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Falcons' offensive line loses Hawley, Holmes to season-ending injuries; Moore to miss 8 weeks

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Georgia — The Atlanta Falcons are facing a dramatic overhaul on their offensive line after announcing Tuesday that injuries have ended the seasons for center Joe Hawley and right tackle Lamar Holmes.

Atlanta's defense also took a big hit as safety William Moore will miss at least eight weeks with a shoulder injury.

Hawley (right knee) and Holmes (foot) were placed on injured reserve. Moore was placed on injured return-designated to return. He can begin practicing in six weeks and will be eligible to return on Nov. 30 against the Cardinals.

The three starters were hurt in Sunday's 41-28 loss at Minnesota. The moves left Atlanta with serious holes to fill before this week's game at the New York Giants.

"This is a no-blink mentality," said coach Mike Smith. "You just move on and keep working."

Atlanta now has lost three starting offensive linemen this year. Left tackle Sam Baker and backup lineman Mike Johnson had season-ending injuries before the season.

Left guard Justin Blalock left Sunday's game with a back injury. He returned to the sideline after being taken to the locker room. The Falcons provided no update Blalock's status on Tuesday.

The injuries to three linemen forced tight end Levine Toilolo to finish the game at right tackle.

"You usually only dress seven in a game and to lose three, that's the first time in my career we've had to finish with a tight end playing tackle," said offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. "You definitely have some adjustments to be made."

PHOTO: Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright, left, runs from Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore, right, after making a reception during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jarius Wright, left, runs from Atlanta Falcons strong safety William Moore, right, after making a reception during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)

Koetter said Peter Konz will move up as the starting center and Gabe Carimi will take over at right tackle. If Blalock can't play this week, Carimi could move to left guard and Ryan Schraeder would be the fill-in starter at right tackle.

"We feel like we had good depth in our offensive line," Koetter said. "Now we've lost three or four guys who were experienced players for us. It will definitely be a challenge but we feel like these guys are up to the challenge."

Moore, a 2012 Pro Bowl selection, is a leader in the secondary who had a key forced fumble in overtime of the Falcons' opening win over New Orleans.

Kemal Ishmael, who had an interception return for a touchdown against Tampa Bay, is the likely replacement for Moore.

Moore's injury takes another leader away from the defense. Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon tore his Achilles tendon in a routine offseason workout and will miss the season.

Atlanta signed safety Sean Baker, tackle Cameron Bradfield and guard Harland Gunn to the active roster. The team signed safety Kimario McFadden and guard Adam Replogle to the practice squad.

Baker (6-0, 209) spent part of the 2013 season on the Falcons' practice squad before being added to the active roster for the final game. He was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent out of Ball State in 2012.

Bradfield (6-4, 308) was cut by Jacksonville on Sept. 16. He started 11 games at left tackle for Jacksonville last season. He also has played at guard.

Gunn (6-2, 310) was signed by the Falcons in 2012 and played in three games at guard last season.


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