Atlanta Falcons: The Offensive Line Must Gel Versus Skins

Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons, Chris Lindstrom (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The Atlanta Falcons will take on the Washington Redskins in the all important dress rehearsal game. All eyes will be on the play of Atlanta’s offensive line.

Most of the Atlanta Falcons starters are expected to play the entire first half, during the team’s fourth preseason game against the Redskins. Coach Dann Quinn may even allow his key guys to play into the third quarter, to get used to revving back up after making halftime adjustments.

There are several areas that the Atlanta Falcons need to shore up in this week’s game, before the regular season begins. Chief among them is the offensive line.

Last week was troubling to say the least. The Atlanta Falcons offensive line struggled to protect Matt Ryan against the New York Jets. Ryan was sacked three times and hit numerous other times.

Left tackle Jake Matthews and center Alex Mack are veteran Pro Bowl players who have solidified their spots. They will perform well, so the team has no worries at those two spots. After that things get interesting.

The Development of Right Guard Chris Lindstrom

Rookie first round draft pick Chris Lindstrom also has solidified his spot as a starter. Yet there are still questions as to how he will be able to handle the talented behemoths, that man the defensive tackle spots in the NFL.

So far Lindstrom has been a mixed bag. He has held up decently at times but also has been beaten off the snap by tackles. He has allowed three total pressures, including one sack and an additional hit on the quarterback.

So far Lindstrom has been graded 56.8 out of a possible 99.9 overall by Pro Football Focus. His grade as a pass blocker is 48.5. He was graded an impressive 80.2 against Denver, but a horrendous 7.0 against the Miami Dolphins, showing his ups and downs. As a run blocker, Lindstrom has graded 58.5.

If I were coach Dan Quinn I would have trained Lindstrom to start at left guard, instead of right guard. That way he could be protected by the veterans Alex Mack and Jake Matthews. Chris Lindstrom projects to be a very good lineman in the NFL, but if early indications hold true, he will have his ups and downs like most rookie lineman.