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Wes Schweitzer won’t have a short leash at right guard

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The young starter should stick, because the Falcons benefit if he does.

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Garland fought Wes Schweitzer hard all offseason, but in the end, Garland will be the super versatile reserve and the former sixth-round pick will start. The Falcons aren’t holding Garland’s strong fight over his head.

Per Vaughn McClure’s latest, the Falcons feel good about Schweitzer starting, and seem set to give him a long leash if he struggles a bit early. He likely will at times, considering both the matchups he’s facing and the fact that he’s only a year into his career.

That doesn’t just matter for this year, when Schweitzer will surely fare better if he’s not looking over his shoulder. It also matters to the Falcons going forward, when the soon-to-be-24-year-old has a legitimate shot to take over a position long-term. When you think about this from the Falcons’ perspective—they have Schweitzer under contract cheaply through 2019, and he’s the only current starter you can say that about. With a Jake Matthews extension coming up and large contracts on the books for Alex Mack and Ryan Schraeder—and Andy Levitre, though not much longer—cost-effective options matter.

Schweitzer’s guaranteed nothing, but it’s good to hear the Falcons have faith in him and will probably give him run. They have a lot of incentive to.