FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell will not play Sunday against the Carolina Panthers as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, head coach Arthur Smith said Friday.
Terrell has missed every practice this week for Atlanta after leaving last Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on the eighth play of the game with the hamstring injury. Atlanta then immediately ruled him out of the game, the second straight week he had dealt with thigh and hamstring issues.
The team's first-round draft pick in 2020, Terrell has been Atlanta's top cornerback the past two seasons and he is one of three Week 1 starters in the Falcons' secondary who will not play against Carolina. Atlanta had already ruled out safety Jaylinn Hawkins, who suffered a concussion against the Bengals, on Monday, and cornerback Casey Hayward is on injured reserve.
"Just got to see who we got and put them in the best position we can and try not to put them in positions that they can't handle or that we don't think they can handle," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "And try to do the best we can."
Atlanta will start second-year pro Darren Hall at one cornerback position and likely veteran Cornell Armstrong, who is on the practice squad, against the Panthers. It would be Armstrong's first NFL start after 31 career games over four seasons with Miami, Houston and now the Falcons.
At safety, second-year pro Richie Grant becomes the only Falcons secondary member to start every game this season. Veteran Dean Marlowe should line up next to him at safety, making his 17th NFL start.
Smith said earlier this week the team did consider putting running back/returner Avery Williams at cornerback -- where he played last year as a rookie -- as an emergency option the past two weeks against San Francisco and Cincinnati because of injuries but ended up not needing to.
Not including the practice squad, Atlanta has four healthy cornerbacks -- Hall, nickel Isaiah Oliver, special teams standout Mike Ford and Dee Alford, who missed last week's game and was limited in practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a hamstring injury.