With the departure of Alex Mack, there are some big shoes to fill at center. With the departure of James Carpenter, there are really just some shoes that could fit snugly on a toddler. Nearly any warm body will be an improvement on the position that to Thomas Dimitroff must have been like a Rubik’s Cube to someone with hooves for hands and farsightedness.
The left guard position has been riding the struggle bus since Andy Levitre’s injury and subsequent retirement despite Dimitroff’s multiple attempts to fix it. Things have been... grim.
Just realizing the Falcons signed Brandon Fusco, James Carpenter, and Jamon Brown to a max contract value of $52.5 million to upgrade over Wes Schweitzer and everyone is out of the league except for Schweitzer.— Falcoholic Matt (@FalcoholicMatt) July 9, 2021
Can new general manager Terry Fontenot finally fix that problem? It will be hard to do worse. However, his first shot is with Josh Andrews.
You may remember Andrews from when the Falcons signed Andrews, and you said, “Who is Josh Andrews?” Despite an injury history and few starts, he seems to be the early favorite.
Early rumors and impressions from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Athletic, and Pro Football Network all think Andrews has the head start. This is thanks, in part, to Andrews getting the starting nod during OTAs. We had heard from Tori McElhaney and D. Orlando Ledbetter throughout OTAs that Andrews was getting significant time there, but the report from PFN is a new addition that just adds a little extra fuel to the existing fire.
That gamble might already be paying off. Andrews got starter’s reps in the spring, a source tells PFN, and will be given a chance to win the left guard job in training camp.
Still, Andrews’ competition is unclear. For the umpteenth offseason in a row, the Falcons were going to give Matt Gono a shot at guard as well as swing tackle. Gono was hurt but the severity and specifics of the injury remain unclear almost a full month after we first learned about it. Jalen Mayfield, a college tackle, is expected to be a project who may move inside. He is the only real competition for Andrews unless one of the undrafted free agents truly surprises.
Andrews looks like the starter regardless of his performance at OTAs. The Falcons have no other options short of Mayfield becoming the rare project to quickly and effectively transition not just from one position to another but to the pros. With an open roster spot, it’s possible the Falcons consider signing more competition at guard, but as we approach camp it looks like Andrews’ job to lose.