The Atlanta Falcons were busy on Tuesday afternoon with a flurry of moves that shook up the depth chart on defense and special teams.
Cornerback Isaiah Oliver was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday. Oliver had an MRI on Monday on the knee injured on Sunday against the Washington Football Team, but the results haven't been made public. He'll miss at least three games pending the results of the MRI.
It's a real blow for the fourth-year defensive back out of Colorado; he was playing the best football of his career as a nickelback.
When A.J. Terrell was out with a concussion two weeks ago against the New York Giants, the logical move would have been to move Oliver into his spot.
Because he's been so good at nickelback, T.J. Green replaced Terrell, and Oliver ended up the highest graded defensive player for the Falcons in the 17-14 win in his now preferred position.
With a negative MRI, Oliver would be eligible to return on November 7 against the New Orleans Saints. A bye week is included in the next three games, so he'll have an extra week of recovery as he misses three games.
Update: Michael Rothstein Reports on Twitter that Oliver has been lost for the season.
Rookie cornerback Avery Williams could be an internal candidate to replace Oliver. He saw time at nickleback after Oliver's initial injury.
Punter Cameron Nizialek was another redemption story lost to injury against Washington. Nizialek had a costly shanked punt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2, but bounced back against the Giants with six punts for an impressive 47.3 yard average including three punts inside the 20.
Nizialek was off to a good start against Washington with two punts averaging 48.5 yards, but he clutched his hamstring after a kickoff and will now miss at least three games while he recovers.
Veteran punter Dustin Colquitt was signed to the practice squad following Nizialek's struggles against Tampa Bay, and he was promoted to the active roster on Tuesday.
While Colquitt for Nizialek was a like-for-like swap, the Falcons went in a different direction to fill Oliver's roster spot.
Big nose guard Mike Pennel was promoted from the practice squad to the active roster. The Falcons have been crying out for more size on the defensive line in defensive coordinator Dean Pees' 3-4 scheme, and Pennel bring size.
He's listed at 6-4 and 340 pounds. The seven-year veteran spent the last two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, playing in 22 games.
Ironically, Pennel's most productive season was in 2017 with this week's opponent, the Jets. He had 35 tackles, playing in all 16 games with three starts for New York.
Colquitt and Pennel were replaced on the practice squad by kicker Elliot Fry and safety Shawn Williams.
Fry played four years with the South Carolina Gamecocks and finished his career as their all-time leading scorer.
Shawn Williams was a star at the University of Georgia and has spent the past eight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
He was a full-time starter in Cincinnati in 2018 and 2019, totaling over 100 tackles in each season, but his playing time fell off in 2020. He wasn't a starter and finished the season with just 16 tackles.
The new additions to the team have shaken up Atlanta's depth chart as the Falcons head to London on Thursday in preparation for Sunday's game against the Jets.
Falcons Make Late Stop Against Lawrence To Preserve Victory
Defense steps up to shut down Jacksonville on potential game-tying drive
Falcons Offensive Line Rebounds in Victory Over Jaguars
Atlanta Falcons rushed for a season-high 150 yards in a 21-14 victory against Jacksonville.
Falcons 21, Jaguars 14: Top 5 Observations
The Falcons are back to their winning ways.
Tajae Sharpe -or- Christian Blake
Brandon Copeland -or- Jacob Tuioti-Mariner