Ty Sambrailo had a difficult effort against the Jets on Thursday night. You can argue that he mostly played fine and only had a handful of difficult plays, which would be fairly accurate, but on his worst plays he looked completely and totally overmatched.
I’m not saying it was definitely caused by the shoulder ailment he’s currently nursing, but that certainly could have been a factor. Regardless, Matt Gono looks like he may get an opportunity to push for a roster spot or more consideration for the right tackle job early in the year, should Sambrailo falter before Kaleb McGary gets back.
Repping with the first team at right tackle is Matt Gono. If Ty Sambrailo can’t go Thursday night, Gono would be the one to presumably step in there.— Jason Butt (@JasonHButt) August 18, 2019
In practical terms, this isn’t going to change the team’s roster construction all that much. Gono was already a front runner for the last roster spot along the offensive line, and all he can really do is bolster his case with another solid-to-strong performance. I still think he’s got a better-than-even shot at being the swing tackle in 2020.
Sambrailo, meanwhile, is still more or less locked in as the team’s swing tackle and is being paid accordingly. One uneven effort in preseason, no matter how crummy, doesn’t imperil his status heading into the regular season. Remember, he had some good games at the end of last year, and the Falcons want and need a veteran with some experience with Kaleb McGary uncertain for Week 1.
Finally, McGary is probably going to start by midseason regardless of his current health status, and he could take the job a lot sooner than that.
Still, if Gono’s going to start, I hope he excels. I’d like to see him lock up that swing tackle over the long haul.