Wes Schweitzer is not a special player, but he has already had a remarkable career for a sixth round guard. Just 25 years old, Schweitzer battled savvy veteran Chris Chester well in his rookie season back in 2016, started all 16 games at right guard in 2017, and started 13 games in 2018 as the starting left guard. He’s picked up 13 penalties over the last two seasons and isn’t anywhere close to an elite option, but he’s been at least average, durable and an absolute bargain for this guard-needy Falcons team over the last two seasons.
So it’s a shame to see that his season is over with one game to go, as Dan Quinn confirmed Schweitzer is out Sunday against the Buccaneers. He won’t simply be handed a starting job next season, but obviously he’s at worst an excellent reserve option for this team, and is under contract for one more year. We hope he heals up quickly.
Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and running back Tevin Coleman will play on Sunday. Guard Wes Schweitzer will not. #Falcons— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) December 28, 2018
With Schweitzer out, the Falcons will turn to some combination of Ben Garland and Matt Gono at left guard. Garland’s been a steady and reliable veteran in his own right, but struggled mightily at times at right guard this year and is not under contract at the moment in 2019. Gono is an intriguing, athletic former tackle the Falcons are trying out at guard, and given their aversion to expending big money or high draft selections at the position, you can’t rule out the young guy getting a real shot at competing for a starting role next year. We’re getting ahead of ourselves, obviously, but I’d expect Gono to get the lion’s share of the work against Tampa Bay so the Falcons can see how he looks at his new position.
The good news is that Julio Jones and Tevin Coleman are both going to suit up Sunday. Julio will probably get a limited number of snaps as he attempts to add to his league-leading receiving yardage total, while Coleman should split carries pretty evenly with Brian Hill as he auditions for a big payday this offseason. They’ll at least make this final game more fun.
While you’re here, give us your predictions for Garland vs. Gono at left guard and thoughts regarding the team’s guard situation going forward.