For the second straight season Falcons safety, Keanu Neal, is going to miss the season. This happened after he suffered a torn Achilles Sunday against the Colts. This is a devastating blow to both a talented player and a team that has been ravaged by injuries on the defense the past two seasons.
Keanu Neal Out For Season
Impact on Atlanta
Neal was struggling so far this season for the Falcons. However, he was still trying to come back after missing most of last season.
After having over 100 tackles in his first two NFL seasons, Neal was still racking up tackles in his first three games, compiling 12 in 166 snaps, but he had a season-high eight in week two against the Eagles.
Where Neal was struggling most this season was in coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, he had given up seven catches on 10 targets for 87 yards. However, most of that was given up against Philadelphia in week two. He was having a better game in coverage against Indianapolis before his injury.
This will hurt Atlanta a lot. Neal was already showing signs of returning to his 2017 form before being injured. Also, the Atlanta secondary hasn’t been very good this season. Taking out a very talented safety is only going to hurt them more.
Who’s Up Next?
Kemal Ishmael has played the third-most snaps among the Falcons safeties this season. He will likely see a huge increase in snaps. Ishmael has been fine this season, but he hasn’t been anything special. He also isn’t nearly as versatile as Neal is.
However, as mentioned above, the secondary has been a bit of a mess. If they don’t figure things out in the secondary, things likely won’t improve much for this defense in terms of consistency. This will also put a lot more pressure on Ricardo Allen at the back end of the secondary. Also, don’t be surprised to see Damontae Kazee move back to safety.
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