FLOWERY BRANCH – The battle for the starting right guard spot can start in earnest now.
Mike Johnson returned to practice on Monday and threw his helmet into the ring.
He apparently has some ground to make up. He’s listed as the No. 2 right guard behind Garrett Reynolds on the “unofficial” depth chart for the Jacksonville game that was released on Monday by the team.
On Monday, Johnson fully participated in his first practice since suffering a concussion on Aug. 4 and is ready to battle to see who will replace Harvey Dahl in the starting lineup.
“We still have three preseason games to go,” Johnson said. “There is plenty of camp left. I’m just looking forward to getting some work in and doing the best that I can.”
When camp opened, Johnson played left guard because Justin Blalock was a free-agent and couldn’t practice until the league’s new business year started.
On Thursday, Aug. 4, Blalock returned to practice and Johnson moved over to right guard to compete with Reynolds for Dahl’s old spot. Dahl signed with the St. Louis Rams during free agency.
On his first day at right guard, Johnson suffered a concussion. After going through the league’s concussion protocol, Johnson participated in parts of the practice on Sunday before getting his full clearance.
Johnson, a third-round pick (98th overall) in the 2010 draft, last started on the right side during his sophomore season at Alabama. He started eight games at right tackle and four at right guard from the Crimson Tide.
Johnson appears to be in an uphill battle to overtake Reynolds, who has gotten off to a good start.
“I’ve always been a believer that since I’m right-handed it is always easier on the right side,” Johnson said. “It’s just a matter of getting my footwork down and being able to get used to different looks and playing against different guys.”
Here’s the depth chart for the Jacksonville game, which is set for 8 p.m. Friday at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville.
WR 11 Jones 83 Douglas 14 Weems 15 Strickland 18 Beaumont 12 Cone
LT 72 Sam Baker 65 Jose Valdez
LG 63 Justin Blalock 69 Andrew Jackson 68 Paul Fenaroli
C 62 Todd McClure 61 Joe Hawley 67 Rob Bruggeman 64 Ryan McMahon
RG 75 Garrett Reynolds 79 Mike Johnson
RT 77 Tyson Clabo 74 Will Svitek 66 Matt Murphy
TE 88 Gonzalez 87 Peelle 81 Palmer 85 Branson 86 Winterswyk 48 Simmons
WR 84 White 80 Meier 16 Buckley 17 Harvey 19 Davis 89 Gore
QB 2 Matt Ryan 8 Chris Redman 4 John Parker Wilson 13 Adam Froman
RB 33 Turner 44 Snelling 27 Johnson 35 Smith 22 Rodgers 32 Sylvester
FB 34 Ovie Mughelli 42 Lucas Cox 40 Thor Merrow
RE 55 John Abraham 90 Lawrence Sidbury 98 Cliff Matthews 96 Emmanuel Stephens
DT 91 Corey Peters 99 Vance Walker 97 Trey Lewis 73 Carlton Powell
DT 95 Jonathan Babineaux 94 Peria Jerry 76 Kiante Tripp
LE 93 Ray Edwards 71 Kroy Biermann 92 Chauncey Davis 70 Tom McCarthy
OLB 56 Sean Weatherspoon 59 Spencer Adkins 51 Robert James 49 Youri Yenga
MLB 50 Curtis Lofton 52 Coy Wire 43 Akeem Dent 45 Bear Woods
OLB 54 Stephen Nicholas 53 Mike Peterson 46 LaMarcus Thompson
RCB 23 Dunta Robinson 21 Chris Owens 26 Kamaal McIlwain
LCB 20 Brent Grimes 24 Dominique Franks 29 Darrin Walls 37 Kirk Belgrave
SS 25 William Moore 36 Rafael Bush 38 Rafael Priest 30 Matt Hansen
FS 28 Thomas DeCoud 39 Shann Schillinger 41 Suaesi Tuimaunei
K 3 Matt Bryant
KO 5 Matt Bosher
P 5 Matt Bosher 6 Ken Parrish
KR 14 Eric Weems 83 Harry Douglas
PR 14 Eric Weems 83 Harry Douglas
LS 82 Joe Zelenka 47 Andrew Schulze
H 5 Matt Bosher 80 Kerry Meier
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog