Garrett Reynolds And The Right Guard Job

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 02: Tight end Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons is congratulated by Michael Palmer #81 and Garrett Reynolds #75 after scoring a touchdown in the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on October 2, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Falcons defeated the Seahawks 30-28. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Garrett Reynolds could charitably have been described as the weak link in the offensive line last year. If you were less inclined to provide alms for the poor, you might say he was an epic disaster.

Given that, it's a bit of a surprise to see Mike Smith anointing him the early favorite for the right guard job. Reynolds started out as a project right tackle, then a project guard/tackle and now a two-time contender to start. It's a bit mind-boggling.

Before you hit the panic button, though, there are two items worth considering.

  1. Garrett Reynolds may have improved over a year ago. He certainly could not have gotten worse, and if he's the frontrunner early on, it certainly says something about how he's been practicing. He has the size and strength to play anywhere on the line, but his footwork and quickness has always been the question. If last year's bomb caused him to improve, I doubt any of us will complain.
  2. This is a motivating tactic for everyone else, but particularly Peter Konz. The Falcons would surely like to see a fierce competition at right guard, and Konz is a guy who they would like to see destroying everyone, given their investment in him. It could be that Reynolds is getting the nod right now simply due to his tenure.
Really, there's no downside to this tactic either way. If Reynolds is better, he gets a real chance to keep the job going into the season. If he's not, Smith gives everyone else in the right guard competition someone to beat.

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