Falcons lose yet another starter to injury, place left guard Andy Levitre on injured reserve

The Falcons still haven't squashed the injury bug. They've lost yet another starter to a serious injury.

On Tuesday, the Falcons announced that they've placed left guard Andy Levitre on injured reserve with a torn triceps. He will miss the remainder of the season.

"After receiving the tests results on Andy's injury from Sunday's game, it has been determined that he will miss the remainder of the season with a triceps injury," Falcons coach Dan Quinn said, per the team's website. "Andy worked extremely hard to get back on the field after a similar injury last year, and there is no doubt his leadership will continue to be felt this year. We have a ton of respect for Andy and what he stands for, and what he means to our team."

Levitre joins Pro Bowl safety Keanu Neal and Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve. Only Jones is expected to return later this season. Meanwhile, Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman is battling a knee injury that prevented him from playing in Week 2 and might require him to miss a couple more weeks. 

The loss of Levitre isn't as significant as the losses of those players, but it shouldn't be overlooked either. Since joining the Falcons in 2015, he's missed only three possible regular-season games. According to Pro Football Focus, he was one of the best run-blocking guards a season ago, paving the way for both Freeman and Tevin Coleman. So, his injury will likely impact the running game more than the passing game.

He'll be replaced by Wes Schweitzer, who started 16 games at right guard last season.

"Well, I think he's come a long way in the handful of years he's been with us," Matt Ryan said. "I know the experience of starting and playing last year is going to help him moving forward for sure. But we have a lot of confidence in him, too. That was a competitive battle up front for those guys and who was going to start. You know, it's disappointing. You never want to see somebody go down, but we're fortunate to have experienced guys that are able to step in there and do a nice job for us."

After beating the Panthers, the Falcons sit at 1-1 heading into a crucial divisional showdown against the Saints on Sunday. While the Saints, also 1-1, have struggled mightily, their offense should be able to exploit the void created by the injuries to Neal and Jones. The Falcons will need to keep pace with the Saints' explosive offense, but without Freeman and Levitre, they might find it difficult to move the ball on the ground, which places more pressure on Ryan and the passing game.

Ryan rebounded from his rough season opener by completing 82 percent of his passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns, one pick, and a 116.1 passer rating in addition to scoring two touchdowns on the ground on Sunday. The Falcons will need more of that moving forward.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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