Remember that scene in Indiana Jones where the Nazis get their head melted by the terrifying force that is a mediocre offensive line? Quail in fear, my friends, for those days come again, striking our fearful eyes like dark lightning. Alack, alas!
Understanding where the Falcons are coming from on the offensive line issue is difficult at best. I'm sure the coaching staff has watched the same tape I have, and that tape suggests that our line was simply incapable of sustained quality play last season. Instead of placing the blame on the personnel, the coaching staff is blaming the attitudes.....or something?
Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey believes the linemen will be motivated by last season's performance.
"That's a driving force in my mind for those guys," Mularkey said.
Mike, Mike, Mike. You know why you can't squeeze blood from a stone?
It's sure as hell not because of its attitude! Call me crazy, but I think the overall talent level of the line wasn't great last year. With the exception of Quinn Ojinnaka, everyone who was playing along the line at mini-camp was in the exact same spot as last year. While Blalock and Clabo are young enough to make a difference, it is my firm belief that McClure and Forney have topped out as NFL starters. I don't care how badly they want to make up for last year; it's not realistic to believe that they're going to turn the ship around because of that. Even Blalock and Clabo are going to have growing pains; this makes no mention of the fact that Sam Baker is going to struggle mightily at times to keep up with the pace of the NFL. Without new blood, this line just isn't going to turn into the best unit in the league.
That's not to say that they can't be decent enough to open up a few holes and keep Redman/Harrington/Ryan from getting killed out there. It's almost unrealistic to expect them not to improve a little bit, just because Petrino's blocking scheme sucked so badly. Still, I get both terrified and confused when I hear our new offensive line coach say things like this:
"We have to play with our feet on the ground," Boudreau said. "We have to make sure we are not on the ground. We have to play out there like the ground is on fire."
If I stab myself in the brain with a ballpoint pen, that statement almost makes sense.
What do you guys think? Will the line be any better this year?