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Mike Johnson Is Injured. What Will The Falcons Do Now?

The right tackle position is now quite thin for the Falcons, and they lost a quality player.

Kevin C. Cox

You never want to come back from an Internet-free vacation to see that a potential starter along the offensive line is gone for the year, but here I am and there goes Mike Johnson:

I don't want to panic here. There was a good chance all along that Lamar Holmes would win the right tackle job, given his talent and Tyson Clabo's release. The Falcons can still install Holmes at right tackle, cobble together depth out of veterans and potentially surprising UDFA Ryan Schrader and still be fine, assuming Holmes is up to the task.

That said, this is a hell of a blow to this line. Johnson was far from a known quantity, having battled injuries in the past and only drawing one start in his three seasons in the league. What he offered was an impressive run-blocking resume compiled in college, positional versatility and a serious challenge for a right tackle job left vacant by Clabo's ouster. Removing him from the equation knocks out a starter at worst and a key piece of depth at best, leaving an offensive line pocked with question marks thinner and less stable.

The Falcons will almost certainly consider breaking the glass on that $7+ million in emergency money now, seeking a veteran right tackle who can push Lamar Holmes and offer up a more reassuring name than Ryan Schrader. There aren't a ton of quality options out there, but if he's healthy, Sean Locklear would probably top my list.

I'd also like to take a moment to cross my fingers for Mike Johnson, who has been snakebitten thus far in his NFL career. Here's to a swift recovery and an opportunity to do good things for the Falcons in 2014 and beyond.

Your thoughts?

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