Jump to content

Still Questions About Offensive Line After Atlanta Falcons' Minicamp


theProf
 Share

Recommended Posts

Still questions about offensive line after Atlanta Falcons' minicamp
Vaughn 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 RISE

Jacob 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 DECLINE

Charles 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.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For some unknown reason It has been TD's history to go find no name guys that we have to google to find out who they are, been on 4-5 teams, WHEN is TD going to make significant moves and stop feeding his QB to the wolves? I was hoping DQ and Shanny would change this-notice DQ said "Thomas and I" not Pioli? TD seems to still be putting things together. I believe this team can go to the Playoffs IF TD would make a few more of the right moves and we don't get overcome by injuries. Come on man stop trying to save a few $$$$ here and there and go make this team the best team possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Not too worried about our Guards right now, we need some more decent OT's on the roster.

Yep, with the Falcons losing Holmes and Baker and Polumbus not playing well, Atlanta's OT depth is very thin. Falcons might have to fast-track 7th-round draft pick Jake Rodgers and get him up to NFL playing speed in a hurry..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For some unknown reason It has been TD's history to go find no name guys that we have to google to find out who they are, been on 4-5 teams, WHEN is TD going to make significant moves and stop feeding his QB to the wolves? I was hoping DQ and Shanny would change this-notice DQ said "Thomas and I" not Pioli? TD seems to still be putting things together. I believe this team can go to the Playoffs IF TD would make a few more of the right moves and we don't get overcome by injuries. Come on man stop trying to save a few $$$$ here and there and go make this team the best team possible.

Then who would you get genius

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Better depth and competition than last year at OL. We started Holmes last year. Don't forget that.

Maybe at OG but OT does not look better

Right now they are down to starting Polumbus

2014 tackles at start of pre-season

Matthews Baker(IR)

Holmes Carimi Schraeder

2015 NOW somewhat earlier ----tackles

Matthews(semi-hurt) Holmes(Hurt) Polumbus Huffer

Schraeder Rodgers

I'm not seeing much more competition

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"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. "

OHNo!! The dreaded Process!!!

If i so much see his cap tip a half of an inch I will spare us all by dispatching him with a trident.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Weird thought

go back and check it

2007 the OL was riddled with injuries ---Petrino gone

2014 the OL was riddled with injuries ---Smith gone

2015

Baker gone due to injuries

Holmes is hurt

Azamoah is hurt

Matthews is still semi-hurt

don't know how Konz is doing

yea I know it's still early

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Weird thought

go back and check it

2007 the OL was riddled with injuries ---Petrino gone

2014 the OL was riddled with injuries ---Smith gone

2015

Baker gone due to injuries

Holmes is hurt

Azamoah is hurt

Matthews is still semi-hurt

don't know how Konz is doing

yea I know it's still early

Thankfully it is still early. Time for players to heal completely and time to possibly add some more veteran help.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For the Falcons offensive line, health truly is key

By Dave Choate

The Falcons suffered their first major injury of the year during Tuesday's minicamp, losing Lamar Holmes for the foreseeable future with a broken foot. While there were a range of reactions to his injury, the truth is that losing Holmes underlined one of the Falcons' potential Achilles heels in very dark ink.

The Falcons' offensive line shouldn't be an active liability, at least on paper. Jake Matthews will have the chance to get healthy and play in a scheme that emphasizes his athleticism, Chris Chester is a scheme-versed veteran, Joe Hawley is athletic enough to play the pivot and Jon Asamoah (to a greater extent) and Ryan Schraeder (to a lesser extent) have enough talent to lock down the right side. If everything breaks right, the Falcons have a starting unit they can go to battle with, and one that should help them achieve the offensive balance they've craved since 2012.

The if is the important, terrifying part. I like to avoid talking about injuries in earnest until they strike, but the Lamar Holmes broken foot has put the fear into me. No matter what you think of Holmes' ability, he seemed likely to hang on as the third or fourth tackle for this football team, and depth is a critical thing for an offensive line that lost multiple starters a year ago. If Holmes it out into the regular season, the team has to dip into free agency or entrust a role to a young player that might not be ready, and they've had distinctly mixed success doing so over the last couple of years.

Given that, health will be critical for the line, and health is something we unfortunately can't guarantee. The Falcons have done a good job of upgrading the talent around Matt Ryan to ensure he's got someone to throw to and run the ball even if he won't have a ton of time in the pocket, but the state of the line still concerns me. Every team is dependent on this unit or that unit playing well and remaining in perfect health, but the offensive line promises to be so critical for the Falcons in 2015 that I can't help but fret in June.

We'll just have to hope the Falcons are due for some luck on the injury front. The success of the season may hinge on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...