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James Carpenter wins starting LG job for Falcons

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It was a battle that apparently went right down to the wire, but there were signs all along it was his gig to lose.

NFL: AUG 04 Falcons Training Camp Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The left guard battle between James Carpenter and Jamon Brown was one of the most noteworthy battles of the summer, with Dan Quinn refusing to name a starter up until mere days before the Falcons kick off against the Vikings in Minnesota. Brown had an extended audition while Carpenter was dealing with an injury during preseason, and his contract was weighty enough to expect that he might be able to push his way into the gig, even if he’d looked more comfortable at right guard in his career up to this point.

With his long experience and comfort level at the position, Carpenter was probably the slight favorite all along, and now we have confirmation that he’s the starter from Dan Quinn himself.

While it’s possible that Carpenter is on a short leash, I don’t expect him to relinquish this job anytime soon. He’s not anywhere near an elite guard, but he’s turned in multiple solid years on the left side of offensive lines for the likes of the Jets and Seahawks, and the team got a long look at both he and Brown this summer. Carpenter will be sandwiched between the team’s best two linemen, Jake Matthews and Alex Mack, and should fare just fine there. He likely won’t be Andy Levitre at his very best, but he ought to be better than the revolving door the Falcons had to endure last year, probably by a wide margin.

Brown, meanwhile, profiles to be a top backup, potentially at both guard spots. A few errors and lapses this summer probably doomed him, but his strength is still intriguing and his contract makes it unlikely the Falcons will be moving on from him in the next couple of seasons, giving him another bite at the apple next year or later this one, in the unfortunate and hopefully unlikely case that Carpenter or Lindstrom falter.

With that job decided, we turn our attention to right tackle, where no winner has been announced to this point. Our own Jeanna Thomas notes that Dan Quinn said that both Ty Sambrailo and Kaleb McGary will play with Matt Gono being sidelined, meaning the starting job may be decided in real-time. That’s not an ideal situation, but whatever keeps Matt Ryan from being murdered behind this offensive line works for me in the end.