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Is Ojinnaka The Answer?

Fun name aside, Quinn Ojinnaka has been a true project offensive lineman. Like many of his ilk, he's simply sat on the bench gathering dust as the team struggled to do anything of consequence offensively. A rash of injuries along the line suddenly pressed him into action. So how'd he do on Sunday?

Don't ask me for clever analysis when the coach can say it better:

Quinn battled hard and gave us great effort. He probably did a better job in the run game than the pass game. I was happy with the way he battled and performed. Obviously, up front, we would like to have better protection. I never felt like we had complete rhythm in our passing game, but you have to give credit to San Francisco. They were attacking some of the things that we were doing well.

In Pet Rhino speak, that's roughly equivalent to a C+/B- performance. The thing I want to highlight here is the part about Ojinnaka doing a better job in the running game. Is it a coincidence that Ojinnaka's "great effort" resulted in arguably the only above-average running game of the season for Warrick Dunn? Maybe. Possibly. Probably.

Nonetheless, this season demands for young players to get a shot. By my count, Dunn went the way of the left tackle for 56 of his 100 yards rushing, including his touchdown run. Norwood picked up an additional 20 of his 39 yards on the ground by going left. Sure, that could be a total coincidence, but it could also be a sign that Ojinnaka could actually represent a solid blocker for the running game. Yes, he's still probably a complete project in pass protection, and I'm not advocating him as a solution to all our problems.

I would definitely like to see him get a real shot to prove himself, though. Given the sorry results week after week on the ground, the Falcons could use someone who might give Dunn and Norwood a fighting chance of getting somewhere.