The first place they may look is on the offensive line, per head coach Dan Quinn (via D. Orlando Ledbetter of the AJC).
Zane Beadles and Ty Sambrailo are getting consideration for playing time along the offensive line, coach Dan Quinn said. He's been meeting with offensive line coach Chris Morgan today.— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) November 23, 2018
Zane Beadles and Ty Sambrailo are both listed as tackles on the team’s roster, and you know that now-top-tier left tackle Jake Matthews won’t be seeing the bench anytime soon. This news may indicate the team is going to bench right tackle Ryan Schraeder, or at least rotate guys in at his position.
Schraeder is on contract with the team through 2021, but the team has a way to release him in the spring, designate it a post-June 1 cut and only incur a $1.3 million hit on the 2019 cap (per Over the Cap). His play this season has been a major disappointment for where he usually is, though you could see signs of this coming in 2017.
He’s been a great player for the Falcons and has got an impressive story coming from being an undrafted guy out of Valdosta State to winning the team’s right tackle spot and playing well up through that Super Bowl season and into 2017, but time waits for no man. The drop in quality is not something the team can afford at the position, particularly when it puts Matt Ryan in such a tough spot.
Beadles is a journeyman who would be nothing more than a stopgap at the spot if the team liked his 2018 tape and chose to roll with him there next season, and we’ve seen what Sambrailo can do from the position. He’s a very solid run blocker, but struggles mightily in pass protection (or at least he did last fall). Neither guy holding down the fort in 2019 gives you much hope; a rookie or more proven veteran would help us sleep better at night.
Beadles could also, hypothetically, get looks at guard, as he’s played there in the past as well.
But we’ll worry about that later.
For now, 2018 has had its share of difficult questions for the Falcons to ask, and what to do about the right tackle spot is one of them. It looks like the team is about to begin to attempt to answer it, at least for the rest of the season.