The Bleacher Report NFL staff argued that the Atlanta Falcons should address their offensive line concerns. But Falcons fans probably don’t agree with what BR labeled as the team’s biggest offensive line problem.
The BR staff urged the Falcons to sign veteran guard Andrew Norwell to replace rookie Matthew Bergeron.
“Rookie and converted college tackle Matthew Bergeron is the clear weak link on Atlanta’s offensive line, as he’s the only one with sub-par grades from Pro Football Focus across the board,” the BR staff wrote. “While he’s a project and still has a bright future, the Falcons can’t afford to let Bergeron work out his struggles in the midst of their pursuit of a division title.
“Bringing in a veteran as a holdover for the rest of the year would be a wise decision, and Norwell has nearly 9,000 snaps and nine years of experience playing left guard. He also has experience making the switch from left tackle to left guard, so he could be a good mentor for the rookie, too.”
Norwell would undoubtably make a good mentor for Bergeron. But if the Falcons replace an offensive linemen this season, Atlanta fans might prefer it be right tackle Kaleb McGary.
Yes, McGary has superior player grades from Pro Football Focus. But from a standpoint of allowing pressure, both linemen have been leaky.
According to PFF, McGary has allowed 3 sacks, 6 hurries and 11 quarterback pressures. That’s comparable to the 1 sack, 7 hurries and 14 pressures Bergeron has yielded this season.
McGary plays a harder position to protect the quarterback, but Bergeron is a rookie making the switch to guard. The best thing for the rookie is likely to continue playing.
The Falcons could stunt his development with a benching.
However, Norwell probably isn’t the offensive lineman to add if it’s McGary the Falcons replace, and not Bergeron. While Norwell did transition from tackle to guard as Bergeron is attempting, Norwell hasn’t taken a snap at tackle since 2016.
Furthermore, Norwell has played just 4 snaps at tackle in his NFL career.
It will be interesting to see if the Falcons pursue any offensive line upgrades in the immediately future. If they do, they won’t necessarily have to come in a trade.
Norwell and other quality veterans are available in free agency.