Atlanta O-line is a huge concern after 3 sacks in 14 dropbacks
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan probably didn’t expect to get hit much in his limited playing time during his 2019 preseason debut versus the New York Jets. Unfortunately for a team that tried hard to address its problems up front over the offseason, though, that’s precisely what happened.
“Matt Ryan: 14 dropbacks. Jets have 8 pressures and 3 sacks. One sack came with a six-man rush, two with four-man, per NFL Next Gen. Gregg Williams [Jets defensive coordinator] getting frisky,” ESPN’s Rich Cimini wrote on Twitter.
That’s not a good look for a rebuilt offensive line in Atlanta, especially allowing two sacks on a four-man rush. Yet despite the pressure, Ryan — in Matty Ice fashion — dismantled the Jets defense to the tune of 10-of-14 for 118 yards, with three incompletions being drops.
It’s worth noting that Ryan didn’t play behind the Falcons’ projected Week 1 starting offensive line. Starting left guard James Carpenter and rookie tackle Kaleb McGary were both inactive with injuries.
The Falcons spent much of their offseason bolstering an offensive line that allowed 42 sacks in 2018. They waived former starting right tackle Ryan Schraeder, then signed guards Jamon Brown and James Carpenter in free agency. Their biggest gets, however, took place in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
With No. 14 overall pick, the Falcons selected Boston College prospect Chris Lindstrom. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares Lindstrom favorably to 2018 Pro Bowler Joel Bitonio. They re-upped by trading back into the first to draft former Washington Husky Kaleb McGary with No. 31 overall pick.
Hopefully, the rebuilt offensive line can gel a bit more quickly than it did on Thursday night. Luckily, regular season football is still a few weeks away.