agent Jalen Dalton to make an impact. Dalton played his fourth career game Sunday and played the most snaps on the defensive line after Grady Jarrett. Dalton played a big role in the interception that sealed the victory for the Falcons.

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"Jalen Dalton, same thing. Altered that last throw - made the ball go high on Montgomery," Smith said. "He had a big part of the way we were rushing and Jalen altered the throw, and Hawk was able to pick it off. So, been very pleased with those guys.

"He's gotten better. Unfortunately, he was hurt in a couple preseasons. Knew a lot about him when he was a North Carolina guy. He's taken advantage of the opportunity, unfortunately got hurt in our preseason, came back. First time he's seen live action and he's getting better every week."

Even though the outlook is bleak, coach Smith has a lot of confidence in the players he has in the building, which is exactly what you want to hear if you're a Falcons fan.


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