Reporting Jamie Walker
With just a few weeks until the start of training camp and Organized Team Activities or OTA’s going on, I will take a comprehensive look at the position groups for the Atlanta Falcons. On Sunday morning as we were prepping for the upcoming show, the discussion came about concerning the Offensive Line of the Falcons. Now most national pundits say that the strength of the team is the offense, however the “Dirty Birds” did lose Todd McClure to retirement and released Tyson Clabo as a cap casualty. Both were staples of the team that kept Quarterback Matt Ryan upright to pull the trigger for this explosive offense but now with this re-shuffling there is a degree of uncertainty. The left side is fully intact with the re-signing of Sam Baker at Left Tackle and Justin Blalock at Left Guard along with the re-signing of Garrett Reynolds who will start the offseason as the starter at Right Guard. However, there will be a couple of positions that will be under some intense completion during training camp.
Peter Konz, the 6-5, 314 pound, 2nd Round Pick from last season started 10 games for the Falcons last season, primarily at Guard. He was drafted to eventually becomes this franchises’ Center out of Wisconsin and it seems this time is now. Konz played some Center last season, creating some experience, but this will be his first time as “The Guy”. At Right Tackle, there will be an intense competition between Mike Johnson and last years’ draft pick Lamar Holmes. Johnson, a 3rd round pick in 2010 out of Alabama has some experience with the Falcons, primarily as a fill-in. He started one game last season and throughout his career has been injured. In fact, last season was the first in his career where he dressed in all 16 games. Witnessing Johnson in person, his 6-5, 312 pound frame is very athletic looking and could be perfect for the position. I project he will get the 1st crack to be the starter. The other player in line for a chance to start at the Right Tackle position will be Lamar Holmes, the 2nd year player out of Southern Mississippi. The 6-6, 323 pound “house” was injured coming into the draft last season and only appeared in one game in 2012. Being healthy for the 1st time in his professional career, Holmes could be an absolute “gem” for the Falcons but his health is the “wildcard”. Keep an eye on this competition in camp, also pay close attention to possible pick ups in free agency because the Right Tackle position possibly being held by two oft-injured players is something that the Atlanta Falcons cannot afford if they intend on taking it to the next level. Also within the mix is Joe Hawley, the 6-3, 297 pound Guard out of UNLV who has seen significant playing time over his three year career. Also be on the lookout for Theo Goins, the 6-4, 317 pound lineman out of Central Florida and the 6-7, 320 pound Terren Jones out of Alabama State, both rookies that could be “diamonds in the rough” for the Falcons.
Jamie Walker is a Producer and the Atlanta Falcons Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game and can be followed on Twitter @coachjdub21 and reached through email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.