The Atlanta Falcons need some serious help at offensive line, but is Jake Long, a left tackle, the man for the job?
Not that Long is a bad player. He’s been cleared to play again and will work out for the Falcons, who have been following him for quite some time. But the Falcons’ issues aren’t on the outside, with Jake Matthews at left tackle (although he could be moved to the right side so Long can play on the left) and Ryan Schraeder being far from perfect, but not useless as the right tackle.
Their bigger issues are on the interior, with Gino Gradkowski competing for a starting spot at center (although guard Mike Person could get that job eventually) after Joe Hawley got released. Andy Levitre, who has had a rough couple of season at Tennessee, should start at one of the guard positions, but that means the prospects for the other guard slot aren’t that great, and all of this with a few days before the season begins for the Falcons.
If Long is signed, maybe he or one of the other tackles get moved to one of the guard positions. The Falcons also added Bryce Harris, another tackle, to the mix, which leaves a lot of questions and uncertainty for a team with a lot of talented playmakers on this offense, but possibly not a good enough line to help it operate at the highest level it’s capable of.
Long is a four-time Pro Bowler and one-time first team All-Pro, getting those accolades while playing for the Miami Dolphins from 2008 to 2012. He has been with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and 2014, not playing up to his level of the first few years, but when healthy is a very useful left tackle to have.