Thomas Dimitroff’s tenure wasn’t all bad; in fact, there were extremely bright moments, like the free agent signings of Tony Gonzalez, Alex Mack, Michael Turner, etc. And draft picks like Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Jake Matthews, etc. Still, his time was marred by too many inconsistencies, multiple first-round misses, and an inability to fortify the offense line at the end. However, in his final gifts to the Atlanta Falcons, Dimitroff may have given the new regime two premier All-Pro players in A.J. Terrell and Chris Lindstrom.
Now, obviously, I said ‘may’ because only one of Terrell and Lindstrom has earned All-Pro honors. Terrell had a spectacular season last year, one that probably should’ve been rewarded with First-Team instead of Second-Team All-Pro honors, but I digress. The Clemson product allowed the fourth-fewest yards in coverage and posted league-best marks in several metrics, including completion percentage allowed (41.1%) and yards allowed per target (4.1). Even if he has regressed in 2022, he’s still an excellent cover man. Moreover, some of Terrell’s lapses this season can be attributed to the defense’s overall lack of talent.
Any organization would love to have inherited a cornerback like Terrell, one of the premier positions in football today. And Dimitroff might have given Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith another All-Pro by season’s end. Chris Lindstrom is playing the best ball of his career right now, and Atlanta’s rushing attack hasn’t looked this potent in a long time; it’s no coincidence.
I wrote about Lindstrom performing at an All-Pro level a month ago, and all he’s done is remain consistent. He’s quickly become the team’s best offensive lineman. It’s not shocking the Falcons picked up Lindstrom’s fifth-year option earlier this offseason, which is set to pay him $13.2 million in 2023, a bargain for a player of his caliber. After extending Grady Jarrett and Jake Matthews this past offseason, you have to think Lindstrom is next, and the former first-rounder sees himself in Atlanta for a long time.
He’s integral to what Arthur Smith wants to do on offense. According to the team’s site, the Falcons have totaled 806 rushing yards and seven touchdowns — more than half of all the team’s yards — running to the right side of the line of scrimmage, and he’s Pro Football Focus‘ highest-rated guard. He’s bound for an All-Pro selection this season, even gaining traction in the NFL’s national spotlight. Brandon Thorn is praised for his expertise in the trenches, and he’s highlighted Lindstrom regularly in clips.
A high-level hook/reach, cut-off & cut from Lindstrom, who is a very good zone run-blocker. pic.twitter.com/hMsjVSpcVc
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 29, 2022
The Falcons may be moving in a different direction under Terry Fontenot and Arthur Smith, but the new regime inherited some impressive pieces like Lindstrom and Terrell.
Photographer: Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire