Last NFL season we saw then-newly head coach Arthur Smith take the reigns in Atlanta.
Falcons players were forced to learn a new offensive and defensive system following the staff overhaul.
The team went on to finish the 2021 season with a 7-9 record, falling short, yet, again of a playoff run.
Now, as they enter Year 2 under Smith and company, the players feel a lot more comfortable, according to starting right guard, Chris Lindstrom.
“I think it’s a totally different feel,” Lindstrom said during Tuesday’s training camp press conference on July 26. “We’re so comfortable with coach Smith and the staff. Year 2 of learning the offense, it’s exciting now to really be able to hit the ground running. … I’m really excited and looking forward to that now that we’re going live and full speed.”
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Lindstrom Plans to Take Another Stride
While the Falcon’s offensive line finished the season ranked 27th overall, Linstrom was the only guard across the entire league to allow zero sacks through 17 games.
And such an impressive season didn’t come easy for Lindstrom, who lost his mom, Dawn to cancer, just before Week 16’s matchup against the Detroit Lions. During that game, Matt Ryan was sacked three times against the Lions, but Lindstrom was not one to blame and the third-year guard was Pro Football Focus’s highest-graded offensive lineman in Week 16, earning a 92.5.
He finished the season with an overall 83.7 grade from PFF and the Falcons picked up his fifth-year option.
Now, entering his fourth NFL season, Lindstrom has a goal to continue to improve this fall personally and as a team.
“I feel like I’m constantly getting better,” Lindstrom said. “I’m lucky to be a part of a great organization and have great guys around me. So, I took the offseason to really focus on improving and then everything goal-oriented is as a team, so go out there and day by day, you know, have great practices. Then try and win as many games as possible this season.”
If he continues to perform well, a contract extension could be in the works, but Lindstrom isn’t thinking about that, just yet.
I’m really not thinking about it,” Lindstrom said. “I’m just really focusing on every day coming in here and being the best player that I can be. I love the Falcons. I love the Falcons organization. I’d love to be here forever. But just really, every day is focused on coming in to be the best player I can be.”
What’s it Like Without Matt Ryan?
Lindstrom spent his first three years protecting highly-touted veteran QB, Matt Ryan.
Now with Ryan no longer in the picture, Lindstrom and many other Falcons vets will have to warm up to the new additions of Marcus Mariota and rookie Desmond Ridder.
While the adjustment was weird at first, things have been moving along quite nicely since then, according to Lindstrom.
“I mean, it’s definitely different, but you just embrace the change,” he said. “Embrace the environment. … Everything’s great. I mean, the first day with Matt gone, it was definitely different. You could feel his presence. Him not being here was different, but you adjust to everything.”
And not only have Lindstrom and the rest of the o-line been doing their part to build a bond with Ridder and Mariota but the new QBs have been in sync with them.
“We’re really lucky with those guys,” Lindstrom said. “I mean, Dez and Marcus are true professionals. They come in every day ready to work, and as an offensive lineman, as soon as you really hear their cadence and how the mode of operation is, you know how they command things.
I mean, I feel super comfortable pretty much after just a couple of practices with those guys. Again, it’s going to be exciting.”