We're entering the first week of preseason, and the spotlight is blinding poor Lamar Holmes.
Holmes was supposed to engage in a heated battle with Mike Johnson for the right tackle job, giving the hulking young tackle an opportunity to best a worthy opponent and the admiration of fans. Johnson's injury ensures he A) won't have that competition unless Ryan Schraeder surprises and/or the Falcons sign a veteran and B) if he somehow loses the job, fans are going to look at him all cockeyed.
I don't know how likely that is, but there's definitely a pessimistic bent among many fans and analysts when it comes to Holmes. While he's big, strong and has pretty good footwork for a guy considered to be a project, Holmes is unproven, and that makes us all skittish. He also hasn't seized the job early in training camp, which in the world of instant angst we exist in qualifies as a cause for concern. But the talent is there, and he'll get a chance to prove that against the Bengals.
Holmes is still the prohibitive favorite now, and he may well take the job and run with it. The journey starts tonight.
Keep your eyes on Holmes!