Coach Dan Quinn said Monday that Blake and Olamide Zaccheaus will be tasked with replacing Calvin Ridley (abdomen) over the remainder of the season, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
If there's a silver lining other than the fact that Ridley projects to be at full strength by the start of 2020, it's that Atlanta gets a look at some of its more inexperienced prospects, one or multiple of which may turn into contributors for a revamped Falcons team down the road. Though Blake played only 12 offensive snaps in the Week 14 win over Carolina, he flashed during the Thanksgiving Day loss to New Orleans by logging six catches for 57 yards in his first career start while filling in for an injured Julio Jones. He's expected to see a steady increase in involvement Week 15, when the Falcons take on a 49ers defense that prior to Sunday's performance against the Saints had allowed just one team (Cincinnati in Week 2) to exceed 245 passing yards in a game all season.
Blake is expected to be in line for a reduced role offensively with Julio Jones (shoulder) cleared to play Sunday against the Panthers following a one-game absence, Will McFadden of the Falcons' official site reports.
Blake stepped into a regular role in three-receiver formations while Jones was sidelined for the Falcons' Thanksgiving Day loss to the Saints. The 23-year-old set career highs across the board while playing 89 percent of the offensive snaps, finishing with six catches for 57 yards on nine targets. Blake should remain ahead of Justin Hardy in the pecking order Sunday, but he'll still be no better than fourth on the depth chart behind Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage.
Blake caught six of nine targets for 57 receiving yards during Thursday's 26-18 loss to the Saints.
The second-year receiver out of Northern Illinois has suddenly become an integral part of Atlanta's passing attack over the past two weeks, commanding an eye-catching 18 targets during losses to the Buccaneers and Saints. Blake has only converted those opportunities into 73 receiving yards and remains without a touchdown this season, but there's reason to believe he'll remain highly involved Week 14 against Carolina's middling pass defense, especially if Julio Jones (shoulder) were to be sat down for a second consecutive contest with the Falcons' playoff hopes erased.
Blake caught two of nine targets for 16 yards during Sunday's 35-22 loss to the Buccaneers.
While his final output doesn't exactly set off the waiver wire alarm, it's notable that the 23-year-old wideout tied Julio Jones (shoulder) as Matt Ryan's third-busiest option -- though four of Blake's targets came on a garbage-time fourth-quarter drive with the team trailing by three scores. With Austin Hooper (knee) potentially sitting out a third consecutive contest this week and Justin Hardy going without a target against the Bucs, Blake is expected to work in as a secondary option in the Atlanta passing attack during a Thanksgiving night matchup against New Orleans' 14th-ranked pass defense.
Blake caught both of his targets for 15 receiving yards during Sunday's 26-9 win against the Saints.
The 23-year-old receiver was elevated from the practice squad prior to Atlanta's Week 8 matchup against Seattle and played on 14 offensive snaps during his regular-season debut. It wasn't until Blake's second game Sunday against New Orleans that he tallied his first career reception, gaining 11 yards on a 3rd and 10 to help the Falcons collect a field goal late in the second quarter. Blake is expected to remain involved as a peripheral contributor in Week 11 against Carolina's top-12 pass defense, slotting in behind Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Russell Gage and Justin Hardy on the wide receiver depth chart.
Blake is moving up to the Falcons' 53-man roster, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
This September, Blake was designated for a practice squad spot for a second consecutive year after putting up 10 catches and ranking fifth on the team in receiving (82 yards) during the preseason slate. The trade of Mohamed Sanu on Tuesday morning opened up a slot at wide receiver, where Blake will get snaps as a reserve option behind Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Justin Hardy and Russell Gage. In addition to occasional offensive opportunities, the 23-year-old Blake is also expected to play a role on special teams over the second half of the year.
Blake has been placed on Atlanta's practice squad for the start of the 2019 regular season, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
The 23-year-old Blake stood out during preseason play, but was not quite dominant enough to break into the 53-man roster at a crowded position group for Atlanta. He collected a team-high five catches and 46 receiving yards in the Hall of Fame Game against Denver, and in the exhibition finale against Jacksonville made an acrobatic 12-yard touchdown reception on his only target. Thus far the lone wide receiver to be assigned to the practice squad, Blake showed enough upside this August to merit consideration for a future role on the active roster.
Coach Dan Quinn indicated Monday that Blake is one of a couple receivers being considered for a bubble roster spot, and said that he can envision the Falcons keeping seven wideouts on the team, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
With multiple members of Atlanta's receiving corps set to inherihit potentially prominent special teams roles -- including Russell Gage, Justin Hardy and Marcus Green (hamstring) -- it's understandable that the team is considering arranging its roster to retain a greater number of wideouts than the average NFL squad. Blake has not been involved as a kick or punt returner in the preseason, but he has garnered the head coach's attention by catching eight of 10 targets for 65 yards through his first two exhibition outings of 2019.
Blake brought in five of six targets for 46 yards in the Falcons' 14-10 preseason loss to the Broncos on Thursday.
The second-year receiver paced the Falcons' pass-catching corps in receptions and receiving yards while co-leading the team in targets on the night. Blake spent part of his 2018 rookie campaign on the practice squad and subsequently signed a reserve/future in January, suggesting the team saw some potential. Blake validated some of that confidence in Thursday's game, but he still has a steep hill to climb in terms of securing a spot on the latter portion of the wide receiver depth chart. He'll look to continue making his case in forthcoming training camp practices and preseason games.
Blake signed a reserve/future contract with the Falcons on Monday.
Blake joined the Falcons as an undrafted free agent last offseason and was on the team's practice squad for parts of 2018. The 22-year-old will enter the offseason with the Falcons and still looking to make his NFL debut.
Blake was waived from Atlanta's practice squad Tuesday, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
Blake joined the Falcons' practice squad in the beginning of the regular season but does not seem to have impressed enough to stick around. The undrafted free agent will search for an opportunity elsewhere in the league.
Blake was signed to the Falcon's practice squad Monday, Will McFadden of the team's official site reports.
Blake signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent this offseason, catching two passes for 13 yards in the preseason. The former Northern Illinois wideout will compete to earn a depth role as part of the Falcon's practice squad.
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