FLOWERY BRANCH — Here are the five things we learned Thursday about the Falcons (6-5), who play at Tampa Bay (5-6) in a big NFC South game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
1. BEASLEY UPDATE: The Falcons first-round pick is a work in progress, according to defensive line coach Bryan Cox. Beasley, the eighth overall pick in the draft, hasn’t had a sack since Week 3.
2. HANKERSON EXPECTED TO BE DECLARED OUT: Wide receiver Leonard Hankerson didn’t practice on Thursday. He’ll likely be declared out on Friday.
3. DEVIN HESTER DECISION TIME: Devin Hester said he’s playing, but the coaches have to make the decision. Coach Dan Quinn sounded more upbeat, while special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong wasn’t as optimistic.
4. SHANAHAN ON TURNOVERS: Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan discussed how they work on ball handling drills daily with the hopes of eliminating the turnover problem. (WATCH VIDEO BELOW)
5. THE REAL McCOY MAYBE OUT FOR SUNDAY: Tampa Bay’s All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy had a hand surgery and did not practice. That would be a big break for the Falcons if he can’t play. He leads the Bucs with seven sacks.
MINNESOTA GAME COVERAGE — Vikings 20, Falcons 10
FROM THE FIRST MEETING — TAMPA BAY GAME COVERAGE — Bucs 23, Falcons 20 in OT