One Falcon To Watch: Todd McClure

Kevin C. Cox

The veteran will need his A game versus the Lions.

Todd McClure's career has been about as long and illustrious as any center's in the NFL. He's played with the same team for over a decade, anchored the offensive line and has the nickname Mud Duck. He's also been featured in the raps of William Moore, which is a true honor.

What is clear to basically everyone is that 2012 hasn't been the best year of McClure's career. The normally excellent center has struggled at times to keep the heat off of Matt Ryan and block effectively in the run game for much of the season. There have been flashes, however, and McClure was pretty excellent against the Giants last week.

He'll need to be again this week, because so much pressure is going to be coming up the middle. The Lions have arguably the best defensive tackle rotation in football with Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Sammie Hill and Andre Fluellen, and they won't hesitate to come after Matt Ryan. It's going to be up to Justin Blalock, McClure and Peter Konz to keep the heat off him, and while that pressure is going to fall on all three, McClure's the one I'll be watching most closely.

Obviously it's a bit tougher to watch offensive linemen than skill players, but I think this one is going to be critical. Who will you be watching?

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