After a month of diligent rehabilitation, the Falcons' 2016 first-round pick will don the pads is his first regular season game. It's unclear if he'll usurp Kemal Ishmael as the starting strong safety, but Neal will nonetheless bolster what has so far ranked as the ninth-worst pass defense in terms of yards per game (290).
Jones managed but one limited practice session this week but expressed confidence Saturday that he'd be available in Week 3. Indeed, his optimism has come to fruition, and he'll now face a similarly banged-up secondary to the one that he tore up for 15 catches (on 21 targets) for 242 yards in two matchups a season ago.
Jones (calf) said he will play Monday against Saints, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Jones missed practice earlier in the week, and while he put in only a limited effort Saturday, it was apparently enough to give him confidence to play Monday. His presence would certainly be a huge boost against a Saints defense that is one of the worst in the league.
Head coach Dan Quinn declared Neal (knee) will make his NFL debut on Monday night, ESPN reports.
Atlanta's first-round selection has been sidelined since going under the knife near the end of the preseason. Although now officially active, Neal will likely be playing under a snap restriction for at least this week.
While Sanu did not practice on Thursday, he was able to increase his participation in a limited capacity on Friday before practicing in full on Saturday. Consequently, the Atlanta coaching staff gave him the green light to play in the team's divisional showdown against New Orleans, where the loser will likely enter Week 4 as the last-place team in the NFC South.