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WR Justin Hardy - Atlanta Falcons

5-10, 192Born: 12-18-1991College: East CarolinaDrafted: Round 4

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Photo: Jim Dedmon, US Presswire

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Week 7: at New England Patriots

All WR vs NE

FBG says: Great matchup. Naturally, Matt Ryan has regressed noticeably from his electrifying 2016 season, but the drop has been quite noticeable. Ryan is throwing for 12% fewer yards and "boasting" his worst passer rating (87.3) since 2009, his second NFL season. He's also showing that last year's touchdown explosion was largely a fluke; his touchdown rate has been cut by more than half, and he's on pace to throw a pitiful 19 of them. A hefty chunk of the fall can be blamed on the team's downfield game, which has all but disappeared in 2017. With bracket coverage limiting Julio Jones and speedster Taylor Gabriel mostly neutralized, Ryan has completed just 10 of his 28 deep passes (15+ yards). He's also been uncharacteristically leaking turnovers, with 6 interceptions through 5 games after just 7 over 19 games last year (playoffs included). Jones himself has disappointed thus far, averaging 32% fewer yards per game than over his 2014-16 stretch and entering Week 7 still touchdown-less. The lack of scoring presence is a long-term thing for Jones, who's rarely targeted in the red zone has ineffective when he is. But in general, the Falcons need him to start dominating matchups on a 2015 level if this passing game is going to truly break out. A return by Mohamed Sanu, the team's top possession threat behind Jones, would also help, but he looks doubtful for Sunday. In any event, though, the Falcons are facing a "get right" game against the Patriots, so this could kick them into gear across the board. In every game thus far, the Patriots have allowed their opposing quarterback to reach his season high in yardage. That's an incredibly ugly stat, made even worse when we consider Josh McCown's 31-of-47, 351-yard, 2-touchdown performance from last week. The Jets were merely next in line to shred the Patriots' shaky secondary and invisible pass rush, which have collectively allowed the most yards and net yards per attempt in football. They've also given up more completions of 20+ yards than anyone, as well as the third-most passing touchdowns. The often-toothless Jets attack managed to produce 4 receivers of 59+ yards, and McCown's dominance would've been even more apparent had Austin Seferian-Jenkins not fumbled at the pylon in the fourth quarter. Like the Saints of recent years, this is a defensive matchup to target aggressively with opposing passers and receivers, thanks to their sheer ineptitude and the wide-open pace of most Patriots games.

Recent Stats and Projections

3 at DET 15 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 vs BUF 58 0 0 0 6 2 12 1 0 7.2
6 vs MIA 42 0 0 0 3 3 34 0 0 3.4
7 at NE PROJ-Dodds * 0 * * 2 * * * *
7 at NE PROJ-Tremblay * 0 * * 1 * * * *
7 at NE PROJ-Bloom * 0 * * 0 * * * *

Recent Game Summaries

2017 Week 6 vs MIA (3 / 3 / 34 / 0 rec)

Hardy's first catch came in the underneath zone in the middle of the field before two defenders swarmed to the ball for a short gain, setting up a 3rd and 1 during the first half. He earned two consecutive receptions with 1:30 and 1:15 left in the contest to get past the 50, including a third-down conversion in the middle of the field.

2017 Week 4 vs BUF (6 / 2 / 12 / 1 rec)

Wide-open on an underneath route, Hardy got inside the 15 to set up a 3rd and 7 after a penalty on first down by the Atlanta offense put the Falcons in a long situation. The play after Tevin Coleman was stripped, Hardy fumbled a sideline hitch after making a move up field and Buffalo recovered. However, he never earned control of the reception and the replay booth overturned the play, ruling it a drop. White interfered with Hardy on a corner route from the slot in the red zone in the middle of the fourth quarter to set up a first and goal from the one. A few plays later, Hardy caught the shallow route as the inside trips man against a blown coverage for a one-yard score. Hardy let a 2nd and 4 crossing route go through his hands with 3:00 left and down by 6.

2017 Week 2 vs GB (2 / 1 / 19 / 0 rec)

He caught an under route to set up a first and goal inside the five of Green Bay after dragging two defenders five yards during the third series. Ryan just overshot Hardy on an intermediate cross off play-action on a 1st and 10 pass just past midfield.

2017 Week 1 vs CHI (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Hardy juggled a 3rd and 8 deep out that he tight roped the sideline and incomplete but Matt Ryan was roughed with late hit on the ground in the third quarter with 5:10 left.


Latest News

Falcons | Week 6 injury report for Atlanta (Fri Oct 13, 06:40 PM) - Atlanta Falcons WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) and DE Courtney Upshaw (ankle, knee) did not practice Friday, Oct.13, and have been ruled out for Week 6 against the Miami Dolphins. LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring) was limited, but he is also out. LB Vic Beasley (hamstring), PK Matt Bryant (back) and WR Julio Jones (hip) were limited, but have been removed from the injury report. S Ricardo Allen (concussion), WR Justin Hardy (illness), OT Ryan Schraeder (concussion) and RB Terron Ward (neck, shoulder) were able to practice in full.

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Falcons | Atlanta's Thursday practice report (Thu Oct 12, 05:18 PM) - Atlanta Falcons DE Courtney Upshaw (ankle, knee) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 12. LB Vic Beasley (hamstring) was limited. RB Terron Ward (neck, shoulder), OT Ryan Schraeder (concussion), WR Justin Hardy (illness) and S Ricardo Allen (concussion) participated fully.

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Falcons | Atlanta's injury report for Wednesday (Wed Oct 11, 05:18 PM) - Atlanta Falcons WR Justin Hardy (illness) and DE Courtney Upshaw (ankle, knee) did not practice Wednesday, Oct. 11. LB Vic Beasley (hamstring) was limited. CB Ricardo Allen (concussion), OT Ryan Schraeder (concussion) and RB Terron Ward (neck, shoulder) participated fully.

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Atlanta Falcons Team Links

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7@ New England Patriots
8@ New York Jets
9@ Carolina Panthers
10vs Dallas Cowboys
11@ Seattle Seahawks
12vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
13vs Minnesota Vikings
14vs New Orleans Saints
15@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
16@ New Orleans Saints
17vs Carolina Panthers