Ten Questions for the Atlanta Falcons: What’s the State of Their Offensive Line?

Atlanta Falcons v Washington Commanders
Atlanta Falcons v Washington Commanders / G Fiume/GettyImages

What is the state of the Atlanta Falcons offensive line?

As we get closer to the start of the 2023 NFL Season, we’re running through ten questions that’ll affect the Atlanta Falcons. Last week we looked at how the wide receiver position could potentially make or break their season, and now we’ll do an in-depth look into their offensive line and how it could affect quarterback Desmond Ridder.

We’ll start by looking at the left tackle position, which Jake Matthews has been manning since the 2014 season. Since that time, he has started 145 games and provided a sense of stability for the Falcons even through all the ups and downs. There’s a chance Matthews might start slipping as he gets further into his 30s, but I’m confident he’ll have another strong season and help protect Desmond Ridder all year.

It’s expected that rookie Matthew Bergeron will man the left guard position after being selected in the 2nd round. Throughout his career at Syracuse, Bergeron mostly split his time between the left and right tackle positions, so it’ll be interesting to see how his adjustment to guard will go. He manned the role at the Senior Bowl but playing a new position in the NFL is a much different story.

After starting 17 games last season, Drew Dalman is likely inked in as the starting center for this season as well. Although he didn’t allow a sack last year and played well as a run blocker, he was also called for nine penalties which ranked fourth in the NFL. Atlanta will have to hope that another year in coach Arthur Smith’s system will help fix that problem and help Dalman and Ridder create a strong connection.

Thankfully for the Atlanta Falcons, the right side of the offensive line should be a strength throughout the entire season. Chris Lindstrom received his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors last year, and he seems to be hitting his stride just as the Falcons need consistency the most. It’d be shocking if Lindstrom didn’t have another great season.

Kaleb McGary has started 62 games for the Falcons since being drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft and will be another consistent for the team after signing a three-year contract extension in March. Although he may not have the same honors as Lindstrom, it’s still expected that McGary will be a strong point on the offensive line.

The biggest question for the Falcons might be their depth at the various positions. Offensive linemen get the crap beat out of them every single game, and it’s expected that at least one player will miss a game or two throughout the long NFL season.

Based on their current depth chart, the Falcons have Ethan Greenidge behind Matthews, Matt Hennessy behind Bergeron, rookie Jovaughn Gwyn behind Dalman, Jalen Mayfield behind Lindstrom, and Joshua Miles behind McGary. Greenidge and Miles have never started a game in the NFL and Mayfield has struggled to adjust to playing in the NFL.

The only known commodity amongst the backups is Hennessy who has started 22 games and played 41 overall. He started every game at center for the Falcons in 2021 but suffered a knee injury last year while manning the left guard position. He can provide depth at multiple positions, but Atlanta should be monitoring players who get cut throughout the next few months in case more experienced depth options become available.