Atlanta Falcons rule out RB Devonta Freeman, DT Grady Jarrett

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn ruled out running back Devonta Freeman and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett for Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay as they recover from injuries.

Freeman, who returned to action in Week 5 after missing three games with a right knee injury, suffered a foot injury last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quinn added that Freeman is also dealing with a sore groin.

Tevin Coleman is set to start in place of Freeman, with rookie Ito Smith as the backup.

Quinn expressed no concerns about Freeman’s long-term health despite the two-time Pro Bowler dealing with various injuries throughout his five-year career, including multiple concussions.

“I think I’d be more inclined to say sometimes you have a shot of bad luck,” Quinn said. “His knee feels really good. He’s explosive and strong. [The foot injury] has nothing to do with that. … More bummed for him than concerned. Bummed meaning injuries are a part of it whether you’re running back or guard or linebacker. But I’m hopeful that it turns fast.”

Quinn hopes the running game gets going even without Freeman. The Falcons rank 26th in the NFL with an average of 89.2 rushing yards per game. The Buccaneers are fourth in rushing defense in allowing 87.8 rushing yards per game, but they have the league’s worst pass defense in surrendering 358 passing yards per game.

Coleman has the Falcons’ lone 100-yard rushing game this season with 107 yards on 16 carries in a Week 2 win over Carolina. Smith leads all running backs on the team with two rushing touchdowns.

Meanwhile, on defense, Jarrett is set to miss his second consecutive game. The Falcons had no sacks without him in the lineup last week and yielded 131 rushing yards. Rookie Deadrin Senat and veteran Terrell McClain started at the defensive tackle spots against the Steelers.

The 1-4 Falcons hope to end a three-game losing streak against the 2-2 Buccaneers, who are coming off a bye. Atlanta has won the past three matchups between the NFC South teams.

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Grady Jarrett’s fine for Nick Foles hit rescinded

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett had a $20,054 fine for a hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles rescinded by the NFL following an appeal, multiple sources told ESPN.

The league initially issued the fine after Jarrett was penalized for roughing Foles in the Falcons’ season-opening loss to the Eagles. The much disputed “body weight on the quarterback” came into play, but Jarrett insisted from the beginning it was a legal hit.

“I feel like not power-driving him into the ground is fair,” Jarrett told ESPN after the initial fine. “I feel like not intentionally hitting him in the head is fair. Form tackle — like I asked when the refs came to speak to us — I don’t think that’s fair to call roughing. And we’ve seen that happen a lot. That’s something that we hope they take into more consideration as far as not being so quick to pull it. If they want to do that, they might as well go to two-hand touch.”

Jarrett made his appeal via video last month.

“I didn’t feel like it was a penalty; the team didn’t feel like it was a penalty; my representatives didn’t feel like it was penalty,” Jarrett said after making the appeal.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn sided with Jarrett from the outset, saying his player used the proper technique on the play.

Jarrett having his fine rescinded should not be shocking. Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers was flagged for roughing the passer on three separate occasions this season, two involving body weight on the quarterback, yet never received a fine.

According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, there have been 50 roughing-the-passer penalties called so far this season, the most through five weeks since 2001. The Packers lead the way with five such calls. The Falcons have two, with Jarrett’s and defensive back Brian Poole getting fined $20,054 for hitting Drew Brees in Week 3.

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