Thomas DeCoud sitting out

Updated: December 13, 2013, 11:59 AM ET
By Vaughn McClure | ESPN.com

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons starting safety Thomas DeCoud is out for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins with a concussion, coach Mike Smith told 790 the Zone radio, an ESPN affiliate.

DeCoud suffered the injury attempting to tackle Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy last Sunday. He hasn't missed a start all season.

With DeCoud sidelined, rookie Zeke Motta from Notre Dame will start at free safety. Motta replaced DeCoud in Green Bay and responded with 10 tackles. Motta continues to play with a cast on his right hand after breaking a finger.

Defensive coordinator Mike Nolan believes Motta is a capable replacement, based on last week's performance.

"I thought he did a good job with the so-called 'live bullets,'" Nolan said. "It wasn't too big for him. He didn't get all starry-eyed. He was good. He had blood all over his face. I don't know what busted open on him, but he was hitting people and doing a real good job."

Motta's coverage skills will be tested Sunday.

Motta starting means the Falcons will have three rookies in the secondary alongside veteran strong safety William Moore. The starting cornerbacks are rookies Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford. And the Falcons will face a second-year quarterback in Kirk Cousins.

Vaughn McClure

ESPN Atlanta Falcons reporter

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