Atlanta Falcons Sign K Graham, Waive LB Bartu


The Atlanta Falcons have made a few roster moves this Thanksgiving, signing K Shayne Graham while waiving LB Joplo Bartu before Week 12’s home game.

HC Dan Quinn announced earlier today that the Atlanta Falcons have made some adjustments to their roster before their Week 12 home game versus the 7-3 Minnesota Vikings. Since K Matt Bryant is dealing with a quadriceps injury, the Falcons signed K Shayne Graham to likely play in his place on Sunday.

To account for Graham joining the team, Atlanta had to waive former starting OLB Joplu Bartu. Bartu started in his first two years in the NFL as a former UDFA out of Texas State in former DC Mike Nolan’s defense. He’s played sparingly in HC Dan Quinn’s 4-3 Under Base defensive scheme. While most of the linebackers on the Atlanta Falcons have grown under the tutelage of DC Richard Smith and LBs Coach Jeff Ulbrich, Bartu didn’t see the field much in 2015.

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Quinn also mentioned that starting RB Devonta Freeman is still in concussion protocol after suffering a head injury during the first offensive drive in last Sunday’s home loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Freeman is likely doubtful for the Atlanta Falcons’ Week 12 home game versus the Minnesota Vikings. The running game will take a step back in his absence with rookies Tevin Coleman and Terron Ward taking over should Freeman be unable to go on Sunday.

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While the Freeman injury was obvious, now that I think about it, perhaps it has been a quadriceps injury that has hurt K Matt Bryant this year. After not missing at field goal inside of 50 yards in 2014, Bryant has missed four field goals in 2015, as the Falcons’ special teams unit has gone from elite to middle of the pack.

Graham is a former Pro Bowler from his time with the Cincinnati Bengals (2005). He’s played for nine teams in his NFL career, most recently with the 2014 New Orleans Saints. While Graham has had his inconsistencies in recent years, I feel he’s a suitable replacement should Matt Bryant be unable to go on Sunday.

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For Atlanta to win on Sunday versus a strong Minnesota Vikings team, the Falcons will need to play well despite injuries in both the kicking and running game. Like so many of the Atlanta Falcons’ games in 2015, I have a feeling that Sunday’s game will go down to the wire. Perhaps it will come down to a Shayne Graham field goal or either a Coleman/Ward combination of chewing up the clock on the ground.