2013 is the year that Peter Konz will lock and load as the Atlanta Falcons’ premier center, and Falcons fans can take that to the bank. QB Matt Ryan has essentially cast his vote in favor of Konz, saying “He’s a mature guy for a young player…he’s a hard worker and extremely smart. Those are all qualities you really want from your center.”
However, there’s one factor Konz has in the back of his mind, in his peripheral vision, not quite beyond his scope…and that factor is Joe Hawley. While Hawley doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder, he does have something to prove after the downs (pardon the pun) of his 2012 season…to himself as well as Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff and the rest of the team.
All things considered, will Hawley be able to move in and take the position from Konz when all is said and done with training camp? Being a starter could well be in Hawley’s future, but that starting position won’t be at center.
Falcons head coach Mike Smith’s penchant for cross-training is to be commended, but it can’t always be recommended for the duration of a season. Konz was last season’s right guard, and his performance at that position was somewhat effective. He showed marked improvement by the end of the season, but it isn’t enough to warrant his maintaining that position for the upcoming season.
With the retirement of renowned Falcons center Todd McClure, Konz is primed and ready to take his spot. He’s a natural center, and that instinctive ability will ensure that he shines in that spotlight with the Falcons for years to come.