November 11, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Atlanta Falcons guard Mike Johnson (79) celebrates his touchdown reception against the New Orleans Saints during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports
As soon as Tyson Clabo was released by the Falcons to shore up some extra cash, fans have wondered who the new right tackle would be. I think it’s safe to say that Thomas Dimitroff is not insane. He released Harvey Dahl a few years back and although Garret Reynolds hasn’t looked the part his first year starting, He looked way better last year until his injury. Dahl wouldn’t have been released if T.D. didn’t have faith in the lineman that could play the guard position and although none of the linemen are quite as Dahlish, there is enough talent there to fill in.
Due to the cross training that the Falcons implemented, every Lineman learns each position. In 2010, this helped the Packers win a Super Bowl when an offensive lineman went down; they just kicked a starter out and replaced the old guy with a new guy with no catching up to do. The Falcons train each lineman in all positions, that’s how Garret Reynolds (drafted as a tackle) could take the spot as guard. It’s also how Peter Konz of last year was able to take the guard spot when Reynolds went down even though he was drafted as a Center. Joe Hawley was also able to fill in at Guard when drafted as a center.
When Mike Johnson, a guard from Alabama, was drafted, he immediately started training as a Tackle. Three years later and he’s as familiar with the tackle position as any. Lamar Holmes was drafted last year as a tackle and fits the mold better than Johnson does, but is younger and may be too inexperienced for the role.
Ultimately, the battle will come down to Mike Johnson vs. Lamar Holmes. The Comrade would not have let go of Tyson Clabo if he didn’t know for a fact that either one of these monsters cold step up and start. They have both looked great during the preseason and the times they filled in during the regular season.
I would put my money on Mike Johnson, I think his longer time learning all the positions makes him the best choice to take the starting role as right tackle, but he’ll have to win it from a very determined Lamar Holmes.
Who do you think will win this battle?