The additions of Jamon Brown and James Carpenter bolstered an offensive line in desperate need of some revamping this offseason. Both men could start for a number of NFL teams, and both men have an established track record in the league.
Fast forward almost six months and the Falcons are still trying to figure out who will start at left guard this season. Early this week, Dave penciled Brown in as the starter at left guard. But in Dave’s defense, he downed an entire fifth of vodka before writing that article. Also, when that prediction was made, Carpenter had been MIA for a couple weeks. So what’s the state of this neverending, epic camp battle heading into the last week of the preseason?
If you recall, Carpenter suffered a hip flexor injury a couple weeks ago and that gave Brown an opportunity to showcase his skillset for the coaching staff. Brown’s performance in Carpenter’s absence has been a mixed bag, with a particularly underwhelming performance coming against the Jets.
Meanwhile, Carpenter made his first appearance this preseason against the Redskins Thursday night, and anecdotally, the offensive line looked a little better with him in the mix. But interestingly it was Sean Harlow that earned the highest PFF grade on offense. Harlow played 32 snaps, but to be sure, he was playing against the backups’ backups.
Carpenter has seniority and far more experience as a starter, and the Falcons have asked Brown to show urgency and get better in pass protection, which to his credit, he’s worked to improve in both areas. Brown has some history of struggling at left guard. So given all that, notwithstanding his recent injury, I won’t be surprised if Carpenter edges out Brown, if only because the Falcons had him penciled in as the starter when training camp began.
Remember, this is a good problem to have. It means the Falcons will have some impressive depth this season, and let’s be honest, that’s never a bad thing. Granted, Brown will be a pretty expensive backup, but I can live with that.
Who should the Falcons roll out in week one, Falcoholics?