When Ben Garland first took over for an injured Andy Levitre, I was a bit concerned about how that would go. We know from his limited stints with the starters that Garland is a capable enough guard, but starting for Levitre, who has been genuinely good this year, seemed like a tough challenge.
Fortunately for the Falcons, Garland held up pretty well against the Saints and very well against the Buccaneers, grading out as the best guard in Week 15 per Pro Football Focus. Also, he’s a very charitable fellow.
While Andy Levitre is questionable and may suit up this week, Garland’s play means the Falcons don’t have to rush it, even if the Saints promise to be a tough matchup this week. It also means that the Falcons, who can get out from under Levitre’s contract next year if they really want to, may have a reason to pause and consider what they want to do at guard, especially with Garland potentially earning himself a look as a starter elsewhere.
That’s all for the future, however, and the latest example of how the Falcons have been good enough and lucky enough to assemble quality depth. For the moment being, the important takeaway here is that the Falcons aren’t doomed if Levitre does have to miss this game, and they’re very fortunate that is so.