Atlanta Falcons must find a way to replace Kaleb McGary this season
By Nick Halden
The Atlanta Falcons chose not to exercise Kaleb McGary’s fifth-year option this off-season making it all the more obvious McGary’s job isn’t guaranteed this season. The biggest problem with the Atlanta Falcons’ offense last season was their inability to set up the run with their blocking or to protect Matt Ryan.
Kaleb McGary may not have been as terrible as left guard Jalen Mayfield, however, there is no question he was a part of the problem. Headed into his fourth season in the league Atlanta has added depth and should have an open competition for starting right tackle.
Jake Matthews and Chris Lindstrom should be the only players who have their jobs guaranteed along the offensive line. McGary and Mayfield were both problems last season. Mayfield’s performance was so terrible it made center Matt Hennessy have to often forget his own assignment attempting to cover for Mayfield.
This led to a rough season for Hennessy as well who needs to be evaluated without having Mayfield lined up alongside him. Drew Dalman is the obvious competition at center on the roster for Matt.
Rookie Justin Shaffer will likely be given a chance to win the starting job if Jalen Mayfield continues to struggle throughout camp and the pre-season at left guard.
However, there is far less clarity searching for clear competition on the Atlanta roster for the right tackle spot. Germain Ifedi is the only clear option though he has struggled only starting seven games for the Bears last season. Ifedi spent his first four seasons with the Seahawks before spending two years with the Bears.
Regardless of where they find the answer, it is obvious the Falcons are going to have to replace Kaleb McGary if they want the offensive line to improve. McGary continues a long line of Atlanta Falcons draft busts that necessitated the current rebuild.
Headed into the pre-season one of Atlanta’s highest priorities has to be finding out if they have players on the roster capable of replacing McGary and Mayfield. If not it wouldn’t be at all surprising to see the team making a move in free agency heading into week one.