Atlanta Falcons rookie Takkarist McKinley to make debut Sunday

By The Sports Xchange   |   Aug. 18, 2017 at 10:12 PM
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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said rookie defensive end Takkarist McKinley is likely to make his debut against the Steelers on Sunday. The staff gave McKinley, the team's first-round pick, a full load of practice this week and he came through with flying colors.

"He had a really good week of camp," Quinn said. "After Miami, we said we are now going to take him up from half the reps to the full amount like everybody else. It's something that I'll discuss with him. All systems look good. I haven't discussed it with him, but he had a really good week."

He's recovering from a surgically repaired right shoulder.

"He's probably a little stronger than what I thought," Quinn said. "That's not to say that was a weakness, but the strength that he's able to set an edge with, I knew that part of his game was good, but until you see it on film compared to seeing it live, it's a big difference."

--Second-year man Wes Schweitzer will start at right guard against the Steelers.

"That was really by design for me heading into training camp," Quinn said. "I knew Week 1 I was going to start Ben and Week 2 I wanted to start Wes. Don't read into it past that. Both are going to play almost the equal amount of plays."

The Falcons are looking to replace Chris Chester, who retired during the offseason.

"I wanted both of them to have the opportunity to go out with the first group," Quinn said.

--Two-time Pro-Bowl running back Devonta Freeman was placed in the league's concussion protocol on Sunday. The team originally thought he had heat related problems.

Freeman suffered a concussion against the Colts in 2015 and missed one game.

--Quinn was not happy with an even ratio in the opener against Miami, a 23-20 loss.

"Let's be sure, one of the big topics for us is the ball," Quinn said. "For us to come out in a zero turnover margin, we got two and we gave two away, that's not really the style we'd like to play."

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