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Gino Gradkowski likely to draw Week 17 start for Falcons at center

The move would send Mike Person to the bench, more than likely, unless the team wants a look at him at guard.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Person has been the team's starting center every week this season, when he's been healthy. That will change in the season finale, with veteran Gino Gradkowski getting his first start.

There was some foreshadowing here from Andrew Hirsh's interview with Kyle Shanahan, where the offensive coordinator was pretty candid about Person's persistent snapping issues.

AH: Coach Quinn mentioned today that Gino Gradkowski is giving Mike Person some competition at center. What can Gradkowski bring to the table in Week 17?

KS: Mike's done a real good job blocking for us this year. He's done a hell of a job at center, but he's just made too many mistakes with the ball on the ground. It came to hurt us last week, so that was the main thing with Mike. Gino has a lot of experience snapping the ball, so we're letting them compete this week. We know Gino has played center a lot more than Mike. I think Mike can be more consistent with the snapping, but there's still competition.

This move gives the Falcons a look at Gradkowski ahead of 2016, and whether they want to keep him around and in the mix at center next year. Person's blocking has been solid enough that he should be in the running for a job, either at center or guard, but if his snapping issues have finally worn down the coaching staff, they won't want to just anoint him as the starter for 2016. Gradkowski's hardly the inspiring choice, but he's virtually guaranteed to snap the ball better than Person has, and that's worth something.

What are your expectations for Gradkowski?