The Atlanta Falcons kick off the preseason Thursday against the Baltimore Ravens but on Monday, the team released its unofficial depth chart.
When Organized Team Activities started, all eyes were mainly on the position battles at left tackle, right guard and kickoff/punt returner, amongst others.
The depth chart listed Sam Baker as the starting left tackle, Garrett Reynolds over rookie Peter Konz at right guard and Harry Douglas as the starting punt returner with the lead kickoff returning duties going to Jacquizz Rodgers.
It is still the preaseason and there are position battles to be figured out, there are a few quick things to notice about the preliminary depth chart released:
- While things can change pretty fast, having Baker listed as the starter over Will Svitek shows that even though he struggled mightily at times last season, the coaching staff still believes that he can protect Matt Ryan. Baker’s injuries last season were well documented and the coaches must believe that Baker is well equipped enough to help keep their franchise quarterback on his feet or else he wouldn’t be there.
- Reynolds starting over Konz, at this point, isn’t much of a surprise. With that said, most believe that Reynold’s experience is the main factor in this decision, but Konz will eventually overtake him. Don’t be surprised to see a swap here later in the preseason.
- Douglas starting at punt returner isn’t much of a shock after his previous success at the position. Douglas’ returning skills are evident and it makes complete sense to have him starting there after the departure of Eric Weems. While Weems will be missed, the Falcons shouldn’t miss a beat with Douglas taking the reins. This is a position that should stay the same throughout the season, barring injury.
- With Douglas doing the punt returning, the Falcons can plug Rodgers in on kickoff return which not only gives Rodgers another opportunity to showcase his talents, but it allows Douglas to get a breather so he isn’t constantly in the game. With Michael Turner still handling the majority of the running game, Rodgers should be fresh and ready to go.
While Atlanta has a core group of veteran players and not many surprises depth chart wise, certain things still may change as the season draws closer.
There are decisions that need to be made by the Falcons coaching staff and performance in preaseason games will go a long way in deciding where the pieces fall.