The biggest and fiercest position battle of the offseason was settled on Monday when Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told the media that Wes Schweitzer won the ongoing competition at right guard over Ben Garland.
“These guys have really battled.,” said Quinn. “They are guys that we respect a tremendous amount. Wes Schweitzer will be the right guard.”
Schweitzer and Garland spent the entire offseason training together and pushing one another for the opportunity to replace Chris Chester, who retired after Atlanta’s Super Bowl run last season.
Through training camp and preseason games, both players showed signs of strength and times of inexperience. Schweitzer looked more fluid and comfortable on the interior; seemed to move his feet in a more athletic manner. This led to better pass protection at times.
Garland was more of a brute-force lineman, really showing prowess in run blocking and manhandling opponents in the second level of the defense. Quinn said both players fought, and made the ultimate decision tough for the coaching staff.
“It was so close as we went through the whole thing,” said Quinn. “He [Schweitzer] showed more consistency at times. If you went just solely on the games, really you could have battled it for either way. In true fashion, Ben Garland as the competitor that he is said congratulations.”
Garland will not only be available to back up Schweitzer at right guard, but both players cross-trained at center during camp too. Garland should be able to step in for Alex Mack if needed.