One position heading into Atlanta Falcons training camp that is not set in stone whatsoever is at left guard–– and it has been that way for the past three seasons.
While the Falcons drafted offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman, who could possibly fit the role, a veteran seems to be the early move thus far.
During early OTA’s back in June, Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s D. Orlando Ledbetter pointed out that 7-year vet Josh Andrews spent a lot of time taking snaps next to starting left Jake Matthews.
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Andrews’ NFL Resume
Andrews, 30, most recently played for the New York Jets, appearing in 15 games. He started three games at right guard and one at left guard.
The Oregon State product originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014. He spent three seasons in Philly bouncing back and forth from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.
Following his stint with the Eagles, Andrews spent time with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018. He returned to Philly once again and had a short stint with the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad before landing with the Jets in 2020.
In five years, Andrews has appeared in 40 games with four starts. He adds veteran experience to a fairly young interior.
Competition Will Be Hot in July
The Falcons wrapped up OTA’s last month so the next time we see them back in action will be at the end of July.
So far, first-year head coach Arthur Smith was pleased with what he saw from the guys.
“These guys have done a nice job that have been here,” Smith said via the AJC. “They have worked hard about understanding the schematics, and obviously it goes both ways.”
Smith emphasized that the competition is not over yet and only the best will play. Of course, for a select few, they have earned their spot.
“I hope the competition is going to be hot,” Smith said. “Guys have to earn their job. It’s a constant evaluation. Obviously, with some more than others that you can probably pencil in. I don’t think it’s a far reach to say, ‘Hey, Jake Matthews is going to be our left tackle.’ But there is going to be competition just about everywhere, and if Jake isn’t performing, then you have to play the best player. I really hope it’s a competitive camp and they understand that every job is open.”
James Carpenter was the Week 1 starting left guard in both 2019 and 2020, but injuries hindered his potential. And in order to make some room, the Falcons released the vet this offseason.
Depending on whoever wins the center position battle between Matt Hennessey and Dalman, they could have their answer in the loser right there.
With Matt Gono out, the Falcons also turned to Mayfield at left guard during minicamp.
Andrews, who has been bouncing around the NFL, played just one game at left guard last season. Meanwhile, Mayfield, a Michigan product, who was projected to go off the boards a lot sooner than in the round, has played primarily at right tackle.
It’s way too soon to tell but don’t be surprised if a rookie or a four-start veteran wins the job.
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