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Young QBs look to shine as Falcons host Packers

Sep 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love (10) against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Two young teams with emerging quarterbacks will be on display when the Atlanta Falcons clash with the visiting Green Bay Packers on Sunday afternoon.

Green Bay’s Jordan Love replaced future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers entering the 2023 season and looked like a star in the Packers’ 38-20 win over the rival Chicago Bears. The third-year quarterback completed 15 of 27 passes for 245 yards and three touchdowns while orchestrating the Green Bay offense like a seasoned pro.

Love also benefited from the play of running back Aaron Jones, who led the team in rushing and receiving yards, racking up 41 and 86, respectively. Jones also scored on a 1-yard rush and a 35-yard reception for the Packers (1-0).

However, Love may not have the luxury of having Jones around against the Falcons due to a hamstring injury. If Jones is unable to play, AJ Dillon will likely lead the rushing attack.

“We are going to give it the course of the week before we make any determination on him,” Green Bay coach Matt LaFleur said about Jones, who did not practice on Wednesday.

Atlanta (1-0) will counter with second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder. Ridder (15-for-18 passing, 115 yards, one TD) didn’t post the numbers Love did in the passing game in a 24-10 victory over Carolina, but he didn’t need to considering the Falcons’ run game — sparked by Tyler Allgeier and rookie Bijan Robinson.

Allgeier led the Falcons with 75 rushing yards on 15 carries and scored twice. Robinson added 10 carries for 56 yards and hauled in six receptions for 27 yards. His nifty 11-yard touchdown catch to open the scoring showed his unique speed and power with the football in his hands.

“We’ll line him up all over the place,” Atlanta coach Arthur Smith said. “He’s such a unique player and unique balance, so you get in there and you get in the red zone and he made a heck of a play but we saw it every day in practice.”

Green Bay wideout Christian Watkins (hamstring) missed the opener against the Bears and did not practice on Wednesday. Romeo Doubs stepped up in the absence of Watkins and had four receptions for 26 yards and two scores against the Bears. Rookie tight end Luke Musgrave added three receptions for 50 yards.

Linebacker Quay Walker, who had a 37-yard pick-six for an active Packers defense that sacked Chicago quarterback Justin Fields four times, is currently in concussion protocol and was a non-participant in practice.

Atlanta linebacker Troy Andersen is also in concussion protocol and his status for Sunday’s game is unclear. Tae Davis would likely start in place of Anderson if he is unable to play.

“Troy came in (Tuesday) and didn’t feel right, so we put him in the protocol,” Smith said. “Any time somebody comes in a day after, two days after or any time — we take that seriously.”

Falcons all-purpose running back Cordarrelle Patterson (thigh) and cornerback Jeff Okudah (foot) returned to practice after missing Week 1 against Carolina. Okudah was limited, though.

–Field Level Media

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