Riley (stinger) returned to Sunday's game against Dallas, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
Riley was listed as questionable to return after suffering a mild neck injury during the first quarter of Sunday's game. He didn't miss much time before returning, likely suggesting the injury was not serious.
Riley suffered his injury early in Sunday's game. Look for Kemal Ishmael or Foyesade Oluokun to see some extra snaps for as long as Riley is sidelined.
Riley collected four tackles and a pass deflection during Sunday's 34-29 victory over Tampa Bay.
It may not seem like a substantial feat, but Atlanta held an opponent to fewer than 30 points for the first time in the past four games, bringing an end to a disheartening three-game skid. This came with the team's 2017 third-round pick, Riley having his defensive snap count sliced from an average of 56.8 plays per game between Week 2 and Week 5, to 28 defensive snaps in Sunday's win over Tampa Bay. The decision to peel back Riley's playing time is likely tied to a turbulent performance against Pittsburgh the game prior in which he missed six of a possible 12 tackles. The team prefers rookie Foyesade Oluokun moving forward, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
After a shaky rookie season in 2017 and an up-and-down 2018 preseason, Riley emerged with his best outing as a pro Sunday against Carolina, picking up a career-high nine combined tackles (he never exceeded six tackles in first 13 games of career). Sunday's home game against the Saints presents a daunting task for Riley and the front seven, going up against one of the league's premier offenses without Pro Bowl middle linebacker Deion Jones in the lineup. Alvin Kamara is a nightmare matchup coming out of the backfield against this dinged-up linebacking corps, with 15 receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown through two games. Atlanta struggled mightily at containing Christian McCaffrey in the passing game Sunday, as the second-year back tore up the Falcons for 14 catches and 100-plus yards in Week 2.
Riley will likely move from weakside linebacker to the mack role, which bodes well for his IDP value. His ability to communicate is one of his biggest strengths and essential for a middle linebacker. After a significant knee injury cut short his rookie season, the 24-year-old looks to be in line for a more prominent role as the season progresses.
|16||12/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ TB||1:00 pm|