Editor Note: Over the next several weeks we will be bringing you a couple of features that will help you get to know our writers. One of those features is "Our Favorite Falcons." So far, Eric told us why Jessie Tuggle is his favorite, Mike wrote about Brent Grimes, Joe brought us a piece on Warrick Dunn and Zach's favorite was Roddy White. Each week come back to the blog and we will introduce you to another one of our favorite Falcons and tell you why that player has found a spot in one of our writers hearts.
As you may have seen, each author is featuring their favorite Falcon. I could name a dozen active Falcons I would gladly call my favorite Falcon. The grizzled vets like John Abraham, Jonathan Babineaux, Roddy White, Brent Grimes, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez and Matt Bryant deserve some respect, while our young playmakers like Sean Weatherspoon, Julio Jones, Curtis Lofton, Corey Peters and Matt Ryan top many favorite Falcons lists.
They have certainly gained respect and received their dues from other fans, bloggers and sports writers. However, some deserving players need a little more respect for their fantastic work in Atlanta. For your consideration, I give you my favorite Falcon: right tackle Tyson Clabo. Atlanta has historically had a weak offensive line, and has had only so many consistently elite linemen. Even fewer have struggled as much as Clabo to reach their current starting position.
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Tyson Clabo went undrafted then bumped around to four separate practice squads and offseason rosters. Five years after the NFL determined there were 255 better players than the 6 ft. 6 in., 330 lb., he made the Pro Bowl. This is a man who was accepted by Jim Mora, Bobby Petrino (I realize this hurts his cause) and finally, Smitty, who plugged him in at right tackle.
Clabo has since become the lynchpin of our offensive line. Was he fantastic when we went run heavy early in the Dimitroff regime? ust as fantastic when Mularkey switched schemes multiple times this past year? Absolutely. You want a guy who can put Clay Matthews in check while being a dominant run blocker? We have our man. This man has one of my favorite football attributes -- playing angry.
Clabo plays the forgotten right tackle spot, a position that rarely receives credit. Yet he has been the best offensive lineman Atlanta has had since he began starting, and arguably our best in the past decade. Coming off of a Pro Bowl season in 2010, Clabo took a team friendly 5 year, $25 million deal to stay in Atlanta. He returned to add (some of the only) consistency to the Falcons offense and remains as a building block for Atlanta.
For his nasty demeanor, elite play and hometown discount, Tyson Clabo is my favorite Falcon.
Get more great Atlanta Falcons news and analysis over at The Grits Blitz.