The Atlanta Falcons have swung a trade with the Tennessee Titans for some much needed offensive line help. The trade was first teased by Andy Levitre himself via twitter using the famous Atlanta Falcons motto.
The tweet sent fans in a scurry and gave rise to endless speculation including out-of-favour guard Jon Asamoah was to be sent in a straight swap. Soon enough, the conditions of the trade were reported.
Andy Levitre figures to slide in at starting left guard. I have to give praise to the coaching staff and front office for not standing still and addressing a clear weakness. James Stone struggled mightily in the 3rd preseason game against the Miami Dolphins’ front as he was unable to contend with Earl Mitchell. In this respect, the Falcons have made a sound upgrade.
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Levitre isn’t the same player he was in Buffalo where he made his name as a complete guard. He has dealt with injuries the last two seasons which seems to have taken their toll, although a return to the zone-blocking system can only do him good. He’s adept at blocking on the move and getting to the second level which is a necessity in the system.
However, Levitre’s biggest issue is his lack of functional strength which appears to have been sapped by the injuries he’s suffered the last 2 years. It’s very unlikely he returns to his best and justifies his salary, but on the bright side the Falcons are a better team with him starting.
He will be expected to pick up the offense quickly but a week 1 start may be too soon. After all, he will have a little over a week to learn the playbook and protections.
Jon Asamoah stays for now but it’s still unclear whether he will be on the roster by next Sunday. Despite the demotion, he hasn’t lost his ability and is still a good football player. He will bring stability to many teams who are weak at right guard. The Falcons could look to re-coup the 5th round pick lost from the noise-pumping scandal or the 6th round pick from this Levitre trade.
Nov 30, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons guard Jon Asamoah (75) on the sidelines against the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Cardinals 29-18. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
They could also make a player swap. The Falcons could do with better quality depth along the offensive line, particularly someone who can play offensive tackle. With Brooks Reed recently undergoing surgery and possibly missing up to 6 weeks, the Falcons are paper-thin at linebacker and that could be an area they target.
Andy Levitre’s play isn’t of the calibre it used to be at, but the Falcons have still improved as a team. An urgency to get better has been marked by Dan Quinn‘s arrival and is a welcome change to the complacency of the old coaching staff. Too often in the past, obvious issues were left to manifest which contributed to the dreadful past two seasons. That fortunately doesn’t seem to be the case here any longer.
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