October 7, 2012; Landover, MD, USA; Atlanta Falcons offensive linemen line up against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
I’ve been doing a lot of predicting lately, but there is a lot on the offense that we don’t know about yet. How will Steven Jackson do on a different team? How much better will Matt Ryan be than he was last year? Will the defensive woes be fixed and how will the refreshed secondary stand up in a game time situation?
All good questions, but what I really like to look at is the Offensive line. Some major changes have happened along the line since the conclusion of the 2012 season. Sam Baker, who finally had a season he was drafted for, got a good contract locked down. Justin Blalock had another good season. Despite some doubters, Blalock hasn’t really done anything to show he isn’t worth his contract. Past that, change is a brewin. Todd McClure, a leader on the team for a very long time, has retired. Right Guard was a rotating door of players. Tyson Clabo, who was a mean lineman that held down the right side of the line for a long, successful time, was surprisingly let go. So who will step up there?
Luckily, the Falcons aren’t in as dismal of shape as it would appear. The guys that are in question are full of talent. Not to mention they are young and strong.
At center, Peter Konz will be moving over. He played most of the season last year as a replacement guard after Garret Reynolds was out from a back injury. Konz held his own, although he wasn’t very spectacular. But let’s be honest, he’s been a center his entire career and was thrown into a starting role in a position he is not as comfortable with as a rookie. I’d say he did pretty well for a situation like that. With a year under his belt and in a position he is much more comfortable with, I am sure he’ll be able to step in just fine.
At Right Guard, Garret Reynolds should be the starter. Two years ago, he lost his starting job after Detroit (to put it lightly) had their way with him. I watched some film of Garret Reynolds in college and he is one determined man. Every year he gets better. After a dismal year two years ago, he showed up. Konz was drafted to be the eventual center, and step in as guard, but Reynolds held onto his job by playing extraordinarily well. He was ranked among some of the best guards in the league before he got injured. Now that he’s healthy, I doubt he didn’t improve any and I would be surprised if he wasn’t the starter; a solid one at that.
The biggest question mark is right tackle Lamar Holmes. He is unproven in the regular season, but played surprisingly well in the preseason and practice. On top of that, he’s just a hulking athlete and a spitting image of the perfect tackle. I seriously doubt that Thomas Dimitroff would have let any part of a thriving offense go without complete confidence in the back up, I don’t care how much money you need to save. I’ll bet Holmes is the guy, and I bet he’ll step up just as the Falcons need him to.
What are some offensive linemen you like to see?