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Offensive Line Coach Chris Morgan Not Panicking Despite Injuries


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Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer

Three probable offensive line starters weren't even on the field as the Atlanta Falcons resumed organized team activities this week.

Left tackle Jake Matthews continues to recover from January surgery to repair a Lisfranc ligament tear. Center Joe Hawley remains on the mend from an ACL and MCL tear. And right guard Jon Asamoah was held out two days this week with an undisclosed injury.

Not to mention tackle Sam Baker is nowhere to be seen coming off last year's season-ending knee injury and center/guard Peter Konz is still far from returning from an ACL tear.

In other words, new offensive line coach Chris Morgan already has the challenge of finding five capable bodies to work with the first-team offense. At least he has a familiar veteran presence with the recent signing of ex-Redskins starting right guard Chris Chester, a player he helped coach while he was the assistant offensive line coach in Washington under new Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

"Chris can play anywhere in the inside three," Morgan said of Chester. "He's got experience at all those positions (right guard, left guard, center). When I was with him in Washington, he snapped for us all the time. It's just good to get another guy in here to compete."

Once the line returns to full strength, it probably would make the most sense to have the versatile Chester fill the need at left guard. Mike Person is currently manning the position. Hawley would no doubt step back in as the starting center ahead of James Stone. The Falcons are likely to keep Asamoah's veteran presence at right guard even if he's not the ideal fit to get out and run in an outside zone-blocking scheme. Ryan Schraeder is set to be the right tackle opposite Matthews at left.

When asked about Asamoah at right guard, Morgan spoke in general terms.

"All these guys are working hard," Morgan said. "All these guys are competing. All these guys are doing everything we ask. They're learning the system. They're practicing hard."

Morgan downplayed being without the likes of Matthews and Hawley at this stage.

"These guys are working hard," Morgan reiterated. "The guys who are out here, it's just the next man up. And they've done a good job with that so far."

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Not holding my breath to see our entire O-Line healthy for a change.

I'm just hoping it will happen before Week 1.

Good thing you're not holding your breath, because hope != plan. If they generally stay healthy (meaning a few guys miss a few games here and there), I think that's all we can realistically hope for. The Matthews injury scares me the most.

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O-line needs time to gel, especially when using a new scheme. Having so many key parts of the line still tending to injuries is going to mean the first half of the season or so is very likely gonna be pretty ugly. These guy need to get healthy for sure, but they are missing valuable reps. They are gonna have to learn during the season to make up for all the hands on experience in the system they are missing now, and that means a lot of mistakes early on. This will have a negative effect on our entire offense.

Hopefully they've all got it figured out by week 7 or 8 & can play in this system as a unit.

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Interesting that Konz is "far" from returning from an ACL tear despite tearing it the same game Hawley tore both his ACL and MCL. Don't know if it's just the wording or Konz is significantly behind in his recovery compared to Hawley

Some people just heal faster than others.

Plus, I think Konz is 12-15 pounds heavier which might not seem like much but having that extra weight probably doesn't help when trying to heal tendons or ligaments that are taking most of that weight.

Also, do we know the severity of each of their injuries? Perhaps the tears Hawley suffered were not as severe & Konz may have had a complete tear.

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OL need to be healed up by August or there's no way they'll be in playing shape and ready to go Week 1.

Matthews' injury is a lot more worrisome than is being discussed on here. When the #6 pick has surgery after his first season, there's a risk that he'll never be the player he was drafted to be. The Falcons need both he and Hawley to be at 100% before midseason if they are going to have a successful season. Every week that your starting OL isn't out there is a week you're risking losing your QB to injury.

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A Lis Franc is an injury that can linger for a long, long time. It might never fully heal. The larger the person, the more weight is bearing on the injury, and the worse the prognosis.

I'm curious what the official explanation for Baker to be still rehabbing 10 months after a 6 month injury. It's not like they would just come out and say "because he's a wuss".

Edited by Oldskooler
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Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer

...

Center Joe Hawley remains on the mend from an ACL and MCL tear

@ R the Great, Dude as you can see, ACL/MCL requires merely MENDING this is 2015 not the 1990s. It is a quick recovery and Hawley has a good prognosis for recovery. Let's just cut a deal and say Stone and Hawley can both start one will be a guard

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A Lis Franc is an injury that can linger for a long, long time. It might never fully heal. The larger the person, the more weight is bearing on the injury, and the worse the prognosis.

I'm curious what the official explanation for Baker to be still rehabbing 10 months after a 6 month injury. It's not like they would just come out and say "because he's a wuss".

I think Bakers situation is a sum of the parts kind of thing. He is one broke Down person. Many injuries that over the years have compounded. I honestly think the Falcon know he is nothing more than a statistic right now and are just hoping to squeeze one last season from him. I don't see his broke *** being here next season.

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@ R the Great, Dude as you can see, ACL/MCL requires merely MENDING this is 2015 not the 1990s. It is a quick recovery and Hawley has a good prognosis for recovery. Let's just cut a deal and say Stone and Hawley can both start one will be a guard

I have had an ACL tear. That was just one tear in the knee and I know how hard it was to recover and want to play back at full strength. That was for high school basketball and I never played again after that. Your asking an UNDERSIZED, Over matched player in Joe Hawley to come back from an ACL and MCL tear literally with not enough time to recover.

I am asking you and all the other fans to be in concern of Joe Hawley's health as much as I am. I say that because this is his LAST year on his contract. He is a FA after this year. If he comes back and practices and lets say he plays 2 weeks before he injures his knee again because it was too soon for him to play, his NFL career is over.

Would that make you happy? We are not talking about Adrian Peterson here. Peterson is a freak of nature and we all know that. Joe Hawley is sadly just an undersized player who can't match up to the power of the NFL game. He may be able to pull better than most centers due to his size but that doesnt = a healthy center.

If I am Arthur Blank, do I really feel happy about spending 4 million dollars for a guy who might not even see the field this year? If Chester, Gunn and Stone can play Center, why should we keep Hawley for 4 million dollars?

Why should that not be considered? 4 million dollars in 1 year for a guy that has 3 to possibly 5 guys on this roster who can play his position. Stone sadly probably has more experience with Matt Ryan at C than Joe Hawley has had in 4 years. Stone is at practice every day snapping to Ryan. Stone is at OTA's. Falcons just signed Chester who was brought in as not only a potential starter but for depth for 3 inside positions. Gunn is a serviceable back up. Person and Jared Smith, Ume, possibly Konz all make a lot less money than Hawley but they are on the field today besides Konz.

I just don't see the value of 4 million dollars in 1 year for a player who hasn't been able to even practice. We have 5 guys who can compete at the Center spot but obviously Stone is a the favorite and those 5 guys combined probably don't even combine 4 million this year.

Like I said, I understand the love for Hawley. He grows out his beard, he has a nice smile, seems like a down to earth guy who you can get a long with. Seems like the type of guy you would like to see at the bar and have a beer with. I get he his charisma and why you guys are pulling for him. I understand all of that. Most of the time, a picture of him will show up on my FB feed and people will comment on fearing the beard and all of that. He has a marketable look to the average fan.

Outside of all that, he is a player who was busted for drug use, he has had multiple injuries, he has been beat out by McClure and Konz in different seasons. He was a joke and embarrassment of a FB when they tried that out. The Falcons rarely win with him starting on the field. Falcons had one of the worst offensive playoff performances vs the Giants with him on the starting line. We have to realize that the production and the beard are 2 SEVERELY different levels. People are hypnotized by his face but I am in pain every time I realize that this is the guy that people want to lead the team.

I don't think he has any leadership skills. I don't think he can pump up the offensive line to play better next to him. I think he is too quiet on the field and he tries to make up for it by playing dirty and cheap after the whistle. He is NO WHERE NEAR that nasty Harvey Dahl we saw in 2008. Hawley is more of just a flying knat that is more bugging you than dominating you.

In conclusion. 4 ******* million dollars for a player that has shown no signs of healing or getting even stronger in any way. He just felt like he could take the offseason off with Mike Johnson and eat pizza like its the college days. Hawley is a phony to me. Hawley doesn't deserve a dime in my view. I think he is a Smith and TD boy. I think he has been cuddled for the past 4 years. I really don't see a reason to keep him since his price tag is TOO High and that we have way too much competition at the spot already.

Final thought on this. Chester was signed for 2.8 Million for 1 year. A man who has had experience for almost 10 years and has started for every team he has been on. No one is going to convince me that Hawley is worth MORE as in 1.2 MILLION more than Chester is valued at with his lack of experience, lack of starting experience and most importantly lack of health.

Since I am in the mood to show what Hawley is really all about. Here is a picture he told a former line backer of the Falcons to take down from Twitter but I kept it so people can understand what Hawley is really all about.

28206252a201e8f34e0b1dcf5c619f87fafae6a5

I don't back up my comments with wishful thinking, I back it up with videos, pics and facts

Edited by R_The_Great
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I have had an ACL tear. That was just one tear in the knee and I know how hard it was to recover and want to play back at full strength. That was for high school basketball and I never played again after that. Your asking an UNDERSIZED, Over matched player in Joe Hawley to come back from an ACL and MCL tear literally with not enough time to recover.

I am asking you and all the other fans to be in concern of Joe Hawley's health as much as I am. I say that because this is his LAST year on his contract. He is a FA after this year. If he comes back and practices and lets say he plays 2 weeks before he injures his knee again because it was too soon for him to play, his NFL career is over.

Would that make you happy? We are not talking about Adrian Peterson here. Peterson is a freak of nature and we all know that. Joe Hawley is sadly just an undersized player who can't match up to the power of the NFL game. He may be able to pull better than most centers due to his size but that doesnt = a healthy center.

If I am Arthur Blank, do I really feel happy about spending 4 million dollars for a guy who might not even see the field this year? If Chester, Gunn and Stone can play Center, why should we keep Hawley for 4 million dollars? ke he s

Didn't read all that.Am I correct in assuming you were praising Joe Hawley and saying he should start?
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