Ben Garland drew the first start of the preseason at right guard, and he did an admirable job of holding down the fort at the position before giving way to Wes Schweitzer. Sunday against the Steelers, Schweitzer will get his turn with the first team, per Dan Quinn.
This is a prime opportunity for Schweitzer to show he should beat out Garland, but in practice it’s not likely to be a definitive performance either way. With four full weeks of preseason to judge these players with, Quinn and company won’t be in a hurry to make a decision, which means Garland and Schweitzer will probably each get one more start between now and the cutdown to a 53 man roster.
#Falcons second-year man Wes Schweitzer to start at right guard against #Steelers https://t.co/5f0jSsDjcY— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) August 18, 2017
My money’s on Schweitzer, but I do want to see how he performs against Pittsburgh, given that Garland has been impressive to this point. Schweitzer’s performance against Miami was a bit up and down, but he showed increased strength and better footwork compared to his rookie foray at guard, which is encouraging.
This spot could be a bit of a liability no matter who wins it—neither option is truly a known quantity—but I’m hoping either Garland or Schweitzer will prove to be a solid starter, at the very least. With the Falcons adding Austin Pasztor at swing tackle, Schweitzer or Garland providing a strong backup option at guard and/or center, and rookie Sean Harlow in the fold, the line depth looks solid enough to put a few minds at ease for the season ahead. Now we just need the battle settled.