The Atlanta Falcons' search for a new starting right tackle took another turn when de facto preseason starter Mike Johnson was carted off the field and lost for what team sources believe will be an extended period of time if not the entire season. By the end of today's practice session with the Bengals rookie un-drafted free agent Ryan Schraeder out of Valdosta State was running with the starters and protecting Matt Ryan's right side. There isn't much to quibble about at all with the Falcons offense but right tackle will be a focal point from here on out. Johnson who is in his contract year and was rushed from the facility just before his agents Pat Dye and Bill Johnson arrived to watch practice was given the first shot to nail down the job as departed Tyson Clabo's replacement. Ryan is so smart and gets rid of the ball so quickly that the Falcons should be able to get by with pedestrian play at right tackle. They just can't have it be a total black hole. Second-year tackle Lamar Holmes a third round pick in 2012 got the first set of reps with the starters after Johnson's injury but his stay there was brief with a rotation in order. Holmes also heard a good amount of ribbing from Atlanta's offensive stars for throwing up at one point. Coach Mike Smith expects to give plenty of reps to everyone as he sorts out the right side of his offensive line. "I think we're very solid on the left side in terms of what our roster will look like with the left tackle and left guard" Smith said. "We're moving Peter Konz back to his normal position which is center. Last year he had to play guard for us. Garrett Reynolds is sliding back in to the right guard position and he's started 17 games in the three years he's been with us. And then there has been competition there at right tackle and I think there will continue to be." Reynolds has not exactly been a standout thus far either so the offensive line will bear particular monitoring as the Falcons' preseason begins Thursday night against the Bengals. There isn't much in terms of available talent on the free-agent tackle market right now -- in fact several GMs I've chatted with during my camp travels have commented about the utter paucity of options -- but at some point the Falcons could turn to the waiver wire as well as cuts are made. They'd love for Holmes to win out given where he was drafted but grasping the entirety of the offense and seizing this opportunity is far from a certainty. Veteran Joe Hawley could end up pushing for a center/guard spot as well. Smith said after practice he had not yet been briefed on the specifics of Johnson's injury.
Injury makes RT trouble spot for Atlanta
CBS Sports | Aug 7