NFL analyst Brian Baldinger is filling in his free time with some Falcons film review. This is not new. Baldinger reviewed some Falcons film last season during the team’s anemic start.
It was very bad.
He ripped apart the Falcons defense, blaming players for missing assignments, covering no one, and failing at so many different fundamentals across the defensive line, the linebackers, and the secondary.
He was so disappointed in the team he was angry. He became an honorary Falcons fan who watched what was one of the worst season starts in franchise history, with the same incompetence week after week.
Things changed after the first half of the season after some coaching shuffles, and rookie guard Chris Lindstrom’s return to health. Baldinger took a look at Lindstrom and he came away impressed.
.@AtlantaFalcons #ChrisLindstrom made a huge impact on #Falcons offense in the final month. Anyone hungry for some RIBS? Make that a full rack! His style gets me excited #RiseUp #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/1vV13eGjqi— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) August 7, 2020
Keep in mind that the offensive line is one of the tougher positions to play in the league, with a much longer transition time than, for example, linebacker or running back. When you are watching rookie linemen, they are usually getting beat. Even Jake Matthews struggled early in his career before quietly becoming one of the better tackles in the league.
I’m excited about a healthy Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary on the offensive line with the All-Pro Alex Mack in the center. What a difference Lindstrom made for this offense in the last month of the season.... He played every snap against the 49ers.... Watch the hole that opens up for Freeman.... When you watch him against the 49ers, this is a hell of a football game by Lindstrom.... Just mashing it up. Just smash it up. Go at them, the NFC Champ 49ers.
Baldinger does not explicitly state it, but the film review and the his commentary can sum up what the Falcons have been missing at guard for years: Lindstrom plays angry. Offensive linemen, above all other positions, need to have a mean streak if they are expected to block a rotation of defenders 70 times a game.
However you want to quantify or describe that quality, Lindstrom appears to have it.
Watch him in the passing game. Watch how he helps out. Watch his effort. What he does right here. Armstead and Bosa with a stunt. This is 3rd and 4 down 19-10 in the 4th quarter. Take a piece of Bosa. Get him down to the ground so Matt Ryan can have time.
Baldinger, animatedly, heaps love on Lindstrom’s play for providing some blocking help on Nick Bosa by providing a spirited check to his ribs. You should really listen to that audio at the end of the clip.
Lindstrom was an important piece to Atlanta’s offense finally gaining some consistency in 2019. Watching him perform against top talent on run and pass players is encouraging for his continued development.