Falcons running back Steven Jackson, who’s battling back from a hamstring injury, was declared out Saturday for the “Monday Night Football” against the New York Jets.
Jackson will join left tackle Sam Baker (knee) and linebacker Akeem Dent (sprained right ankle), who previously were declared out for the game, which is set for 8:40 p.m. at the Georgia Dome.
Jackson has not played or practiced since suffering a hamstring injury on the first series of the St. Louis game Sept. 15. The Falcons hoped he would be available two to three weeks after the injury. He’s set to miss his third game, but will have the bye week for additional recovery time.
The Tampa Bay game Oct. 20 would be five weeks from the initial injury. Jackson recently wrote in his blog that he was not returning until he was “100 percent healthy.”
Backup running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling have replaced Jackson in the lineup and have combined to average 159.5 yards from scrimmage in two games.
The defense could get a boost from the return of cornerback Asante Samuel (thigh injury, questionable), who was limited in practice Saturday. He did not play against New England last week.
“We are going to continue to be hopeful that he’ll be ready to go,” said coach Mike Smith after Saturday’s practice. “We certainly have missed him, not only against the Patriots, but also against the Saints as well.”
Tight end Chase Coffman (knee, questionable) was added to the injury report Saturday.
The rest of the players on the report, linebacker Paul Worrilow (knee, questionable), defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (foot, probable), wide receiver Julio Jones (knee, questionable), wide receiver Roddy White (ankle, questionable) and wide receiver Drew Davis (ankle, probable), all practiced and are expected to play against the Jets.
Cromartie-Jones showdown: New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie looks forward to his matchup with Jones.
Jones leads the NFL with 481 receiving yards and the NFC with 33 receptions.
“You see Julio Jones, who’s being double-covered, still averaging over 100 yards a game,” said Cromartie, who played at Florida State with Falcons running back Antone Smith. “It just shows you what kind of guy he is and what kind of talent (he has).”
Cromartie may spend some time on wide receiver Roddy White, too.
“Roddy has been battling through a high ankle sprain,” Cromartie said. “It just shows you a guy who’s trying to be healthy and still be out there for his team.”
Jumping routes: Jets coach Rex Ryan pointed out that Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throws passes in two seconds or less on a lot of plays. That’s not enough time to sack Ryan, but Cromartie and his secondary mates may have some opportunities to jump some routes, get an interception and score.
“You’ve got to play it respectfully and understand that Matt Ryan does get the ball out quick, and you have to understand that there are going to be chances for us to make plays,” Cromartie said. “We just have to be sure that we go out and capitalize when we can.”
Cromartie respects the Falcons’ other offensive weapons, too.
“They have great and talented guys in the skill positions from Matt Ryan to the running backs like Snelling to Julio Jones and Roddy White,” Cromartie said. “What I’m seeing from them is just their guys being playmakers.”