Falcons' Beasley playing with shoulder injury

Vic Beasley was selected with the eighth overall pick in the NFL draft out of Clemson to improve the Atlanta Falcons’ pass rush, a deficiency for the club over the past several years.

The rookie from Adairsville has only three sacks on the season, and this week came news which might help explain the lack of production.

The Falcons divulged Beasley has been playing with a torn labrum in his shoulder all season. It is an injury he suffered in the off-season.

The shoulder injury was a surprise because the issue was never revealed on the weekly injury report. Coach Dan Quinn explained Beasley never missed any practice time so he didn’t have to include the injury on the report.

Quinn told reporters that Beasley has not been limited in any way with the shoulder.

Beasley, a starter at defensive end, has 23 tackles and is tied for the team lead in sacks with Adrian Clayborn.

After a 5-0 start, Atlanta's season has fallen on tougher times and the team is virtually (although not mathematically) eliminated from the playoffs.

According to 'Smarter Football' in The New York Times, Atlanta's odds of making the playoffs heading into Sunday's game are barely one percent. The Falcons need to win out, finish 9-7, and have at least seven other games go their way for the scenario to fall in place.

Those seven games include both the Vikings and Seahawks losing their last two games, the 49ers winning one of their last two, the Buccaneers defeating Chicago, and -- believe it or not -- an AFC Denver win over San Diego is needed.

NFL tiebreakers can be really interesting.

Realistically, Atlanta is playing out the string and will seek to build on last week's win that snapped a six week losing streak and stumble out of the playoffs.

The Falcons (7-7) host Cam Newton and the unbeaten Carolina Panthers (14-0) Sunday at the Georgia Dome (1 pm).

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