Who will start for the Atlanta Falcons week one against the Seahawks?
This year’s Atlanta Falcons offense will feature a mix of returning veterans as well as some fresh new faces to the black and red. When you have had the turnover that the Falcons have had over the last six months, chemistry can be an issue.
The biggest concern is that there is no preseason football this year, so the only opportunity the franchise has to create the continuity between the new and the old is going to be the three hours a day they spend in meetings and on the field.
While every team faces the same issue of no preseason, most teams don’t have the turnover the Atlanta Falcons have either.
That said, this offense is loaded with a ton of talent at all the skill positions as well as the offensive line. So, who starts for the Falcons when they kick off in a couple weeks?
There won’t be many changes on the offensive line versus what we saw at the end of the season. If this group can stay healthy, they will be among the upper echelons of offensive lines in 2020 and Matt Ryan should see a lot less time on his back and more time in a clean pocket.
Left guard is truly the only unknown at this point and it seems to be down to three players – James Carpenter, Matt Gono, and Matt Hennessy. All three have taken first-team snaps and at this point, Dan Quinn is not willing to name a starter.
My gut instinct tells me that rookie Matt Hennessy will win the job.
- Left tackle – Jake Matthews
- Left guard – Matt Hennessy
- Center – Alex Mack
- Right guard – Chris Lindstrom
- Right tackle – Kaleb McGary
Atlanta Falcons fans knew halfway through the season that Austin Hooper was not coming back. There was simply no way to justify spending the type of money he wanted on a tight end. Sure, Matt Ryan loves tight ends and he and Hooper worked well together and developed chemistry, but there simply was not money to resign him.
When we look back in a couple years, trading for Hayden Hurst will have been one of the most undervalued moves made by any team during the 2020 offseason. Hurst is a better blocker and just as talented as a pass-catcher, though he is more athletic than Hurst.
Hayden Hurst is going to be the starter and will be tremendous for this offense and will make them better than they were in 2016.
This is probably the clearest nonbattle on this team other than quarterback. The real competition at wide receiver is who makes this team as backups.
There are a lot of options and a lot of talent will be cut in the next two weeks because of it. The Atlanta Falcons have the deepest wide receiver in the NFL and with COVID still an unknown, a lot of these guys may see more action in 2020 than they have previously.
Last month, I stated that I didn’t think Brian Hill would make the 2020 roster because he is essentially a poor man’s Todd Gurley and brings nothing different to the table. When he and Ito Smith are both healthy, Smith is the better back.
Todd Gurley is clearly the starter and is the most complete running back the Falcons have ever had and IF he can stay healthy in 2020, will lead the Falcons back to the top of the NFC South.
- QB 1: Matt Ryan
- QB 2: Kurt Benkert
Matt Ryan is clearly the starter and has no real competition for the foreseeable future. The only competition is going to be who makes the roster as QB 2 at this point. Will it be 16-year NFL veteran Matt Schaub or the young inexperienced Kurt Benkert, who looked really good last preseason before suffering a toe injury?