Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. (6), shown Sept. 19, 2021, suffered a knee injury during a Week 5 win over the New York Jets. File Photo by Steve Nesius/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 22 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Falcons placed veteran outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. on injured reserve Friday with a knee injury, the team announced.
Fowler, who has been one of the Falcons' top edge rushers this season, suffered a knee injury in a Week 5 victory over the New York Jets in London. He didn't practice all week as a result of the ailment.
The 27-year-old Fowler, who was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, will miss at least three games after his placement on IR. The earliest he could return is Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys.
"It's not necessarily next man up. That's the old conventional wisdom," Falcons head coach Arthur Smith told reporters Friday. "Like, you know, you go into these things and maybe some people do it like that, but I always kind of, 'Oh, you got this guy out, you got your depth chart out.' That's the beauty of coaching and how to problem solve.
"If you want to go one-for-one, OK, good for you, but we got a lot of ways to fill holes. It's next man up in theory, but there's a lot of different ways you can plan things and attack, so that's kind of how we look at it."
Fowler has notched 12 total tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in five games this season. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and Fowler are tied for the team lead with two sacks.
In Fowler's absence, the Falcons could lean on a combination of rookie Adetokunbo Ogundeji and veterans Brandon Copeland and Tuioti-Mariner.
The Falcons (2-3) are scheduled to play the Miami Dolphins (1-5) at 1 p.m. EDT Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.