Neal (knee) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, per the league's official transaction log. The move was expected since Neal's season ended after he tore his ACL in the opener against Philadelphia. Neal's absence will leave a tough void to fill since he posted back-to-back, 100-plus-tackle seasons to start his NFL career. Damontae Kazee will be the starting strong safety.
Neal aggravated a left knee injury suffered during the second quarter and was forced out of the game shortly after halftime of Atlanta's season opener against Philadelphia on Thursday. Neal's left knee appeared to buckle while he was changing directions in pass coverage, resulting in the third-year safety being deemed inactive for the remainder of the ballgame. Preseason standout Damontae Kazee was the next man up at strong safety for the Falcons following Neal's exit from the contest.
Neal is out for the remainder of Thursday's game against the Eagles with a knee injury, William McFadden of the Falcons' official site reports. Neal injured his left knee late in the second quarter as well but was able to return to the field. This time, however, he was forced to head to the locker room and has been ruled out for the remainder of the game. The injury appeared to be non-contact, so there will be hope that it is not serious. Expect Damontae Kazee to take over at strong safety for the rest of Thursday's contest.
Neal collected two tackles and an interception during Atlanta's 17-6 loss to the Jaguars on Saturday. Neal benefited from Robert Alford's cat-like reflexes in the first quarter, as a Blake Bortles pass intended for Austin Seferian-Jenkins was batted up in the air and snagged by the Pro Bowl safety with ease. Though Jacksonville's passing offense was able to move downfield against Neal and the first-team secondary, Atlanta generated multiple turnovers on the night. Bortles completed 17 of 23 attempts for 204 yards, but Neal and Blidi Wreh-Wilson each registered interceptions.
Neal finished with 116 total tackles (83 solo), three forced fumbles and an interception in 16 games this season. His 116 total tackles were the second highest on the team behind Deion Jones, and he's now topped 100 total tackles in both his seasons in the league. He also has a knack for getting his hands on the ball, as he has eight forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception in 30 career games. He won't do much in the sack department, but he'll be a solid IDP option for the foreseeable future.
|3||09/23||New Orleans Saints||20|
|6||10/14||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6|
|7||10/23||New York Giants||28|
|12||11/23||@New Orleans Saints||20|
|14||12/09||@Green Bay Packers||2|
|17||12/30||@Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6|