Injuries just won’t let the Atlanta Falcons succeed. Fresh off a 2013 campaign that saw them lose multiple starters on both sides of the ball, the Falcons have once again found themselves victim of the injury bug.
Starting left tackle Sam Baker was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon back in August. While that was a huge loss in and of itself, the news today that Atlanta will be without two other starting offensive linemen for the remainder of the year hurts even more.
Joe Hawley and Lamar Holmes are headed for IR, while William Moore is headed for IR, designated to return: http://t.co/4DVep8hm5j
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 30, 2014
That’s three-fifths of the offensive line sidelined for the year. There honestly isn’t a team in the NFL that could succeed on a consistent basis with this type of bad luck on the offensive line. We saw how the Philadelphia Eagles offensive line performed on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers with three starters out of action. It’s just not sustainable for the long term.
Holmes, the team’s starting right tackle, will likely be replaced by former first-round bust Gabe Carimi. While Holmes had not performed extremely well thus far this season, Carimi just isn’t a starting offensive lineman in the NFL. He played left guard last week with the slew of injuries, which forced tight end Levine Toilolo to play right tackle.
As it relates to Joe Hawley, former second-round pick Peter Konz will likely replace him in the lineup. Konz, a natural center, started 25 games betweeen guard and center in his first two NFL seasons.
In addition to these two losses, Atlanta lost Justin Blalock in its Week 4 loss to the Minnesota Vikings due to a back injury. It remains to be seen whether he will be able to go against the New York Giants this upcoming week.
If not, it’s going to be an experiment in connect the dots for the Falcons offensive line.
If Justin Blalock misses Falcons' game in NY Sunday, here's starting offensive line (L-R) Matthews-DontKnow-DontKnow-Asamoah-DontKnow
— Jeff Schultz (@JeffSchultzATL) September 30, 2014
That’s not exactly what Matt Ryan, who is having a pretty good season thus far, wants to hear. Despite all these injuries, Ryan was sacked just one time against a lackluster Minnesota Vikings defensive line on Sunday. This doesn’t mean that he’s going to be standing upright on a consistent basis moving forward.
Atlanta did sign tackle Cameron Bradfield on Tuesday. He started two games for the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this season before being let go. The former undrafted free agent out of Grand Valley State has started 27 games since joining the league back in 2011. At the very least, there is some experience here.
Guard Harland Gunn was also signed off the practice squad. He has yet to start a game in two-plus seasons with the team. That’s likely more of a depth move, especially considering Atlanta may very well be without four starters against the Giants come Sunday.
Photo: USA Today