There was a little ambiguity when Ty Sambrailo re-signed about his role. His contract was robust enough to think he might enter the year as the starter at right tackle, but not so large that he couldn’t have slotted in as a swing tackle. Today, Dan Quinn erased that ambiguity, all but naming Sambrailo the starter for 2019.
He’s the starting tackle, DQ just told me. Schroeder is competing for a spot. https://t.co/kAGM995Skq— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) February 27, 2019
Earlier this week I wrote that Sambrailo’s signing created questions about the team’s plans on the offensive line, but now those questions have been partially answered. The Falcons spent two years nurturing Sambrailo, who flamed out in Denver and suffered at the hands of Vic Beasley, and they liked what they saw from him in a starting role late in 2018 to the point where they’re comfortable handing him the job. That clicks Ryan Schraeder into place as either the swing tackle for 2019 or a summer roster cut, with the team almost certainly investing in a developmental tackle in this draft to marinate behind Sambrailo for the next year or two. If he winds up starting one, two or even three seasons at right tackle and plays at a reasonably high level, Sambrailo’s contract will end up being a steal.
Of course, we don’t know if that will be the case, because we’re working with a small sample size. The team’s faith in Sambrailo suggests he won’t be on a short leash in the early going, though, and we’ll hope that the very solid play we saw in 2018 translates into this season. We also can’t be 100% certain that Sambrailo will start at right tackle instead of guard, but for the moment with Ledbetter’s tweet, we’ll assume he’ll line up on the outside.
Now the big questions around this line revolve around the guard position. Dan Quinn made it clear the team might shake up three positions, and while they aren’t necessarily finished at tackle, that’s one that the team isn’t going to turn over significantly. That means the Falcons have an opportunity (and one might argue, an obligation) to improve guard to avoid going into next year with a stable of alright options that are one injury away from turning into a catastrophe.
That’s all for the future, though. Right now, get used to the idea of Ty Sambrailo being your right tackle in 2019.