The Atlanta Falcons won’t have starting defensive end Adrian Clayborn for the NFC Championship Game or Super Bowl LI, if they make it that far.
Clayborn was injured early in Saturday’s Divisional Round win over the Seattle Seahawks. Now we’ve learned via Ian Rapoport of NFL Media that he tore his biceps and will be unavailable the rest of the way.
Source: #Falcons DE Adrian Clayborn tore his bicep and is out for the rest of the playoffs. Rough news heading into Sunday.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 15, 2017
This is rough news, indeed.
Though Clayborn’s sack totals aren’t huge (4.5 this year), he is a rock-steady starter and one of Atlanta’s best run defenders on the edge. He has been an integral player for Dan Quinn the past couple of seasons.
Clayborn’s absence will be felt more keenly against the Dallas Cowboys perhaps than the Green Bay Packers, as the Cowboys are a run-first team offensively, whereas the Packers are almost exclusively reliant on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game these days.
Then again, as much as Atlanta’s defense has improved since the bye week, this team will likely only go as far as Matt Ryan takes it. So while it’s never easy to lose a key starter on defense, the Falcons still have a fighting chance to win a Super Bowl this year if Ryan puts together another stellar game like he did Saturday against Seattle.