FLOWERY BRANCH GA - JULY 30: The Atlanta Falcons offense lines up against the defense during opening day of training camp on July 30 2010 at the Falcons Training Complex in Flowery Branch Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
A thought occurred to me while watching Michael Turner slice through the Buccaneers defense like hot butter, followed by Jason Snelling doing the same. Is it time for the Falcons to start making substitutions on the line?
This is a relevant question for more than one reason. The first, obviously, is that the New York Giants are not the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Theirs is a defense allowing the 19th most rushing yards in the league, not the 31st. They are capable of slowing Turner down and their pass rush is nightmarish, so the idea of playing to strengths is relevant.
The second is that Sam Baker and Garrett Reynolds did a nice job of opening holes in the run game yesterday. Pro Football Focus has noted that the Falcons have been a terrible run-blocking team in 2011, and as much as Will Svitek and Joe Hawley have been clear upgrades in pass blocking, they're not always getting it done against the run.
So it may be time for the Falcons to start making substitutions when they're able. I realize getting 300 pound men on and off the field is nobody's idea of an easy thing to do, but when you have such clear splits in run blocking and pass blocking ability, it pays to play matchups. It's going to be tough to beat the Giants if you can establish the run at all, regardless of their 29th ranked pass defense.
Of course, the problem with these kinds of switches is that they telegraph the kind of play you're going to run. If you have Sam Baker and Garrett Reynolds out there and throw, you're opening Matt Ryan up to taking some shots from guys like Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora.
I'd still like to see the Falcons try this as needed and see what kind of results it gets. Would you?