The Falcons elected not to pull up Sean Harlow from the practice squad or address a different position with Chris Lindstrom hitting injured reserve, adding the familiar name of John Wetzel to their offensive line group.
The 28-year-old Wetzel joined Atlanta earlier this year as a candidate for a reserve gig at either tackle or guard, as he’s spent time at both positions with Dallas and Arizona. He has 40 games and 24 starts under his belt and hasn’t embarrassed himself at any spot on the line to this point, though obviously he wasn’t impressive enough this summer to shove his way past Wes Schweitzer, Matt Gono, or Ty Sambrailo and earn a roster spot.
We have agreed to terms with OL John Wetzel. https://t.co/xX15fCFz6D— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 9, 2019
Wetzel is a logical addition for several reasons, though we should lead with the fact that he doesn’t outright stink, an important qualification for a line that kind of stunk against the Vikings. His ability to play both guard and tackle in a pinch makes him a deep reserve option at both spots if injuries stack up, and his familiarity with the Falcons from the summer—including many preseason snaps—make him a logical candidate to come in and play if the team needs him.
Right now, Wetzel is behind Jamon Brown, James Carpenter, and Wes Schweitzer at guard, but obviously he may be needed at some point while Chris Lindstrom is gone. The Falcons are deeper at tackle with Ty Sambrailo and Matt Gono as reserve options—Gono can also mix in at guard in an emergency, it should be noted—but it’s always possible he’ll factor there, too.
With one lousy game under their belts and the injury bug already clamping down, getting cheap, versatile depth is probably the way to go. We’ll hope Wetzel never has to play.