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Falcons still shaken
Falcons Eagles Collis Heal
Atlanta Falcons corner back Dunta Robinson, right, and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson, left, are helped after a hit during the first half of Sunday's game in Philadelphia. - photo by Associated Press

FLOWERY BRANCH — Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson has a concussion following his hit on Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson that knocked both players out of Sunday's game.

Falcons coach Mike Smith defended Robinson's hit on Monday as the cornerback faced possible punishment from the league. Jackson also suffered a concussion.

"We all know Dunta," Smith said. "He's been in this league a long time. He's a guy who plays the game very hard. That was a bang-bang play in terms of the contact. I know from my vantage point it looked like there was no helmet-to-helmet contact, but it was a bang-bang play. I am glad that both those guys are going to be all right, but it was a big-time hit."

Robinson was not available for comment on Monday. His status for this week is uncertain. He must be cleared by an independent doctor before he can play.

Robinson was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver. Both players stayed on the turf for several minutes before being helped from the field.

There were other similar helmet-to-helmet hits around the league on Sunday. NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson told The Associated Press on Monday the league could soon start suspending players for dangerous helmet hits.

Smith said the new rules to protect a defenseless receiver are "very complicated."

"It's not just head-to-head contact," Smith said. "It's contact with the shoulder pads or the arm, any part of the boy, with the helmet or the neck area. And again, a defenseless player definition, I'm not exactly 100 percent sure how they want to say a guy is defenseless."

Falcons safety William Moore said defensive players have to make difficult decisions on the run.

"The rules change and we have to adapt to those rules," Moore said. "That's tough because you're playing 100 percent and it's a split-second decision and you're running and playing football.

"I know no player wants to take out another player like that. We're just playing football. Dunta, he didn't lead in any way to try to hurt DeSean. We've just got to be smart in situations like that."

Falcons receiver Roddy White said he didn't see the hit but knew it was scary.

"No, I was sitting over on the bench and I heard it," White said Monday. "It's the loudest hit I've ever heard in my life.

"They threw a flag on it and I looked at it when I got home and it wasn't even helmet to helmet. He got the penalty because it looked so bad but he tried to hit him right in the chest. The top of his helmet hit him like under the chin."

The Falcons could be short-handed in their secondary against Cincinnati receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco on Sunday.

If Robinson is unable to play, the Falcons could start Christopher Owens at cornerback and move Brian Williams into the rotation at nickel back.

The Falcons already are missing rookie linebacker Sean Weatherspoon.

Smith said Weatherspoon will miss a second straight game with a sprained right knee. Weatherspoon will not practice or play this week.

The Falcons play the Cincinnati Bengals this week and then have a bye week. Smith says he hopes Weatherspoon, the first-round pick from Missouri, will return for a Nov. 7 game against Tampa Bay.

Stephen Nicholas started at outside linebacker against the Eagles.