What's Eating Tyson Clabo?

Chris Graythen - Getty Images

The long-time starting right tackle is having a poor start to the season.

Let us take a moment to acknowledge the fact that Tyson Clabo has been an excellent right tackle for the better part of his career in Atlanta. We must acknowledge this knowing full well that Tyson Clabo has not been an excellent right tackle in 2012 thus far.

Here's the sack numbers through the first three games, at least according to Pro Football Weekly:

Sam Baker: 0
Justin Blalock: 0
Todd McClure: 0
Garrett Reynolds: 0
Tyson Clabo: 3

That's a noticeable problem right away, and we haven't gotten to the disastrous seven sack, constant pressure game against the Panthers on Sunday. Considering the majority of those sacks came through the right side of the line (Clabo and Reynolds, mostly) and Clabo looked like he was living out his nightmares. You expect a bad game or two out of Garrett Reynolds, who was a walking disaster last year, but Clabo's now easily been the team's worst lineman through the first quarter of the season.

The question is, why? As I see it, there are three possibilities that explain Clabo's awful start.

  1. His injuries are sapping his effectiveness. It certainly would explain why he doesn't seem to be exhibiting the same power in his blocking as in years past.
  2. He's just plain old struggling. Even great players have bad stretches, and it might just be that Clabo is having considerable difficulties for a four game run because of any number of factors. He may just need to play it out.
  3. Somehow, at the tender age of 30, Clabo is declining, and fast. This would create a scenario in which Lamar Holmes or Mike Johnson took over at right tackle, making Clabo an expensive backup, to say the least.

I don't know which one of these is the right answer. Maybe none of them, but the Falcons clearly can't stand pat if Clabo continues to play poorly for much longer. It's the unfortunate side of football, but a necessary one.

What are your thoughts on Clabo, and how do you think he'll fare the rest of the way?

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