In two preseason outings, the Falcons’ first team units have looked solid. The offense is leading the league in passing yards this preseason (they give out trophies for that, right?) and the defense has looked promising even within the context of vanilla preseason schemes. Depth, however, is a concern at a few positions. Details after the jump.
Will Svitek, who started ten games last season, is out for the duration of the 2012 season with an upper arm injury, leaving backup options for starter Sam Baker at left tackle a little shaky. Dave covered this thoroughly earlier this week, noting that the Falcons will look to Mike Johnson, an offensive guard who has been cross-trained at tackle, or rookie Lamar Holmes, who is a gigantic human being, but missed mini-camps due to a toe injury, and it is unlikely that he is NFL-ready at this moment. Baker has struggled with injury issues, and sometimes has just struggled in general, and depth at left tackle in particular is a concern.
Starting DT Corey Peters has been out with a foot injury, and backup Vance Walker suffered an undisclosed injury and has been out for some time. Jonathan Babineaux and Peria Jerry have been holding down the middle, and Peria Jerry seems to be healthy and has looked good in preseason, which is encouraging.
Hopefully Peters will be back in action soon, and in the meantime, Jerry is executing effectively. Walker is pretty reliable as a backup, so it would be nice to see him back on the field, but until he is cleared to play, 7th round draft pick out of South Carolina Travian Robertson is also showing promise as a reserve DT.
When starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent went down with a concussion in special teams play during the first preseason matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, it became clear that depth at that position is a concern. Of course, the Falcons’ plan heading into this season was to have veteran Lofa Tatupu and Dent compete for the starting job, and carry both on the roster, but Tatupu suffered a torn bicep, ending his season.
Mike Peterson can play middle linebacker as needed, and Pat Schiller, a college free agent from Northern Illinois University, shows promise as a potential backup. Peterson obviously brings a veteran presence to the position and is an excellent mentor for Dent and Schiller, but depth is definitely a concern at middle linebacker.
What do you think? Are you concerned about depth? Should the Falcons make moves to bolster their depth at any of these positions?