Falcons: Left Guard is the most concerning position battle on the roster

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The rosters are essentially set, and the Falcons starters on offense are mostly filled — outside of the competition at left guard and center. Matt Hennessy and fourth-round pick Drew Dalman will battle it out at center, while Josh Andrews, Jalen Mayfield, Matt Gono, and Dalman will compete at left guard. Arthur Smith remains adamant about winning in the trenches, “Obviously, we’re going to go as the line goes.” The driver of success in Tennessee and failure in Atlanta the past couple of seasons was offensive line play, and it will continue to decide what kind of success these teams have.

After reports emerged of Matt Hennessy being the front runner for the starting center position, something we all expected, there is only one position along the offensive line where there isn’t a clear starting option — left guard.

It was recently reported that Matt Gono had undergone an undisclosed surgery, but thankfully, it appears not to be a season-ending one. Still, whether he can be healthy enough to start during Week 1 is undetermined, given the mystery surrounding the surgery. Josh Andrews had seen the majority of snaps at left guard in minicamp and OTAs, but I wouldn’t put any weight into anything this far out of season. Arthur Smith said the staff is confident in the development plan set forth for Jalen Mayfield, but only time will tell if he can be acclimated quickly enough for a Week 1 start.

Questions surround every potential starter at left guard — Dalman’s natural position is center, Gono could still be recovering from surgery, Mayfield’s development could take longer than one offseason, and Andrews is an extremely uninspiring option. I feel the position will be a revolving door this year, but eventually, someone will separate themselves from the group.

Ideally, you’d like that person to be Mayfield, given the draft capital spent on the former Michigan Wolverine, but it’s possible that everyone gets an opportunity, and offensive line coach Dwayne Ledford knows that. “A lot of guys will be rolling around in a lot of different positions,” Ledford said. “We’ll be trying a lot of different pieces at different times and throughout our evaluations, this offseason going through camp, then it will be determined who those five will be.”

There’s a slight possibility that Chris Lindstrom makes the switch to left guard. He made it clear he is open to the idea, and the coaching staff has stated they will play the five best linemen. If one of the aforementioned candidates — Dalman, Andrews, Mayfield, and Gono — shows more potential at right guard than left guard for some reason, it could become a reality, though I highly doubt it. The battle at left guard will be one worth monitoring all training camp.

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