One day into the Atlanta Falcons’ training camp, and already the team is dealing with injury troubles to two players on their defense.
Veteran safety J.J. Wilcox went down with a knee injury and defensive tackle Michael Bennett broke his ankle, and head coach Dan Quinn said that Wilcox has been ruled out for the season.
“It ended up being a season ending injury where he had an ACL,” Quinn said.
“He’s really had a strong impact here amongst him teammates in a short time. Anytime you get that bad news, the call or conversation with the [doctor], it’s hard. A number of teammates and coaches reached out to him. He’ll have to get that repaired and then comeback for the  season.”
On the other hand, Quinn said that Bennett is not dealing with a season ending issue, but he will have to have surgery to correct the problem before he can get back on the field.
“Michael’s is not as bad as a season ending [injury], but it will set him back for a while,” Quinn said. “They have to do a procedure to get him back. Hopefully for him, at some space, he’ll be able return in the ’19 season.”
Originally a third round draft pick six years ago by the Dallas Cowboys, Wilcox played four seasons for that team, starting 38 games as a safety, recording 212 combined tackles, breaking up 15 pass attempts, intercepting five more, and recovering three fumbles. Following his career in Dallas, Wilcox suited up for the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets, both last season. He also spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2016.
Wilcox signed a one year contract with Atlanta with the expectation of starting the 2019 season as Neal’s backup at the strong safety spot.
A sixth round draft pick out of Ohio State three years ago, Bennett was released by the Jaguars organization on Sept. 11 after they orchestrated a pair of roster moves that included the addition of defensive end Dante Fowler.
This is not the first time Bennett has dealt with injury problems in his NFL career.
Bennett was placed on injured reserve prior to the 2016 season because of a calf injury, and he was limited to one game last season with a pectoral issue.