The Falcons have major questions regarding the offensive line. The group is abysmal in pass sets, given the lack of development from Kaleb McGary as well as the inexperience of Matt Hennessy and Jalen Mayfield. The unit, as a whole, was among the worst in pass protection. However, the Falcons do have two of the five spots figured out.
The team recently handed Jake Matthews a lucrative contract extension, locking in one of the team’s unsung heroes for a few more years. He’s long been the stalwart in Atlanta, outside of Alex Mack. Matthews is consistently one of the more underrated left tackles in the league. Though his run blocking leaves something to be desired, the man is a brick wall when protecting the passer.
However, he might not even be the team’s best offensive lineman; that title rightfully belongs to Chris Lindstrom. You could argue that Matthews is the top-dog due to positional value, but I digress. Lindstrom is still one of the league’s best guards, and he rarely is recognized as such.
It is very challenging for offensive linemen to hear their names announced or see them in the papers; it truly is a thankless job. But Lindstrom is being recognized for his lack of recognition today. Doug Farrar of USA Today Sports created an offense of the most underrated players in the league, and the fictitious squad’s starting guard is none other than Chris Lindstrom. Here’s what Farrar had to say about the Boston College product:
The spiky and inconsistent nature of the Falcons’ 2021 offensive line can be summed up with these numbers: Last season, rookie left guard Jalen Mayfield led all NFL guards with 11 sacks allowed. Right guard Chris Lindstrom, however, was one of just three guards (Halapoulivaati Vaitai of the Lions and Justin Pugh of the Cardinals were the others) who didn’t give up a single sack among those who played at least 50% of their offenses’ snaps. The Falcons selected Lindstrom with the 14th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of Boston College, and 2021 was the year in which Lindstrom was able to put it all together — he gave up just eight quarterback hits and 23 quarterback hurries in 661 pass-blocking reps. He also proved to be a good, technically sound run-blocker.
Like what Rodger Saffold was for Arthur Smith in Tennessee, the Falcons have a pillar of a guard in Chris Lindstrom. Though the new regime inherited the draft pick from Thomas Dimitroff, I don’t think this is one they’re upset about. He’ll be a crucial piece of this team for a long time.
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