FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — So much for Atlanta having to worry about playing time for three top cornerbacks. The Falcons lost one of them in their very first game.
Brent Grimes is out for the year after an Achilles tendon injury in a 40-24 win at Kansas City, coach Mike Smith said Monday.
Grimes left in the fourth quarter with what was initially described as a calf injury. After an MRI, it was determined he will need surgery for a torn Achilles, costing Atlanta one of its best coverage players just as the team is beginning preparations to host Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos in a prime-time game.
It wasn't immediately clear how Grimes was hurt or even which leg he injured.
"Obviously it hurts our depth anytime you lose a player of that caliber," Smith said. "Brent has made a number of big plays since we've been here. He's been the cornerstone at that corner position, on both the left and right side. We've got to have that next-man-up mentality. That's how we have to approach it."
The Falcons appeared to have a wealth of depth at that position after trading for four-time Pro Bowler Asante Samuel during the offseason. In fact, some wondered how the Falcons would keep everyone happy, since they already had Grimes and Dunta Robinson at the corner spots.
New defensive coordinator Mike Nolan planned to make it work by moving Robinson inside and going with a nickel package most of the time, which was evident in the first game. The Falcons started all three corners and used their base defense — two corners and Akeem Dent at middle linebacker — on just 11 snaps.