The Atlanta Falcons have one of the most high-powered passing attacks in the NFL, but it may have just lost an important weapon, as Leonard Hankerson has left the game with a rib injury. Right now, he’s questionable to return.
Obviously, Julio Jones is the focus of this offense by miles, but the Falcons have been so good because they can spread the ball around. Hankerson has been taking catches away from veteran Roddy White, to the point that rumors are swirling that White may be traded. Losing him is a big deal, even though it won’t sink the team.
The big question, now, is just how bad this is. If Hankerson’s out for the game, that’s one thing. It’s quite another if he has to miss any significant time. He did have trouble walking after the hit, but there’s no word yet on the diagnosis.
It may open the door for White to reestablish himself. He was the main guy in Atlanta when they brought in Julio Jones to play opposite him. He’s been slowly sliding down the depth chart ever since then, first being passed by Jones and now by Hankerson.
The Falcons also have to keep their eyes on the situation, as it plays heavily into any potential trades. Before this, trading White sounded like a good plan; they could get back more than he was worth to the team, keeping the top two wideouts on the team. Now, they can see firsthand how important depth is. Teams that want to make a serious run in the postseason need to be able to weather injuries, and a deep roster makes that possible.