With only the fourth and final preseason game remaining, we expect that the Falcons will be naming the winners of some of the (admittedly few) roster battles in the very near future. One of those battles has officially been decided today, and it’s good news for those of you that wanted to see a change at right guard in 2017.
Dan Quinn announced on Tuesday that Brandon Fusco—one of the Falcons few free agent signings this offseason—will be the starter at RG heading into the 2018 season.
Dan Quinn talks about the decision to name Brandon Fusco the starting right guard over Wes Schweitzer pic.twitter.com/vkz5DXpyg8— Kelsey Conway (@FalconsKelsey) August 28, 2018
While Quinn acknowledged that incumbent starter Wes Schweitzer has been “significantly improved from last season”, the decision was made to go with the veteran Fusco mainly due to his performance from a “protection standpoint”—which, presumably, means he’s been a better option in pass protection.
Fusco signed a 3-year, $12.75M contract with the Falcons in March. The veteran guard has played 8 seasons in the NFL since being drafted by the Vikings in the 6th round of the 2011 draft. He earned a second contract with Minnesota, but suffered some injury setbacks during his later years. Fusco most recently started all 16 games for the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, where he looked like an above-average guard in both pass protection and run blocking.
Quinn also had more clarity on Schweitzer’s role with Fusco taking over at RG.
Wes Schweitzer—a 6th round pick from 2016 who started all 16 games for the Falcons at RG in 2017—will still have a clear role on the team. He will be the primary back-up at guard, and has all been cross-trained at center this offseason. We saw him take snaps at center during the preseason game against the Jaguars, and he looked pretty solid. Having a seasoned starter as depth is quite valuable, especially in an era where teams are often starved for offensive line talent.
At FB, it sounds as if the competition is still not over between Ricky Ortiz and Jalston Fowler.
Dan Quinn said FB will play 20-25 snaps on offense. Still evaluating with Ortiz in the lead and Fowler making an impression to compete— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) August 28, 2018
We saw Ortiz get all of the snaps with the starters against Jacksonville, but Fowler is talented and experienced as well. It appears that evaluating the FBs will be a primary goal during Thursday’s game against the Dolphins.
What are your thoughts on Fusco being named the starter? Do you think Schweitzer has a long-term future with this team as either a guard or center? Who ends up winning the FB battle?