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Falcons Oc Kyle Shanahan Staying Patient With Offensive Line


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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan had a simple response when asked when he wanted to settle on five starting offensive linemen to run his outside zone blocking scheme.

"The first day of (offseason) OTAs, you would like it," Shanahan said with a laugh. "Rarely does it happen. We're still not there yet, because guys are coming back from injury and we're trying to be smart with them and ease them in. Hopefully we come out in Week 1, and it's our group. And hopefully, it's not the first week they've been playing together.

"My whole career, there's only probably been one year for me that the whole line stayed healthy, so you're going to have to play with a group of guys as it goes."

The starting group appears likely to be Jake Matthews at left tackle, Chris Chester at left guard, Joe Hawley at center, Jon Asamoah at right guard, and Ryan Schraeder at right tackle. Matthews (foot) and Hawley (ACL/MCL) are coming off major surgeries, and Schraeder suffered a right hamstring strain at the beginning of training camp. Asamoah was sidelined during the offseason with a severe ankle injury and missed the Wednesday and Thursday of this week with a stomach illness.

James Stone, Tyler Polumbus, Mike Person, and rookie Jake Rodgers have worked with the first unit. Stone had been at center while Hawley recovered, but now has seen time at right guard for Asamoah. Person, who had been playing left guard, worked at center Wednesday while Polumbus, a tackle, worked at left guard Thursday. Polumbus took some snaps off Wednesday and Person did the same Thursday as both appeared to be nicked up.

Shanahan wouldn't single out one group as better than any other combination.

"I don't want to get into specific players, but the quicker you can get your starters out there, the better," Shanahan said. "We have some obvious guys that have been hurt that are obvious starters. But then we've got some competition at a lot of those spots, too.

"We don't have anybody penciled in yet. We've got about 15 guys out there. We had a couple guys got hurt yesterday and a couple today. We'll keep rolling them all in, and we'll see how it ends up."

A few quick-hitters from the sixth practice of training camp:

Veteran defensive lineman Adrian Clayborn continued his impressive camp showing with some explosive burst and speed rushes.

Rookie cornerback Jalen Collins struggled in 1-on-1 drills, getting beat by Leonard Hankerson on a deep ball and then by Devin Hester on a quick stutter-and-go move. After each play, Collins got an earful from secondary coach Marquand Manuel.

Matt Ryan had an animated discussion with Hester at one point during practice. Apparently, the two weren't on the same page about a route. But the discussion was not a confrontation.

Cornerback Desmond Trufant got flagged for a defensive hold in 1-on-1 drills against Freddie Martino.

Tight end Levine Toilolo made an outstanding, diving catch, adding to his impressive camp showing.

The offense protected the ball better than it did Wednesday, but there was a fumble right at the end of practice. It appeared to be rookie Terron Ward on the carry.

First-round pick Vic Beasley, fellow rookie Justin Hardy, right guard Asamoah, and outside linebacker Brooks Reed all had stomach illnesses and missed practice. Cliff Matthews (ankle) also was sidelined.

The music playlist included Busta Rhymes ("Pass The Courvoisier"), Sly and the Family Stone ("Thank You"), and Waka Flocka, Flame ("Hard In The Paint").

http://espn.go.com/blog/atlanta-falcons/post/_/id/14716/falcons-oc-kyle-shanahan-staying-patient-with-offensive-line

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Definitely the accilles heal of this team is the O-line.

The run game has me worried as well considering the lack of experience and also having a weak line up front. Hopefully everything comes together before we play the Eagles.

Has anyone heard anything about Peter Konz's performance in camp?

I looked in a couple threads and even googled him and haven't seen anything. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

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Ward needs to keep his hands on the ball. Also not concerned with Collins, he missed the minicamps and was always a project, i'm just glad he's serious about getting better.

As for the O-Line... we'll see. That's my mindframe until about the second or third preseason game, then I'll start worrying if we're still injured and in turmoil.

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Definitely the accilles heal of this team is the O-line.

The run game has me worried as well considering the lack of experience and also having a weak line up front. Hopefully everything comes together before we play the Eagles.

Has anyone heard anything about Peter Konz's performance in camp?

I looked in a couple threads and even googled him and haven't seen anything. Don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Asked Jeanna Thomas that question via Twitter, she said that he's healthy and fighting for a back up spot, that he'd probably win a spot because of his experience at both center and guard.

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Asked Jeanna Thomas that question via Twitter, she said that he's healthy and fighting for a back up spot, that he'd probably win a spot because of his experience at both center and guard.

thanks , I forgot he was even on the team. I had also thought before camp he might show a little potential in the ZBS.

Looks like dudes a dud. Horrible pick imo.

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I wil be extremely disappointed if we do not make an other moves to sure up this line. Even if we had 5 stand out starters, the number of OL injuries the past couple years plus so far this offseason should make it very obvious that you need depth up front. When you consider the fact that our 2 best players are our QB & WR it makes no sense for us not to invest more heavily in our OL. Even if I assume that Matthews - Chester/Person - Hawley - Asamoah - Schraeder are healthy and ready to roll week one, I'm still very worried about anyone getting injured. C is the only spot up front with any real depth.

I personally will be disappointed if we don't make a serious run at Evan Mathis. In addition to being an upgrade to the starting unit, he would move Chester to backup RG providing quality depth at both G positions. That being said, the real weak point imo is still at T. If Matthews or Schraeder miss any extended time we are f'd. We don't have a competent backup at RT, let along a legit swing T. If Polumbus plays extended snaps, every play will be a gamble with Ryan's life. I expect (hope) that we will be looking to bring people in after the major rounds of cuts begin. The player doesn't have to be a marquee guy, just someone who can be relied on as a 3rd T. (I'm keeping an eye on Bengals camp since both starting T are rumored to be potential cap casualties. Either would be a huge boon to the T group, whether they beat Schraeder or not.

We have to protect our $100M QB and put him in the best position to win us games. Better talent along the OL will accomplish both.

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I don't see us signing Mathis, he wants a big contract and Dimitroff is too frugal even when it makes so much sense to sign him. Same with Jake Long - he apparently had a good workout but even after visits with multiple teams he is still a free agent so must be his number is too high.

Signing Soliai and Tyson Jackson to those big contracts last season probably has Dimitroff gun shy now. I will be shocked if we signed Mathis. I haven't seen any headlines about Falcons showing interest in him, just speculation that he would be a good fit here based on his zone blocking experience and our patchwork O-line

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I wil be extremely disappointed if we do not make an other moves to sure up this line. Even if we had 5 stand out starters, the number of OL injuries the past couple years plus so far this offseason should make it very obvious that you need depth up front. When you consider the fact that our 2 best players are our QB & WR it makes no sense for us not to invest more heavily in our OL. Even if I assume that Matthews - Chester/Person - Hawley - Asamoah - Schraeder are healthy and ready to roll week one, I'm still very worried about anyone getting injured. C is the only spot up front with any real depth.

I personally will be disappointed if we don't make a serious run at Evan Mathis. In addition to being an upgrade to the starting unit, he would move Chester to backup RG providing quality depth at both G positions. That being said, the real weak point imo is still at T. If Matthews or Schraeder miss any extended time we are f'd. We don't have a competent backup at RT, let along a legit swing T. If Polumbus plays extended snaps, every play will be a gamble with Ryan's life. I expect (hope) that we will be looking to bring people in after the major rounds of cuts begin. The player doesn't have to be a marquee guy, just someone who can be relied on as a 3rd T. (I'm keeping an eye on Bengals camp since both starting T are rumored to be potential cap casualties. Either would be a huge boon to the T group, whether they beat Schraeder or not.

We have to protect our $100M QB and put him in the best position to win us games. Better talent along the OL will accomplish both.

Stone, Konz, loser of Chester/Person battle give them experienced depth up the middle.

Think they are playing a waiting game on OT- Long is probably asking too much right now, they may also like Holmes a lot more than this board does and anticipate him being ready by , say the second month of the season.

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Stone, Konz, loser of Chester/Person battle give them experienced depth up the middle.

Think they are playing a waiting game on OT- Long is probably asking too much right now, they may also like Holmes a lot more than this board does and anticipate him being ready by , say the second month of the season.

You have Konz listed as though he is someone we should ever want on the field. I'm not even sure he's at training camp. And my point is that ideally, both Chester and Person would be backups. And while Person is a vet, it is definitely a stretch to call him experienced. I think they are waiting at both positions. They have to let these guys get reps now to see what they have. Person may very well look like a starter come game time. My point is that even if he does, I'll be mad if we go into the season without any further additions on that OL, regardless of how well they play this season. TD should have learned his lesson about the importance of quality depth along the OL. We have decent interior depth, I'm just unimpressed with the candidates to start at LG. Tackle is a major hole. I don't car how much they like Holmes, that doesn't make him a productive or reliable player. TD is 2 years removed from seeing a team he thought was a SB contender fall to a bottom dweller largely due to a rash of OL injuries after 5 years of uncharacteristic health amongst the unit. If he doesn't make any more moves he'll be repeating his mistakes. Next man up doesn't tend to work if you haven't acquired quality depth, something we have not done along the OL.
Edited by MoundBred
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You have Konz listed as though he is someone we should ever want on the field. I'm not even sure he's at training camp. And my point is that ideally, both Chester and Person would be backups. And while Person is a vet, it is definitely a stretch to call him experienced. I think they are waiting at both positions. They have to let these guys get reps now to see what they have. Person may very well look like a starter come game time. My point is that even if he does, I'll be mad if we go into the season without any further additions on that OL, regardless of how well they play this season. TD should have learned his lesson about the importance of quality depth along the OL. We have decent interior depth, I'm just unimpressed with the candidates to start at LG. Tackle is a major hole. I don't car how much they like Holmes, that doesn't make him a productive or reliable player. TD is 2 years removed from seeing a team he thought was a SB contender fall to a bottom dweller largely due to a rash of OL injuries after 5 years of uncharacteristic health amongst the unit. If he doesn't make any more moves he'll be repeating his mistakes. Next man up doesn't tend to work if you haven't acquired quality depth, something we have not done along the OL.

Konz was a starting guard when the Falcons won a playoff game.

And, as I said, they may like Holmes a lot more than many here do.

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thanks , I forgot he was even on the team. I had also thought before camp he might show a little potential in the ZBS.

Looks like dudes a dud. Horrible pick imo.

He was a great pick, but not a good pro to date.

He was the consensus best OC in that draft, and we got him later than where he was expected to be drafted.

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Konz was a starting guard when the Falcons won a playoff game.

And, as I said, they may like Holmes a lot more than many here do.

How is your first comment relevant? None of the other 4 starters on that line are even in the league anymore, but by your logic they should start for us this season? And as I said, how much they like him has nothing to do with whether or not they should rely on him. Expecting him to be a healthy and productive member of this OL is dumber than relying on Baker. Holmes has been injury prone and whelming at his best. And his competition at swing T is ultimately a collection of undrafted rookies.
Edited by MoundBred
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How is your first comment relevant? None of the other 4 starters on that line are even in the league anymore, but by your logic they should start for us this season? And as I said, how much they like him has nothing to do with whether or not they should rely on him. Expecting him to be a healthy and productive member of this OL is dumber than relying on Baker. Holmes has been injury prone and whelming at his best. And his competition at swing T is ultimately a collection of undrafted rookies.

Other 4 were veterans, and it shows that he can be effective. Can be at least a solid back up for the interior Oline.

Again YOU don't like Holmes, FO might. We'll see. Think if they wanted to cut Holmes, they'd have done it by now. The fact he's on PUP rather than injured/waived means they still want him here.

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Other 4 were veterans, and it shows that he can be effective. Can be at least a solid back up for the interior Oline.

Again YOU don't like Holmes, FO might. We'll see. Think if they wanted to cut Holmes, they'd have done it by now. The fact he's on PUP rather than injured/waived means they still want him here.

That doesn't show that he can be effective. The fact that the team won says nothing about how he performed during the game. They may very well have won in spite of him. Go back and watch the Giants game from last season.

I don't dislike Holmes. I only brought him up because you named him as a reliable backup when he might not even be healthy week 1. Like all our draft picks, and all Falcon players in general, I want him to be great and help the franchise win multiple SBs. That doesn't mean that I have to be a complete homer and act like he hasn't had multiple lengthy injuries early in his career. And I'm not saying he will get injured again, but large men with foot and ankle problems tend to have their careers ended by them. He has looked decent at times, but what he has been is not enough for me to want to hand him a spot on this roster. He doesn't need to be cut; he is our best reserve T. He has no competition for the 3rd T spot and he isn't even competing right now. That is my point. Schraeder pulls his hamstring and we're left with Polumbus and a bunch of extremely green rookies. Going into the season without bringing in help to sure up the line would be a mistake.

Edited by MoundBred
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TD can't sign a proven commodity like Evan Mathis..... But can re-sign a proven " BUST " like SCAM BAKER ? WTF ?

Evan Mathis will always have several memories of excellent play. A Proven Commodity? Not hardly. Chiip Kelly has made some odd personel moves but he's not stupid and he knows Olineman. Don't number John Kincade amongst the several close Eagle watchers that think he's done. That settles it. He's done.

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I think with the offensive line they are testing depth on how versatile they can be. Guys that can play multiple positions will win out than a guy that is locked in at one spot.

Sounds like this may be a reshirt year for Jalen Collins with how he has struggled. We should be fine with Alford and hoping Southward carves out a niche for himself and doesn't before a draft bust.

Edited by autigerfan
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