The Falcons are trying to bounce back from a perfect storm of disaster that produced arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL.
With a healthy (for the moment) Sam Baker and a brand new Jake Matthews, fans will not be subjected to the punishment that is watching Lamar Holmes. The Falcons also brought in Jon Asamoah and cut Garrett Reynolds, solidifying the right guard position.
The scrappy Joe Hawley was resigned to a short, two-year, $6 million contract. To me, the contract length indicated that Hawley will be given a shot to win the starting center spot, but he could also end up as a versatile depth player who can backup both guard and the center spots. Hawley has been a competent player but the team did not want to commit to him as their long-term starting center.
Reid Ferrin, a new writer for AtlantaFalcons.com, helps shed some light on the offensive line.
Joe Hawley: Hawley is likely the favorite to start at center, entering his fifth season with the team. He has built a strong relationship with Matt Ryan, on and off the field, and personifies the toughness and tenacity that Mike Tice and Wade Harman love.
A nice endorsement of Hawley. He is the favorite. A fit for the new offensive line coaches. Good relationship with the franchise quarterback.
What about Konz?
Peter Konz: Konz enters his third year with the Falcons, drafted as a center, before playing really well at guard in his first season. In 2013 he played center, before moving back to guard. He’ll move back to compete for the center position this season.
This is not so much of an endorsement as confirming that Konz remains on the roster. Expectations are low.
Luckily this means Atlanta's three worst offensive linemen in 2013, Reynolds, Holmes and Konz, are not expected be starting in 2014. Anyone else cautiously optimistic the Falcons will field a much improved offensive line?