Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was sacked four times in the team's shutout loss to the New England Patriots last Thursday night.
The offensive line could not protect the signal caller, which led to several ill-advised throws. In the fourth quarter alone, Falcons quarterbacks threw four interceptions. Those picks shouldn't all be blamed on the offensive line, but when evaluating the team as a whole, it's the one unit that likely needs the most work.
The Falcons' struggles over the past several years have been the scouting and development of talent. The team invested a lot in the offensive line, drafting three of the five starters in the first round. The return on investment is out of whack.
Perhaps the best move for General Manager Terry Fontenot is to scout veteran free agents with proven track records. But the team already has money invested with players like Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary on rookie deals that makes it difficult to spend more money in that area.
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On this episode of "Locked On Falcons," host Aaron Freeman shares one of his key takeaways from watching the All-22 film from the Falcons' 25-0 Week 11 loss to the Patriots last Thursday night, focusing on the struggles of center Matt Hennessy and the team's poor pass protection.
But that leads him into a conversation looking at the parallels between the 2021 Falcons team and that of the 2015 team to see if Arthur Smith & Co. can have a comparable jump in play come 2022 if they receive a similar talent infusion as the aforementioned team did in the 2016 offseason. He compares and contrasts the two years to see if Smith is getting the most out of his players as former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan did six years ago.