Atlanta Falcons: Offensive Line Doesn’t Appear Yet Fixed

Atlanta Falcons, Ty Sambrailo (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons, Ty Sambrailo (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons recently held a scrimmage game at their practice facility in Flowery Branch, Georgia. A major thing that the scrimmage revealed, is the fact that the offensive line still has major improvements to make.

The Atlanta Falcons first team defense, dominated the offense in a recent scrimmage game. The red team that they played on, won the scrimmage 31-10. They intercepted quarterback Matt Ryan on the first two drives, of the game held during Falcons practice.

Free safety Ricardo Allen was mobbed by his teammates, after the first interception. Allen just recently returned to the field after being sidelined with an Achilles injury.

Cornerback Desmond Trufant snatched the interception on the second drive of the scrimmage. That was an encouraging sign for a cornerback who covers well, but has struggled with catching the ball when given the opportunity to pick off a pass.

The biggest factor in the struggles by the first team offense was pressure. The pressure was particularly intense from the interior along with off of the right edge.

During the scrimmage Matt Ryan had his very first pass intercepted. The primary cause for the turnover, was Jack Crawford beating left guard Jamon Brown.

Matt Ryan faced pressure all afternoon from players such as Grady Jarrett, Takk McKinley and Allen Bailey. While that was an encouraging sign for the defense, it is concerning for the first team offensive line.

Jake Matthews held his own at left tackle as he typically does. Alex Mack was solid at center as well. Rookie right guard Chris Lindstrom was beaten quickly by Grady Jarrett once, but there is no shame in that. Besides that play, he played well.

Offseason acquisition Jamon Brown struggled during the practice game. Not only was he beaten on the aforementioned first interception, but he also allowed pressure to Allen Bailey and Grady Jarrett inside.

Right tackle Ty Sambrailo also had his struggles. He was badly whipped by Takk McKinley for a sack. He also was pushed into the backfield by Allen Bailey on one play. Sambrailo even allowed one hurry by Vic Beasley, the only noise that Beasley made during the morning practice session.

Veteran free agent signee James Carpenter split first team reps with Jamon Brown at left guard, though he did not start. The Atlanta Falcons moved the ball both better on the ground and through the air with, Carpenter in the game.

The Falcons seem to prefer the younger, larger Brown as the starter at left guard. However Carpenter is a former first round pick, who has played well in the past. Brown on the other hand, committed eight penalties in eight starts this past season.

Kaleb Mcgary had a very nice showing as the second team right tackle. He often moved second team defenders to open up holes in the run game.

Kaleb Mcgary also did a great job in pass protection and did not allow a sack in the scrimmage. On one play rookie defensive lineman John Cominski attempted a spin move on Mcgary. Kaleb calmly gathered himself during the spin, stopped Cominsky’s momentum with a blow to the chest and re-engaged his block immediately.

Kaleb Mcgary is clearly a more gifted player than Ty Sambrailo. Sure as a rookie he will make some mistakes, but the Atlanta Falcons should go ahead and throw him into the fire by making him the starting right tackle.

James Carpenter should also start instead of Jamon Brown. However starting two rookies on the right side of the offensive line, is a dangerous proposition.

Teams would flip their best interior and edge rushers to Atlanta’s right side of the field. The Falcons would also see a steady diet of overload blitzes on the right side, until the young rookies prove the can handle it.

This creates an interesting dilemma. Obviously Jake Matthews will continue to play left tackle and protect Matt Ryan’s blind side. Alex Mack is also entrenched at center.

The team should start Kaleb Mcgary at right tackle. To avoid starting both rookies on the same side, the team should start the veteran James Carpenter at right guard next to Mcgary.

The Atlanta Falcons should move rookie Chris Lindstrom to left guard. That way he will be protected, with Jake Matthews and Alex Mack flanking him on the left and right.

The Ideal Atlanta Falcons Offensive Line

Left Tackle: Jake Matthews

Left Guard: Chris Lindstrom

Center: Alex Mack

Right Guard: James Carpenter

Right Tackle: Kaleb Mcgary

The above alignment best sets the Atlanta Falcons offensive line up for success. That would leave Jamon Brown as the primary backup at either guard spot and Ty Sambrailo as the primary backup at both offensive tackle positions.

It has just been announced by ESPN, that Kaleb Mcgary has undergone a mild heart procedure that will keep him on the sidelines for up to eight weeks, putting this lineup on hold for now. We wish Kaleb a successful and speedy recovery. D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC wrote this article on the news.

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The heart condition that Kaleb Mcgary has is concerning to say the least, but he’s undergone the procedure twice and been fine. To prepare for his return the Atlanta Falcons should still move Chris Lindstrom to left guard. Mcgary’s life and health are the most important things, much more important than football.

However Mcgary is also key to fixing the offensive line. Fixing the offensive line, is the key to the Atlanta Falcons offense returning to its 2016 form. The offense returning to its 2016 form, is key to the Falcons making a return to the Super Bowl and coming away with a win this time.