The Falcons have been trying to figure out their left guard situation for a couple of years now. Following a disappointing 2018 season, the front office publicly committed to fixing what was by any measure a broken offensive line. By that time, from a value standpoint, Ryan Schraeder had fallen off a cliff. Andy Levitre’s sustained a season-ending injury and was staring down retirement. And then there was the infamous Brandon Fusco experiment. The bottom line: The offensive line needed help. Fast.
The Falcons brought in Jamon Brown (3 yrs, $18.75 million) and James Carpenter (4 years, $21 million) via free agency before drafting both Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary. The team spent a lot of money and with the benefit of hindsight, we now know just how bad the Brown and Carpenter investments were. The Falcons have since cut ties with Brown, moving on from that debacle of a contract. They chose to retain Carpenter’s services in 2020 and drafted a promising interior lineman in Matt Hennessy.
It did appear that Hennessy had the starting gig locked down after a camp battle that featured him, Carpenter, and the frequently overlooked Matt Gono. We know Hennessy has been banged up of late, although he did return to practice earlier this week. The Falcons’ first official depth chart had Carpenter listed as the starter, generating some confusion within the fan base. And then this happened:
Dan Quinn says he believes both James Carpenter and Matt Hennessy will get reps at left guard early in the season.— William McFadden (@willmcfadden) September 9, 2020
Because continuity counts for something, I don’t love this on its face. It’s possible that Hennessy isn’t quite ready from a conditioning standpoint, but I have to think he’s still the better option than Carpenter. (Carpenter is well past his prime and 2019 was his worst season as a professional.) I’d much rather roll with Hennessy and deal with whatever growing pains or conditioning issues he may present.
Your thoughts about head coach Dan Quinn’s preferred arrangement at left guard headed into the season?