Alex Mack is the best offensive lineman Atlanta has. I don’t think that’s particularly controversial to type, given that Mack is a potential future Hall of Famer and the essential pivot on this offense, but I’m typing it to underscore his importance. You can survive the loss of any one lineman, sure, but the Falcons are less likely to survive the loss of Mack than anyone else.
That’s why, despite his capable backup (Ben Garland), the big question for the center position has everything to do with Mack’s health. That’s not because he has a history of significant injuries—he’s just once played fewer than 16 games, back in 2014—but because of critical his health is. Mack is a rock solid snapper, something many Atlanta fans complained about during the brief Mike Person era, and an accomplished blocker. The Falcons’ line has the potential to be one of the NFL’s best, and Mack is very obviously a huge part of that.
As I mentioned, Garland is a capable reserve, and if it ever came down to a game or two I’d feel confident in his ability to weather that stretch. I’m hopeful Mack, who turns 33 in November, will continue to be as reliable and excellent as he’s ever been, and that this is the last time I even think about the possibility of him being injured. Fortunately, history is in our favor here, given Mack’s absurd toughness and track record.