The Falcons boasted one of the best offensive lines in football last year, and it returns four of five starters. Continuity is an underappreciated facet of successful units, and Atlanta has it.
Jake Matthews remains the iron man of the NFL. He’s started every game since missing just one during his rookie year, consistently underrated by the national media. Chris Lindstrom is in the conversation for the best guard in football, and Kaleb McGary forms a menacing run-blocking duo on the right side.
Drew Dalman did an admirable job in his first full year as a starter, but the left guard position was a revolving door in 2022. A handful of players made starts at the position throughout the year, but Matthew Bergeron is here to fill that hole.
The second-round draft pick out of Syracuse is a college tackle who will kick inside to guard and hopefully have more success than Jalen Mayfield, who attempted the same position change in 2021. I feel pretty safe in assuming this experiment will go much differently for the Falcons, and this quote from Arthur Smith is why.
“We like the intent that he plays with,” Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “We like guys who we have to pull them back. We may have to clean up some technique, but (Bergeron) is trying to put somebody into the sideline every play. I’ll deal with that. The guys you have to push to go harder, that’s a problem for (general manager) Terry (Fontenot) and I.”
The intangibles of Falcons draft picks continues to be put on display. Bijan Robinson has been heralded for the kind of person he is, and Bergeron’s character is exactly what you want in an offensive lineman — a mean, smelly ogre who wants to run through someone’s face.
“He plays with violence, plays with physicality, plays with the temperament that we want, and he’s got power in his lower body,” Falcons director of player personnel Kyle Smith said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “There’s going to be some growing and things he’s going to have to work out, but when you combine all his skill sets and then you get the makeup and hear how they describe this kid, his smarts, his intelligence, that’s when you feel really good about it.”
“I think I was born with it,” he said, via Josh Kendall of The Athletic. “When I was a kid, I was pushing kids in the schoolyard. It was just natural. I don’t know where I got it from. When I get on the field, I just flip a switch and I become mean and mad.”
If Bergeron pans out, the Falcons will be one of the most feared offensive lines in football; he will also form one of the best guard duos in football, rivaling Wyatt Teller and Joel Bitonio.
Photographer: John Byrum/Icon Sportswire
You must log in to post a comment.