The bye week came at a good time for the Atlanta Falcons as they are getting key players back from injury.
Wide receiver Russell Gage has missed the last three games with a lingering ankle issue, but he was spotted back at practice on Monday.
He was considered important enough to the Falcons plans this season that he was left out of the preseason games along with other Atlanta starters such as Matt Ryan, Calvin Ridley, and Kyle Pitts among others.
His season hasn't gone the way he was hoping. Gage picked up an injury in Week 2 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and missed the next three games. He only has five catches for 25 yards on the season.
Reserve defensive lineman Marlon Davidson was also back at practice on Monday. Davidson has flashed the talent this year that made him a second-round pick out of Auburn in 2020. He started the season well with a sack and a tackle for loss in Atlanta's first three games, but he's been out the last two.
Falcons head coach Arthur Smith said before practice that they hadn't made a decision on Gage and Davidson for Sunday's game against the Miami Dolphins.
"I think we feel good about how they're progressing," Smith said on Monday. "We'll have to see how they look at practice, but they'll be out there practicing today."
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley missed the trip to London and the game against the Jets because of personal reasons, but he is back practicing as well.
"He's back," said Smith when asked of Ridley. "He'll be practicing today."
The Falcons still have an open roster spot that is presumably being held for left guard Josh Andrews. Andrews was the likely starter heading into the season, but he broke his hand at the tail-end of training camp.
When asked if he had made a decision on Andrews, Smith was noncommittal.
"Getting close," said Smith. "But we don't have to make it right now. Things are trending in the right direction for Josh, but a lot of things are fluid. We've gotta weigh everything as everyone gets back in here. Going through tomorrow, see what the health of the team looks like going into the game week."
At the very least, Andrews should provide an option at guard to provide competition for rookie Jalen Mayfield. Mayfield was forced into action earlier than expected because of the injury to Andrews, and he has predictably had his ups and downs.
Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 342 yards against the Jets without Ridley and Gage. Their absence helped with the emergence of rookie tight end Kyle Pitts and x-factor running back Cordarrelle Patterson.
But more down-field options will be a welcome addition for Ryan and the Falcons as they look to even their record at 3-3 in Miami on Sunday.
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