Brandon Fusco signed with the Falcons with the assumption that he would be the team’s starting right guard. That’s probably exactly where he’ll be in Week 1’s Thursday Night Football matchup against the Eagles, but say this for Wes Schweitzer: He hasn’t made it easy.
Schweitzer was one of the most improved players of the summer, impressing Dan Quinn and company again and again from minicamp through training camp. He earned the starting nod at RG against the Jets and proceeded to have a game that wasn’t disastrous by any stretch of the imagination, but wasn’t quite as good as Fusco’s. For a team that likely is operating under the assumption that Fusco will start, even now, that probably was enough to nudge the former Viking and 49er into the lead for the job.
Preseason Week 1 Position Battle Update: RG— PFF ATL Falcons (@PFF_Falcons) August 12, 2018
-No pressures allowed by Schweitzer (4 pass blocks) or Fusco (7 pass blocks)
-Fusco graded better as a run blocker (4 run block snaps each)
Powered by PFF Elite: https://t.co/FcTZduh9Kn
I think the battle could be all but decided this week against the Chiefs, if we’re being honest. Fusco should get his turn with the first team this week, and if he outplays Schweitzer in that look—especially against a solid Kansas City front seven—the Falcons might all but officially pull the trigger on naming the veteran the starter. Schweitzer is virtually locked into a roster spot—he did just start 18 games a year ago and would be the team’s best option at right guard in case of injury or a faltering Fusco—but he’ll need a bit of struggling from Fusco to stay in the conversation.
Could Schweitzer still win this job? Sure. I just think it would take him outplaying Fusco significantly over the next couple of weeks to make that happen, and while you can never say never, it does seem unlikely. At least the Falcons will have one of the better young reserve guards in the NFL, should they need one, and a strong starter in Fusco.