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2014 Falcons Camp Preview: OL

Posted Jul 11, 2014

AtlantaFalcons.com takes a closer look at the different players at positions across the Falcons roster as the countdown to 2014 Falcons training camp continues

The Atlanta Falcons took great strides in the offseason to strengthen the play of their offensive line, which allowed 44 QB sacks in 2013. The team signed offensive line coach Mike Tice and assistant OL coach Wade Harman to get the very best out of the guys up-front, ensuring not only player intensity and toughness, but also excellent execution, during each and every play in the coming year.

 

RETURNING PLAYERS

Sam Baker:

Despite being slowed by a knee injury in 2013, Baker has worked tirelessly in the offseason to return to the field, including adding muscle to his 6-5, 301-pound frame. All indications are that he is ready to take over the LT position.

Justin Blalock:

Blalock is a solid veteran, the longest-tenured OL on the roster. He is as steady and dependable as a left guard can be, starting every game he’s suited up for in seven seasons with the Falcons.

Harland Gunn:

Gunn proved to be a steady backup and saw quite a bit of time in 2013. Entering his third year with the team, he’ll compete for a roster spot at guard.

Joe Hawley:

Hawley is likely the favorite to start at center, entering his fifth season with the team. He has built a strong relationship with Matt Ryan, on and off the field, and personifies the toughness and tenacity that Mike Tice and Wade Harman love.

Lamar Holmes:

Lamar was thrust into the spotlight, when Mike Johnson went down in training camp last season, lost for the year. He went through growing pains, playing right tackle at the start of the season, but when moved to left tackle, replacing Baker, he showed drastic improvements. With Baker healthy, and Matthews at right tackle, Holmes will look to make the most of whatever opportunities come his way in 2014.

Mike Johnson:

Johnson suffered a terrible leg injury in training camp last year, after being considered a potential bright spot at right tackle. He’s been committed to getting fully healthy and has been cross training at center, making him a viable utility player on the line.

Terren Jones:

Jones passes the eye test. He is everything you’d want visually from an offensive lineman, big, wide and long arms, but young. He was undrafted last year, made the practice squad, and was later added to the 53-man roster. He will likely compete for a depth spot at either of the tackle positions.

Peter Konz:

Konz enters his third year with the Falcons, drafted as a center, before playing really well at guard in his first season. In 2013 he played center, before moving back to guard. He’ll move back to compete for the center position this season.

Adam Replogle:

Replogle made the practice squad last year as an undrafted free agent at DT, added to the 53-man roster near the end of the season. In 2014, he’s being asked to switch to offensive guard, a position he hasn’t played since second grade. Combined with his brute strength, Replogle will continue to get even more comfortable with the spot following technique work with Tice and Harman.

Ryan Schraeder:

Undrafted, Schraeder made the 53-man roster and stayed there the entire 2013 season. He performed well at right tackle, continues to show promise, and will likely compete for a depth spot at one of the tackle positions.

VETERAN ADDITIONS

Jon Asamoah:

Asamoah signed with the Falcons in the offseason, following four years with the Kansas City Chiefs, and will likely seize the starting spot at right guard. So far this offseason, he’s fit right in with the various personalities on the offensive line and his experience has already been paying off with the younger linemen, including Jake Matthews.

Gabe Carimi:

Carimi signed with the Falcons in the offseason, after spending 2013 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He reunites with Mike Tice, who coached Carimi in 2011 and 2012 with the Chicago Bears. The former first-round pick is competing for a depth spot on the line, likely at guard.

ROOKIES

Jake Matthews:

Matthews was selected by the Falcons in the first round (sixth-overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft to take on a vital role at right tackle. Following a stellar four-year career at Texas A&M, Matthews continued to showcase his advanced football IQ and physical skills, required of a dominant offensive lineman, during rookie minicamp and OTAs.

James Stone:

Stone is a talented undrafted rookie free agent, who the Falcons signed in the offseason. He played collegiately at Tennessee, where he saw action in 45 games, including 39 starts. He truly has the pedigree to succeed, especially under the coaching of both Tice and Harman.


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