FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Atlanta Falcons have announced middle linebacker Akeem Dent will not play in Thursday’s preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Dent suffered a concussion in the Falcons’ first preseason game against the Ravens last Thursday. While Dent has made progress, he still has work to do before he can return.
“He is feeling better” said head coach Mike Smith. “He is still in the first phase of the concussion protocol. He will definitely not play on Thursday. He is feeling a lot better. He participated in meetings, we just haven’t had him back on the field yet.”
Dent must complete the league mandated concussion protocol before he can play again.
“There are three phases. You basically have to graduate from one to go to the next one” said Smith. “He is ruled out for this week. We have time for him and just want him to feel better.”
The absence of Dent means other players must step up. The Falcons will rely on veteran Mike Peterson and undrafted rookie Pat Schiller to man the position until Dent returns
The Falcons may even have some production from the rookie Schiller out of Northern Illinois. “Pat is going to get an opportunity to play a significant number of snaps. The big thing for Pat is he needs to make sure he works hard on special teams” said Smith.
“I like what he did in our game against Baltimore last week. He got some experience last week. He is going to get more experience this week.”
While the injury to Dent robs the second year player of valuable time on the field, it also allows the Falcons to see what they have in other players at the position. Knowing just how much talent is there can be a valuable asset as well.