Atlanta Falcons: Lamar Holmes ready to make his debut

051112 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons offensive lineman Lamar Holmes stands on the sidelines with a boot on his foot the first day of practice with the team in Flowery Branch, Friday, May 11, 2012.   CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

051112 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons offensive lineman Lamar Holmes stands on the sidelines with a boot on his foot the first day of practice with the team in Flowery Branch, Friday, May 11, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

FLOWERY BRANCH — Shortly after being drafted by the Falcons, left tackle Lamar Holmes made a bold statement.

“I’ve got to go in there and take somebody’s spot,” Holmes said. “I’ve got to earn a job. I’ve got to be on the field. I’m not here to make friends.”

Then he went out and broke a toe in his foot. He missed all of the offseason workouts and parts of training camp. Holmes has recovered and will take his first steps toward earning an NFL job against the Miami Dolphins at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Sun Life Stadium.

“He’ll get a lot of reps against Miami and that will be good for him,” said offensive line coach Pat Hill. “Those will be his first real live [plays.]”

The Falcons took a gamble on Holmes in the third round of the NFL draft. A lot of the draft prognosticators had the Southern Mississippi product going later in the draft. NFLdraftscout.com had Holmes rated as the 20th best tackle in the draft and projected that he’d go in the sixth or seventh round.

But the Falcons liked Holmes’ athletic ability, leadership traits and nastiness enough to turn in his draft card as the 91st overall pick. He was the 10th tackle selected. The next three tackles picked were Utah’s Tony Bergstrom (Oakland, 95th), Mississippi’s Bobby Massie (Arizona, 112th) and Auburn’s Brandon Mosley (New York Giants, 131st)

With Sam Baker in the last year of his contract and his backup Will Svitek being lost for the season with an upper right arm injury, the stakes on the Holmes gamble are even higher now.

It’s clear that the Falcons want to see what they have in Holmes. When Holmes is not in the action at practice, he’s usually standing right next to Hill getting coached on the finer points of the NFL game.

Before and after practice, Hill spends extra time with Holmes on the field working on techniques.

072612 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons offensive guard (79) Mike Johnson loosens up for the opening day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, July 26, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

072612 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons offensive guard (79) Mike Johnson loosens up for the opening day of training camp in Flowery Branch on Thursday, July 26, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

“He’s coming along after missing minicamp and all of those practices that we had in the preseason,” Hill said. “That’s took its toll because it’s more difficult watching as opposed to participating. He’s had about six days, maybe five in pads where it’s moving at full speed.”

The transition to the NFL has been more difficult than Holmes’ expected.

“I’d be lying to you if I told you it was easy,” Holmes said. “I’ve been behind for a little while. I’ve been working with Coach Hill, coach[Mike] Smith, all of the trainers; everybody has been doing a little bit to try and help me get back out there.”

Holmes appreciates the extra attention.

“The coaches are doing everything possible that they can to try to help me along the way,” Holmes said. “So I feel pretty good about where I’m at right now.”

Holmes has been an eager learner and appears to be absorbing Hill’s teachings.

Southern Mississippi offensive lineman Lamar Holmes, left, blocks Auburn offensive lineman A J Greene during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Southern Mississippi offensive lineman Lamar Holmes, left, blocks Auburn offensive lineman A J Greene during a drill at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

“He’s very conscientious,” Hill said. “The big thing is like when you’re taking driver’s [education], you’ve always got that guy next to you with a steering wheel and a brake. Practice is a little bit like that. …When you get in the game that’s the first time that you send your kid out driving.”

Holmes is looking forward to his debut against the Dolphins.

“The main thing that I noticed is that I’m starting to see that it’s all about a hands game,” Holmes said. “You must have great hand placement and you’ve got to learn to use your hands at all times.”

He played left tackle for two years at Southern Mississippi. He played both left and right tackle at Itawamba Community College.

“It’s a major task because you’ve got to protect the quarterback’s blindside,” Holmes said. “Not only the quarterback, but everybody on the team is counting on you to protect your quarterback’s blindside. It’s going to be tough but it’s still a kid’s game. It’s still football. …I’m not saying it’s going to be easy by no means. But if you know how to play football, eventually you’ll catch on.”

Baker’s job is likely safe, but Holmes can let the Falcons know if they need to find a veteran backup as a salary cap casualty or if he can handle the No. 2 tackle position.

It doesn’t appear that he has to take anyone’s spot. There is a job sitting there waiting for him to fill it.

“It’s very, very important that he gets some good reps so that we can get a true evaluation,” Hill said.

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41 comments Add your comment

FalconsElite

August 23rd, 2012
12:19 am

Paddy

August 23rd, 2012
1:15 am

Like his attitude. Falcon fans will be watching him close in the next 2 games.

CaliDirtyBird

August 23rd, 2012
1:20 am

Last! At least for the moment!

[...] to Original Content From Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog): read more Related Articles Share About Author [...]

Joe Tess Fish House

August 23rd, 2012
7:36 am

I can here it now HOLDING NUMER 76……10 YARDS REPEAT THID DOWN

usually I just read but...

August 23rd, 2012
7:57 am

I hope this works out. Honestly, I don’t understand TD’s persistance to go against consensus evulations with some of his draft picks. So far he’s been burned every time. Finding a “diamond in the rough” will certainly put a feather in your cap, BUT, finding one with a LOW draft pick would be more impressive to me than making a huge reach of 3 to 4 rounds.

dbird1

August 23rd, 2012
8:03 am

nothing worse than repeating THID down.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

August 23rd, 2012
8:05 am

usually I just read but … — His gamble on Corey Peters worked out. This appears to be an even bigger gamble.

Seen This B4

August 23rd, 2012
8:55 am

I project this guy to be nothing more than a name on the falcan’t practice team roster this year….

North FLA Falcon

August 23rd, 2012
9:01 am

He looks like a physical freak. Let’s see what he can do.

Bigsapp1

August 23rd, 2012
9:02 am

A big strong tackle who has good feet and is known for his pass blocking, but needs work in the running game. I will take that gamble all day. LT are expensive and are hard to find in this league. I think the extra work the coaches are putting in with him shows that they see something in this kid already.

Sun Tzu 7

August 23rd, 2012
9:32 am

I forgot he missed all of the OTAs as well as parts of camp.

While I would LOVE for this guy to come in an do something the odds are not in his favor.

Another Rick

August 23rd, 2012
9:45 am

I would expect all Aint fans (Seen/Fish tess) to pray that this was a bad pick. Be careful, I like this pick because the guy is humble and shows he wants to be good at his craft. Tonight he starts his pro career and as the Rise Up Nation gets ready for the season we got his back!

buckhead benny

August 23rd, 2012
10:41 am

The DT from Clemson we could have had Thompson is killing it for Cincinatti pushing the DT Geno Atkins who by the way made the pro bowl- that’s who everyone including the draft pundits scratchec their head at why the falcons passed up on- You don’t pass up on sure talent for gambles like this-

You should lose your job over a draft like this in my opinion- can’t afford it when you don’t have a first to be taking such horrible third round picks-

Let me remind everyone where we stand with TD’s horrible third round picks- this is where he thinks his football IQ surpasses everyone and goes beyond conventional wisdom=

Chris Owens- Mike Johnson, Akeem Dent, Lamar Holmes- You take the sure pick that slid down for some reason because he ran a slow 40 but was an all american in college…
All 4 of these guys were rated 4th round or lower- this means they fell in love at the combine and started targeting guys instead of drafting best available…

buckhead benny

August 23rd, 2012
10:42 am

Akeem Dent played special teams last year…

buckhead benny

August 23rd, 2012
10:43 am

And got knocked out of a preseason game by I think the punter….

Surg

August 23rd, 2012
11:03 am

It wasn’t the punter fool and it was a helmet to helmet that wasn’t called he aimed right for his chin…

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]

the silverman

August 23rd, 2012
11:18 am

I dont get people who call a player a bust before they even touch the field. Although I would love to see Holmes play so well he replaces Baker I wouldnt bet on it. For this year I see Holmes learning the system to be Bakers possible replacement for next year. Although it wouldnt surprise me to see him in the lineup this year due to a Sam Baker injury

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday morning that rookie offensive tackle Lamar Holmes, who missed the entire [...]

[...] Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday morning that rookie offensive tackle Lamar Holmes, who missed the entire [...]

PMC

August 23rd, 2012
12:16 pm

I have high hopes for Holmes, but they still need to find a veteran backup.

mountain_jim

August 23rd, 2012
12:42 pm

‘lose your job over a draft like this?’

I laughed. I guess you were not around during all the years preceding the current regime, with aggregate win/loss results better than any previous by far.

I also have high hopes for this pick, as great LT’s are hard to find, and Baker can’t stay healthy and has other issues.

It’s not just the draft you rate a GM on: wins and loses, FA signings – for which TD has done pretty well, and coaches and coordinator selections, which just got a serious upgrade for this season.

If Holmes turns into a bust, and the team finishes with a losing record and out of the playoffs this season, then TD will have lost the credibility based on overall record he currently and appropriately enjoys.

MaxxFalcon

August 23rd, 2012
1:55 pm

I’m very excited to see Holmes, he looked like a great prospect in college. Once he gets his bearings, he will be an excellent LT. I expect him to be starting at LT for the Falcons by next season. The guy I’ve noticed at LT that nobody seems to be talking about is Bryce Harris. He looked great against Cincy last week, engulfing Dontay Moch on each play, mirroring and sliding with him and never getting beat by Moch’s 4.4 speed off the edge. He is a guy that played very well under Pat Hill at Fresno St. After switching to LT from Defensive Tackle. Good athlete for his size. I’m definitely going to keep my eye on him. In addition to Bryce Harris, Peyton Thompson and Rico Council have been the UDFA that have impressed me the most so far this preseason. I think Peyton Thompson is a much more natural corner than Franks or Owens. Rico Council looks like a Curtis Lofton clone, but seems to be a better communicator and a much more positive leader than Lofton.

This Gets Old

August 23rd, 2012
3:30 pm

@mountain jim – “I laughed. I guess you were not around during all the years preceding the current regime, with aggregate win/loss results better than any previous by far.”

Time will tell but I find it best to not judge by our wretchedness prior to this regime. Just because the Pat Peppler’s et al were awful doesn’t make these current guys great. NFC South hasn’t been the strongest division by far.

mountain_jim

August 23rd, 2012
3:39 pm

Hey MaxxFalcon, I did not remember the Hill connection with Harris, or that he was looking good.

It’s possibly due to Hill coaching Holmes at the Shrine Bowl that Holmes was ‘reached’ for in the first place. He may have seen a player with all the physical tools that just needed to be coached up, something Hill is very good at, apparently.

MaxxFalcon

August 23rd, 2012
4:39 pm

@ mountain_jim- Good point, I never considered that Hill coached Holmes at the Shrine Bowl. That makes me even more confident that Holmes will turn out to be a good player for us. I trust in Pat Hill when it comes to evaluating and coaching O-lineman.

1danielbell

August 23rd, 2012
5:28 pm

He’s a big guy. If he is even decent, he ought to beat our Sam Baker by week four.

Ken

August 23rd, 2012
5:44 pm

We all know that Deadbeat Baker is not going to be any better than he has in the past. Baker has su3k his whole carear. Dont take my word for it look at Bakers stats. one of the worse stating tackles in the NFL on letting in sacks an persures. IF Holmes cant start we need to move Clabo to LT and Holmes to RT. Come on TD Cut Baker and move on before you get Matt hurt. You made a bad draft pick Baker so what?? MOve ON CUT him NOW!! >G<

OldDog

August 23rd, 2012
6:15 pm

“Then he (i.e. LT-Holmes) went out and broke a toe in his foot.”

Do you get paid by the word? If so, you should have told us which toe and which foot – lol.

ATLJBO

August 23rd, 2012
6:47 pm

D-Led… If you get a chance… Watch the game Vinny Curry (2nd rounder) went against Holmes…. Greg Cosell talked about it,,,, Holmes did his thing vs Curry while Mike Adams struggled….

Holmes has the tools… Its just he is raw technique wise.

Flo-Ri-Duh

August 24th, 2012
7:49 am

Holmes is a long way from taking anybody’s job. Arrogance.

Flo-Ri-Duh

August 24th, 2012
7:50 am

Broke a toe on his foot. does he have a toe any where else? Did you get your degree from Toys R Us?

Mikey

August 24th, 2012
8:23 am

I’m anxious to watch Holmes in his first NFL on-field play. He has looked a little rough in practice but that can be expected with a broken toe (anywhere on his body). He is a very large man and covers a lot of the field just standing there. His work ethic and desire to improve will be what make him a pro-bowler over time. I have no great concerns over his capability at the start of his career. I will wait to see his demonstrated capability at its finish. The issue now is whether the Falcons will have to pick up a free agent tackle for backup this season. His play in this game will certainly factor into that decision.

He appears to be exceptionally strong too. I trust the opinion of the Falcons coaches SO much more than that of draft pundits and so-called Falcons fans. I suspect he will develop into a solid backup within a month or two. If not, certainly by next season. I wish him the best and know he will apply himself to excellence. GO FALCONS!

GT GRAD

August 24th, 2012
10:21 am

“Baker’s job is likely safe, but Holmes can let the Falcons know if they need to find a veteran backup as a salary cap casualty or if he can handle the No. 2 tackle position.”

It is blatantly obvious we need to find a veteran backup LT as a salary cap casualty…….I am simply keeping my fingers crossed that a solid LT becomes available and agrees to sign with the Falcons!

Holmes is NOT the answer for this season. Period. Sam Baker will be adequate (hopefully better than adequate since this is his contract year); however, I would feel sooooooo much better if we get lucky and find a solid LT in free agency (SOON). A truly solid LT would more than likely work his way into the starting line-up by the end of the season. I would bet Lamar Holmes will end up on the practice squad……we reached drafting him in the 3rd round

I hope and pray that I am completely wrong about Sam Baker………it would be great if he has fully recovered from the nagging injuries and he proves to be a solid & consistent LT!!!!!!!

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]

[...] Falcons third-round pick Lamar Holmes set to make his debut vs. Dolphins [...]