Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith addressed the media prior to the start of Wednesday’s practice, giving some insight into how the team has handled the Damar Hamlin situation as well as providing some injury updates.
Hamlin went into cardiac arrest following a tackle during the Monday night game between the Bills and Bengals, and is still considered to be in critical condition. Smith said Hamlin and his family remain in the thoughts and prayers of the entire Falcons organization.
Watch the opening of Smith’s press conference below, as shared by ESPN’s Michael Rothstein.
Smith went on to give some injury updates, saying that left guard Elijah Wilkinson (calf) and tight end Feleipe Franks (concussion) will remain out on Wednesday. Both players missed Sunday’s win over the Cardinals
Wilkinson has been solid this season, but his absence opens the door for Matt Hennessy to get more work at guard, per team reporter Tori McElhaney.
Hennessy filled in for Wilkinson during Week 17 and earned a Pro Football Focus grade of 71 overall — with a run-blocking grade of 75.4. Atlanta takes on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 18.
The Buccaneers have already clinched the NFC South, but they still intend to play their starters. It should be a good final test for Falcons rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder, who’s set to make his fourth NFL start this Sunday.
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