Falcons rotating offensive linemen early and often

dalman

The Falcons are rotating offensive linemen early and often during the first padded practices of training camp. Atlanta notoriously had one of the worst offensive lines in football last season, and the front office did little to improve that area, which is still the team’s single biggest positional need.

The Falcons boast one of the worst lines in football. After surrendering 40 sacks last year, Atlanta is choosing to run it back with essentially the same squad. They did add to the position through the draft and free agency, but the front office didn’t invest heavily. Justin Shaffer was selected in the sixth round and is set to compete at left guard. While Germain Ifedi and Elijah Wilkinson were brought in to compete with at right tackle and left guard, respectively. And Matt Hennessy‘s competition will be drawn from last year’s draft class in Drew Dalman.

So there is competition, but instead of iron sharpening iron, it’s more like lead sharpening lead. The Falcons are basically trotting out the same starting five, three of whom were some of the worst pass protectors in the league. Mayfield is the very worst in pass sets, Hennessy is the sixth-worst, and McGary rounds out the group as the ninth-worst lineman in pass protection. That’s three starters in the bottom ten. That’s a problem.

Three new starters could be featured along the offensive front, and it’s already looking like the left guard position will be Wilkinson’s. Below are the starting five of each day of training camp courtesy of the Falcoholic’s Kevin Knight, who is providing incredibly detailed coverage of the team’s practices. Give him a follow on Twitter for updates!

 

As you might’ve noticed, the most significant change comes at left guard and center. A healthy rotation of Hennessy and Dalman is what Falcons fans can expect for much of the offseason until one separates from the other. I’d expect Dalman, who was drafted by the new regime, to get the nod if it’s close because the front office and coaching staff have no ties to Hennessy. The other interesting tidbit is Mayfield falling out of the starting rotation. And it’s because of plays like this that I can only assume as to why.

I honestly feel for the former third-round pick. Fans can be brutal and aren’t going to take this well. It seems Terry Fontenot and his staff may have swung and missed on the Michigan product because that kind of rep against a fringe roster player in Derrick Taneglo is pitiful. The offensive line is sure to be another weak point of the team in 2023.

 

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