Falcons Offensive Tackle Review: Not Good

Maybe his knees hurt? Lamar Holmes. - Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Quick, anyone know how the Atlanta offensive line was last year?

This article is not recommended for those with heart problems, high blood pressure, those who may be pregnant or are prone to terrifying flashbacks about Lamar Holmes.

In our position breakdown I drew the short straw and am stuck talking about our offensive tackles. How were they?

Bad.

You want more?

Lousy. Poor. Atrocious. Dumpster fire. Dreadful. Baker-esque.

The Roster

Below is where our tackles rank according to Pro Football Focus, out of the 76 tackles that played at least 25% of the offensive snaps in 2013. No one on our team makes the top 50.

Ryan Schraeder (51/76). Some former scouts talked up Schraeder's potential before the year and he looked not bad.

Gil Brandt picking out two guys in August who made an impact their rookie years. Offensive line is a tough position to play, especially early on. Schraeder got little help from the right guard, was barely expected to make the roster and graded out as our very best offensive tackle.

He has some very nice potential but hopefully won't be expected to be our answer at tackle in 2014. He still gave up four sacks in just over 300 snaps.

Jeremy Trueblood (53/76). Trueblood got signed after we saw Holmes in preseason and there was a reason he was available. He got benched multiple times but this right tackle was still close to being our best tackle. His age and ineffectiveness almost guarantee he won't be back next year.

Lamar Holmes (75/76). You probably cursed this name multiple times during the year. Considered a project coming out of Southern Miss, Holmes was tossed in at right tackle and struggled from nearly his first snap. He gets beat in pass protection. He lacked the strength to run block. He would jump offsides in front of a quiet home crowd. This season was basically the worst possible outcome.

Holmes improved a bit through the season but shouldn't be guaranteed a starting spot next year. You always hope his sophomore season will be like Justin Blalock's rookie season, and he can really turn it around in 2014. Or improve on his 10 sacks allowed, 13 QB hits and 53 (!!!) QB hurries.

Sam Baker (incomplete). Baker never had enough snaps but ranked near the bottom of the league, though better than Holmes. If he isn't 100% healthy, which he wasn't, he is awful. We have seen it again and again. And he is usually injured. Atlanta should have a better plan in case of the inevitable Baker injury in 2014.

Terren Jones. Jones didn't play but was signed off of the practice squad at the end of November. He is a giant at 6'7" and is best known for being 380 pounds earlier in the year.

Mike Johnson. Johnson never got close to playing.

Injuries

The Falcons cut Tyson Clabo and replaced him with Mike Johnson, who had never really played and was previously considered a guard. How he looked, we never found out, because Johnson suffered a terrible injury in camp. Lamar Holmes "earned" the starting right tackle spot, and he never looked back... until he was benched for awful play.

Sam Baker got predictably injured after playing only 190 snaps. Enter Jeremy Trueblood, who was also very bad. So bad he was occasionally replaced by undrafted free agent Ryan Schraeder. Everything was awful. Run blocking, pass blocking, screens, penalties. All awful.

Best Game

Well, Schraeder had a pretty good game against the Washington Redskins and received the highest grade any tackle on our team got all year.

Worst Game

There were 16 of them but giving up eight sacks to the Carolina Panthers in week 17 was painful to watch.

Best Moment

I realized I wouldn't have to watch these tackles again until August.

Worst Moment

Every single snap.

Players Under Contract

None of this will make you feel any better.

  1. Sam Baker. 2014: $3.25 million (+ $4 million option bonus), 2015: $4.5 million, 2016: $5.25 million, 2017: $6.5 million, 2018: $6.6 million, 2019: FA
  2. Lamar Holmes. 2014: $570,000, 2015: $660,000, 2016: FA
  3. Ryan Schraeder. 2014: $495,000, 2015: $585,000, 2016: RFA
  4. Terren Jones. 2014: $495,000, 2015: $585,000, 2016: RFA

Final Grade: F

I struggled with this for literally seconds. I wondered if F- was a thing. When none of your tackles ranks in the top 2/3rds of PFF rankings, you have a problem. The guy who played the most snaps was the 2nd worst tackle in the league.

There isn't a single player on the roster who I would want to start next year. Baker's contract both guarantees he will be starting next year and Atlanta likely cannot sign one of the top available tackles. Our best hope is development from our young players and a reasonably priced swing tackle in free agency.

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