theProf Posted June 19, 2015 Share Posted June 19, 2015 Still questions about offensive line after Atlanta Falcons' minicampVaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- The Atlanta Falcons concluded their three-day mandatory minicamp Thursday and there were plenty of positive signs to take out of it.However, the Falcons took a step back along the offensive line, where plenty of questions still remain. Projected starters Jake Matthews, Joe Hawley and Jon Asamoah never saw extensive time on the field, with Matthews and Hawley recovering from surgeries and Asamoah battling a right ankle injury.Although the Falcons signed veteran Chris Chester to start at one guard spot and Mike Person for depth on the interior, it's obvious more needs to be done to upgrade the line just in case injuries become a recurring theme again like last year. The starting line is projected to be Matthews at left tackle, Chester at left guard, Hawley at center, Asamoah at right guard and fast-rising Ryan Schraeder at right tackle. Sam Baker is no longer in the mix after being released.Coach Dan Quinn was asked if the team might target another veteran offensive lineman prior to training camp."I think we're always out there at all positions, not just the O-line," Quinn said. "But yeah, certainly as you go through the process, there's always ideas and thoughts to go about looking at not just the O-line, but all the way through. And if there's an opportunity for us to help make our team better, more competitive, more tough, Thomas [Dimitroff] and I are certainly going to look at that."One veteran on the market is two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis, who was released by the Philadelphia Eagles following a contract dispute. Mathis and agent Drew Rosenhaus don't seem to be in a rush to sign with a new team. Mathis, who turns 34 in November, no doubt wants to make at least $5 million per year, like he was with the Eagles. The Falcons currently have just over $16 million in cap space, according to NFLPA records.Quinn was asked if Mathis is a player the team might pursue."Not necessarily particularly a player I'm not going to get into with you, but we're always going to keep an eye out for guys who have the ability to help fit into what we're doing," Quinn said. "We're always going to keep an eye out for sure, yes; not certain players but players in general."Here are three players that helped their status during minicamp and three players that saw their stock fall:ON THE RISEJacob Tamme, tight end: The veteran, who last played with Peyton Manning in Denver, looked fluid in everything he did during camp. He catches the ball with ease and knows how to get open. He might be the best compliment to Julio Jones in the passing game. Tamme made things look easy. "I don't know about easy," he said. "I think it's been really good for me. It's been refreshing to see some new stuff, learn new concepts, get plugged in in different places."Vic Beasley, outside linebacker: The rookie first-round draft selection looked as good as advertised with his speed off the edge. He showed his athleticism, leaping in the air in an attempt to swat passes. And Beasley showed versatility in lining up on both sides and playing the Leo hybrid pass-rusher role and the strongside linebacker -- though Beasley will be the Leo this season. Quinn said the next step is getting Beasley to eliminate those plays where he might be a little hesitant. Regardless, he was impressive. "Felt pretty good," Beasley said of minicamp. "I felt the team is off to a great start. Just looking forward to training camp now."Ricardo Allen, free safety: Allen, drafted as a cornerback, created plenty of buzz with his outstanding play at his new position. He showed speed and instincts and had an impressive interception on Day 2 of camp. Right now, Allen has to be in the lead to be the starting free safety next to strong safety William Moore. That seems like quite a surprise, considering Allen was cut following training camp last year but then re-signed to the practice squad. You don't return four interceptions for touchdowns in college by mistake. "Ricardo has been working extremely hard and for a young guy with his ability, you like to see how far he is willing to take his gift," teammate O'Brien Schofield said.ON THE DECLINECharles Godfrey, free safety: The emergence of Allen might not have occurred had Godfrey shown some authority at the position. Instead, the veteran watched his younger competition surpass him and really didn't show much to earn the No. 1 spot back. Let's see if Godfrey makes more of an impact and plays with a sense of urgency during training camp.Tyler Polumbus, offensive tackle: Polumbus, a newcomer who last played for the Washington Redskins, got an opportunity to show he could contribute with Jake Matthews (foot surgery) limited and Lamar Holmes demoted from first-team left tackle to second-string right tackle. Instead, Polumbus really underwhelmed. Not much else to say.Lamar Holmes, offensive tackle: Speaking of Holmes, his demotion came well before he suffered a broken right foot on Day 2 of camp, an injury that is expected to force a surgical procedure sometime early next week. Holmes lost weight coming off last year's season-ending toe injury. But dropping a few pounds didn't exactly equate to better offensive line play. He's a long shot to make the roster once he gets healthy. Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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