One of the areas of “concern” (read: weakness) for the 2013 edition of the Atlanta Falcons is the offensive line. In the off-season, the team lost one of their best offensive lineman in tackle Tyson Clabo, and the decided to replace him from within in the form of right tackle Mike Johnson. However, on Tuesday afternoon, that supposed weakness looks to have been exposed in an even more significant way.
The aforementioned Johnson was carted off of the field during Atlanta’s training camp practice, as a victim of a left leg injury. While there are no firm reports on the exact severity of the injury, seeing a lineman having to be carted off during an August practice is certainly not a positive sign, and head coach Mike Smith wasn’t terribly positive in the aftermath. Johnson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been diagnosed with a dislocated left ankle and fibula fracture.
Johnson played only two games over his first two seasons before appearing in all 16 games (primarily as a guard) last year with Atlanta. Even with a healthy Johnson, there was widespread concern about the right side of the Falcons’ offensive line, and now, the focus will seemingly shift to the duo of Lamar Holmes and Ryan Schraeder in the position.
Until Johnson is firmly ruled out of a specified period of time, we shouldn’t close the door on a potential return, but with Atlanta forming serious Super Bowl aspirations, this is an injury that they simply couldn’t afford. Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.