FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons’ offensive line was an inconsistent unit for much of the 2018 season, and it’s an area coach Dan Quinn will take a long look at during the offseason.
Speaking with Dave Archer and Wes Durham on the “Dan Quinn Coaches Show” on 92.9 The Game Thursday, Quinn explained he was comfortable with just two spots on the offensive line and will evaluate the other three positions.
“I'm comfortable at center and left tackle in the same way as you said,” Quinn said. “Past that, you scrub every bit of it.”
Throughout the season, the Falcons had trouble running the football, particularly in short-yardage situations, and struggled to protect quarterback Matt Ryan at times.
Ryan was sacked 42 times in 2018, tied for the eighth-most in the league, and the Falcons were 27th in rushing offense, averaging 98.3 yards per game on the ground.
The offensive line is an area the Falcons could look to address either through free agency or the 2019 NFL Draft.
“That's going to be something we look at,” Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said. “Interestingly enough, I think there are strengths in areas we may be looking at both in free agency and the draft.
“We'll have to continue to look at that and make decisions on that as well pertaining to how we approach free agency – If we can afford certain people, and where we think the value is going to be at the youth side of things.”
Atlanta lost both its starting guards in 2018 as Andy Levitre and Brandon Fusco suffered season-ending injuries in the first half of the season. Those injuries opened the door for Wes Schweitzer, Ben Garland, Zane Beadles and Ty Sambrailo all to see time at guard this season. Sambrailo also replaced Ryan Schrader as the team’s starting right tackle for the Falcons final four games.
Entering the offseason, it seems that only left tackle Jake Matthews, a former first-round pick, and center Alex Mack, who was named to his sixth Pro Bowl this season, have met Quinn’s expectations.