DaMeatTroughsEgo Posted June 22, 2011 Share Posted June 22, 2011 (edited) When insomnia strikes....why not?Current players: T S. Baker, T W. Svitek, T/G G. Reynolds, T/G J Valdez, C/G Rob Bruggeman, OG Mike Johnson, OG Andrew Jackson, C T. McClureSoon to be Free Agents: T T. Clabo, OG H Dahl, OG J BlalockThe common rant among most Falcons fans this off season has been "BRING BACK GRIMES, BRING BACK SNELLING, BRING BACK CLABO." But I disagree about the latter and I will get to that later. The Falcons have a serious situation on their hands with the offensive line this coming free agency period. I cannot name ONE spot on the line to pair with a player and think with any certainty that that player will play said spot. The forward thinking of the front office and coaching staff has us well prepared for the lockout imposed rush of anxious general managers who are going to be like hungry wolves that haven't been fed. There will be high demand for three of the fixtures on the line for the past three years. We all know there will be insanely steep offers out there for Tyson Clabo and Harvey Dahl and I just feel it would be best to let them both go. I'll start with Dahl, who at age 30 (in two days!) will be heavily sought after by teams looking to add some grit and personality to their line. While I do love Dahl's nasty attitude and demeanor, I don't feel that he is worth the contract he is going to get and has been talked up by the announcers and media. In NFL.com's Pat Kirwan's June 9th article titled "Quality guards won't come cheap once lockout is lifted," it pretty much says that because there weren't many quality guards in this years draft the free agent guards are going to be paid handsomely. To me, Dahl is simply not worth the top money that he will command as he can be dominated and pushed back by strong tackles and is prone to penalties (can't back that up, just seems like he gets whistled a bit for bad ones). The strong defensive tackles usually play for better defenses and that is part of the problem. Remember the Baltimore game when we didn't even try to run the ball? Blalock will come cheaper as he doesn't have the reputation that Dahl does, but is just as steady not to mention younger. Now to address Clabo. I LOVE Clabo and everything he has done for the team and how he worked his way through practice squads to get where he is today but his inability to play left tackle just won't make him worth what he's going to get. If you think Dahl will be expensive just wait until you see Tyson's haul. Instead of spending the big dollars on Clabo, I would target Jared Gaither. I would rather spend big money on somebody whose skills cannot be replicated by anybody else on the roster like an athletic left tackle. If Gaither would cost too much/isn't a fit then Jammal Brown would be a good backup plan. He played right tackle at Washington last year and regained his swagger throughout the season. He would be an excellent fit at LT and would probably cost about what Clabo will get. Now: Gaither/Brown-Blalock-???-???-???So now that the left side of the line is settled with Gaither/Brown and Blalock, the question is what happens to Sam Baker? We all know Baker has been the fans' whipping boy and a disappointment at left tackle since being drafted but who is to say he won't make an above average right tackle? The talent is there to make that happen. By letting Clabo go to sign a left tackle and switching Baker to the other side, essentially two birds are killed with one stone.Now: Gaither/Brown-Blalock-???-???-BakerCenter Todd McClure aka Old Faithful has been around since the Dan Reeves era. I love the guy and he holds the Falcons record for most consecutive starts which is amazing yet concerning. Pro Football Focus ranked McClure as the 6th worst pass protecting center from 2010 and I honestly doubt his run blocking is any better. McClure like Dahl can be dominated by stronger tackles and needs to be replaced. If anybody is, Joe Hawley is the man to do it. I would keep McClure around throughout camp to see how Hawley progresses and then if all goes well cut him loose and give him a chance to sign elsewhere. Now: Gaither/Brown-Blalock-Hawley-???-BakerHarvey Dahl was limited strength wise and athletically but made up for it in smarts. The Falcons took Mike Johnson in the 3rd round last year and let him redshirt the ENTIRE season, I don't think he was even active for more than 1-2 games. Unlike Dahl, Johnson has all the physical talent to be a good player in the league and if things slow down for him mentally then he will lead for Turner just like he did for Mark Ingram during his 2009 Heisman year. Now: Gaither/Brown-Blalock-Hawley-Johnson-BakerThe final four spots will be the toughest. The Falcons didn't let Reynolds, Valdez, Bruggeman all hang around for two years because they are scrubs and needed to fill spots on the roster. I believe that Reynolds and Valdez will challenge both Baker and Johnson on the right side during training camp and the pre-season, and the better player of those two will be the key backup on the line if they don't win a starting spot outright. Bruggeman was active during last year's opener before Hawley was able to get his feet wet so that tells me he will be the primary backup at center this year and possibly swing to guard if injury were to occur within a game. Will Svitek will continue his job as swing tackle and be active on game days. Barring injury, I see 7th round pick Andrew Jackson being relegated to the practice squad. The moves discussed above leave Atlanta with nine men on the roster for the offensive line which is in line with the Smith/Dimitroff regime. The only problem I see with this new group of players is the cohesion, but come week 8 I see us being stronger and more well prepared to make a deep playoff run with the newly implemented more talented and physically stronger guys. Edited June 22, 2011 by DaMeatTrough Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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