The Misfortune of Chris Lindstrom
Adding injury to insult of the Atlanta Falcons offensive line play, was the fact that right guard Chris Lindstrom broke his foot. He will now miss the next eight games, after going on injured reserve with the eligibility to return.
Lindstrom did protect the quarterback well before exiting the due to injury. He was only Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman to not allow a single pressure in the passing game, earning a pass protection grade of 77.5.
Yet like his compadres, he did not far well as a run blocker. He was given a PFF run-blocking grade of just 60.9, as the Atlanta Falcons ran for just 73 yards on 17 attempts.
Replacing Chris Lindstrom
Lindstrom was replaced by Wes Schweitzer who did a great job in relief. He only allowed one pressure and earned a team-high pass-blocking grade of 80.1. Nonetheless, he struggled in the ground game just like his teammates and was graded 56.9 in that category.
Despite the Wes pass blocking well, the Atlanta Falcons will start Jamon Brown at right guard and rightfully so. Despite collecting the highest salary guarantee of the team’s offensive lineman spending spree at 12.75 million, he was shockingly inactive for the team’s opener.
Brown is a behemoth at 6’4 340 pounds and should provide some push in short-yardage and inside running situations. Yet I have never been a fan of his signing, as evidenced by this article.
Jamon is coming off of an extremely poor 2018, where he was graded 54.0 as a pass blocker and 54.9 as a run blocker. On top of that, he compiled eight penalties in eight starts.
The fear is that he will be too slow to stop speed rushers or get to the second level as a run blocker. For the Atlanta Falcons sake, hopefully, he proves me wrong.
The injury to Chris Lindstrom means that the reconstructed Atlanta Falcons offensive line, will not play together until November 17 against the Carolina Panthers at the earliest. NFL rules stipulate that a player who goes on IR must miss at least 8 weeks. The bye week is not counted, as to not give teams with well-placed bye weeks an advantage.
Not to be negative, but who knows what will happen with the team’s other linemen in the trenches during those nine weeks. Unfortunately, we may not see the projected front five of Matthews, Carpenter, Mack, Lindstrom, and McGary until next season.
The fact that Alex Mack is no spring chicken, means that we may never see the rendition of the line, that was envisioned for the team this season. Believe it or not, the Atlanta Falcons can still be a very good football team regardless.
Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the passing game have always been able to move the ball at an effective level despite adversity. This is proven by Matt Ryan passing for nearly 5000 yards and 35 touchdowns last season while being the NFL’s second-most hit and eighth-most sacked quarterback.
Where deficiencies in the line can show up most, are in the running game and red zone. Having more run/pass balance and capitalizing on scoring opportunities, will play a big part in how far the 2019 Atlanta Falcons are able to soar.
In order for the Dirty Birds to take advantage of a Super Bowl window that is still open, the front five must find a way to play well and get the job done. That job starts Sunday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.
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