Falcons anticipate better start for offensive line

Posted Sept. 09, 2012 @ 1:41 p.m.
Posted By Dan Parr

Falcons QB Matt Ryan’s decision to make getting stronger a top priority of his in the offseason was not intended to only help him get the ball downfield with greater authority. The bulked-up fifth-year quarterback believes he is also more durable in the pocket and better equipped to deal with the wear and tear in the late stages of the season.

Given some of the concerns about his offensive line, it seemed like a very sensible strategy for Ryan to employ.

The O-line still has to prove it will not be the weak link of the offense, but we hear the Falcons are confident that the protection for Ryan is not going to be as big of an issue as it was at the start of last season. At the outset of the 2011 campaign, C Todd McClure was out recovering from knee surgery and ORG Garrett Reynolds was thrust into a starting role for the first time after a lockout-shortened offseason. Ryan was sacked 13 times in the first three games, and he committed turnovers at an uncharacteristically high rate.

The Falcons are healthy up front heading into 2012, and we hear the team thinks OLT Sam Baker, who suffered through health issues and lost his starting job in ’11, is ready to have his best season.

If Ryan takes fewer hits early and his added strength has its intended effect late in the season, Atlanta’s offense could be well positioned to make the deep playoff run it craves.