Atlanta Falcons: Konz survived 80-round bout

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH:  Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012.      CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

061912 FLOWERY BRANCH: Falcons guard Peter Konz shares a laugh with offensive line coach Pat Hill at the start of the first day of mini-camp in Flowery Branch on Tuesday, June 19, 2012. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

By Michael Cunningham

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons offensive line coach Pat Hill told his charges that Sunday’s game against the Eagles would be like an 80-round boxing bout.

He didn’t mean it literally, but it felt all too real to rookie guard Peter Konz.

“I came out of the game looking like Rocky Balboa against Apollo Creed,” Konz said, referring to the fictional fights in the first two “Rocky” films. “I was just bleeding from everywhere a couple of times.”

The Eagles might have bloodied Konz’s lip, but he was still standing. There was the potential for a lopsided decision in favor of Philadelphia’s experienced defensive line, but Konz held his own in his first start.

With Garrett Reynolds slowed by a back injury, Konz, the Falcons’ top draft pick in April, played all 75 offensive snaps at right guard.

“It’s your first game starting in the NFL, playing on the road, playing in bad weather and oh, by the way, [Eagles tackle] Cullen Jenkins is a pretty good player,” Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said. “You factor in all that stuff, I thought he did fine. He will do nothing but improve. Hopefully we get Garrett back soon because that just increases our depth.”

Falcons coach Mike Smith said Reynolds was still dealing with the back issue last week. Konz took most of the practice repetitions with the first team.

“We felt like it was time to give [Konz] the opportunity to go in there and play,” Smith said. “After viewing the film, I thought he had a very solid game.”

Reynolds played solely on special teams against the Eagles. He appeared on the injury report before the game against the Raiders before the bye week, but ended up starting. Smith said Reynolds’ status for Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys “will be determined as we go through the week.”

Konz, the No. 55 overall draft pick out of Wisconsin, had played only 16 snaps on offense in the previous six games. He’s not sure if he’s a temporary fill-in as the starter, but said it has been his intention all along to get on the field.

“As far as the competition, I think it’s been a competition all season,” Konz said. “I don’t think there was a moment where I felt like there was a reason to [relax] or anything. Every week I’ve approached it like, if anyone goes down, I’m in. If coach wants me to put in, I’m in.”

The Falcons under Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff usually have put their top draft picks on the field right away. Quarterback Matt Ryan (2008), defensive tackle Peria Jerry (2009), linebacker Sean Weatherspoon (2010) and wide receiver Julio Jones (2011) started in their debut games.

Konz wasn’t a first-round pick like those players, and the Falcons have experienced veterans along the offensive line.

“They brought Peter in here to be a long-term player, and he got off to a good start,” Koetter said.

Konz said he was a bit winded after the Falcons’ opening drive, which lasted 16 plays and nearly nine minutes, but eventually settled down. Konz said center Todd McClure and left tackle Tyson Clabo, veterans with 22 years of experience between them, helped him by calling out the different stunts Philadelphia’s linemen were trying to run.

Before the draft, Konz was knocked for his relative lack of strength. He said there isn’t a lot of time to work on his strength during the season, but he plans to bulk up during the offseason.

Konz passed a big test when he was able to hold off the Eagles in a game that he likened to a brawl.

“I was watching film, and I saw a lot of good physical play out of myself and the whole line,” he said. “That was an important thing going on. I know I’ve got a couple things that have got to be corrected, a couple [quarterback] pressures [allowed] and a couple blocks I’d like to sustain longer, but for the most part I thought it was a good day.”

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35 comments Add your comment

Rise Up!

October 31st, 2012
7:30 am

#66 … start of an era!

win.

October 31st, 2012
7:32 am

Section242

October 31st, 2012
7:40 am

Let’s blow the saddle out from under the Cowboys. Rise Up! going for 8-0,

lowdownjj

October 31st, 2012
7:57 am

Let Konz play. Much more upside than Reynolds

Big Crimson 75

October 31st, 2012
8:02 am

Why lie??
This is yet another part of the Patriots Way, Gel-Hair could have left in NE.
No body is buying Reynolds all of a sudden got hurt!
He was benched. He deserved to be benched. He’s lousy.
He can’t block my grandmother.
Why reward his inferior play by smoke-screening he has an injury?
What message is this sending to everyone else on the Team?

Go Falcons

Mikey

October 31st, 2012
8:33 am

Very nice game Mr. Konz! Konz may not be able to lift max reps at the combine but he is smart enough, quick enough and strong enough to bowl over and contain one of the better tackles in the NFL all afternoon. It is hard to believe that this was his first game on the NFL field… he looked like a seasoned pro! So happy they got him. He is young and I’m sure will add strength over the next coupe of seasons. He is tough and has tremendous upside. The whole O-Line is looking better each week. GO FALCONS! YOU ARE RISING UP!

kd

October 31st, 2012
8:47 am

Go Konz, the o-line is the heart of the offense, qb gets the credit though

Falcon James

October 31st, 2012
8:48 am

Pretty sure we have seen the last of Garett Reynolds. I would be shocked if Konz didn’t earn the starting roll for the rest of the season with how he played Sunday. He looked good and even though the rushing attack still looked stale, we had the best rushing game of the season with him in there.

North FLA Falcon

October 31st, 2012
9:09 am

Big Crimson — personally I like this approach. We’re not like the Jets or the Panthers, calling people out. Smitty is a class guy. He’s going to ease in a new guy and phase out the old one, quietly. To me, the message he’s sending to the team is — we are here to WIN!!!

PMC

October 31st, 2012
9:19 am

It’s generally never a bad idea to take good linemen from Wisconsin.

Now if we could only get Barrett Jones….

FalFan

October 31st, 2012
9:20 am

I think the Falcons have been playing it right. Rookies have been known to hit a wall later in the season, so it’s better they slowly brought along Konz so he can be productive in the playoffs, where we’ll definately need him.

Terrell

October 31st, 2012
10:09 am

Move Reynolds back to his natural spot at RT and he will be a better player. I think even better than Clabo who we signed as a guard but had to move him to RT when our former RT Todd Weiner got injured and eventually retired.

Th

October 31st, 2012
10:44 am

Reynolds was a late 5th round pick at tackle and only took the starting job at guard because Mike Johnson is a bust. Maybe Alabama linemen are just overrated or we just pick the wrong ones.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

October 31st, 2012
11:05 am

Big Crimson 75 — He was on the injury report before Oakland game.

Jimmy Crack

October 31st, 2012
11:24 am

“…but he plans to bulk up during the offseason.”

He’s already 6′6″, 320lbs. When he bulks up Peter will be All-Pro in two years.

KONZ!!!

old man

October 31st, 2012
12:15 pm

DOL, I saw Antone Smith was probable for Philly, and I did not hear of any re-injury, so is it possible he could see 2 or 3 carries Sunday? Quizz had one pretty odd looking run which broke for yardage, but otherwise, he has not looked good. The running game has been the only facet to look flaccid so far (”flaccid facet,” pretty good, eh?) so couldn’t they just let Antone have his SECOND career carry, just to see what happens? PLEASE???

old man

October 31st, 2012
12:16 pm

And I hear Antone is one of the 2 or 3 fastest guys on the team. True?

Pablo

October 31st, 2012
12:20 pm

I don’t think “The Konz” is going anywhere for the next 15 years. We could use 4 more just like him!
Is that mammoth sized tackle we drafted anywhere near being ready to play? This could finally be the year of the Bird.

Michael M .

October 31st, 2012
12:39 pm

yup , Falcons need some big guys like him on the line………………would love to have a couple more his size……………….hehehehe…………lets see, we playing the cowboys Sunday ? Cowboys will practically give the win to Atlanta by turning the ball over and giving Atlanta good field position……………………….we ain’t losing this week people……………….Atlanta will be 8 – 0

Mr. Mustard

October 31st, 2012
12:48 pm

In addition to winning the football game of course, I hope we whip the Cowboys because they are the Cowboys.

Undefeated is unlikely, but you look at our remaining schedule coupled with the way the Falcons are playing and it is possible.

Home field advantage throughout the playoffs, with a weeks rest. Wow.

I was concerned after Oakland because it looked like they were falling into the same pattern from previous years, but then we played Philly.

These new coordinators seem to have brought the willingness to change and be creative we so desparately needed.

I am very impressed and cannot wait for Sunday night. Football party, the family is coming over to watch this game.

Thanks guys.

fanATicaL

October 31st, 2012
12:52 pm

Now seeing Konz, next should be Mr Holmes. Surely that foot or ankle injury is healed by now.

marcus

October 31st, 2012
12:58 pm

Kind did look good Sunday is he reason why the running game looked okay if the running looks that way or better this Sunday then we need to keep him in the lineup for real

marcus

October 31st, 2012
1:01 pm

Who is Holmes going to replace not baker because bowlers looking better than clabo if I ask me

Unsung Heroes

October 31st, 2012
1:02 pm

King Konz

Go Angry Birds..!!

Mee Too

October 31st, 2012
1:42 pm

“We felt like it was time to give [Konz] the opportunity to go in there and play,” Smith said. “After viewing the film, I thought he had a very solid game.”

There is no time like the present to play these young guys. What’s the hold up?

[...] Peter Konz, who played in place of an injured Garrett Reynolds Sunday, played all 75 offensive snaps and got good reviews form the coaching staff. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution] [...]

Loyalfalconfrmthemississippi

October 31st, 2012
3:20 pm

Actually i believe holmes is a natural RT now i dont see it happening but id like to see him take some snaps in clabos place, clabo hasnt been good this year but it looks like hes a little better with konz playing at RG so maybe the main issue was reynolds, konz played like a boss great job on the line, give holmes some snaps definately!!!! Go falcons

Jo-Ja Boi

October 31st, 2012
3:21 pm

Crimson, You may not want to devalue a player in the event another team may be interested or may even invest time and money on a player you may no longer have use for. Additionaly Reynolds is one injury away from being back in the starting lineup, so I am sure the staff wouldn’t want to damage the ego/psyche of a player they may very well have to depend on in the future. If the injury even slightly affected his play then sit him and give the rook some reps….

WS

October 31st, 2012
5:11 pm

Do not give falcons a win over cowboys before game starts . Cowboys has always handled Falcons.
I want Falcons too win, but lets see which team shows up , cowboys can beat any team they play ,I pull for every team to beat cowboys, Because of Jerry Jones , I do not like cowboys!!

longsuffering

October 31st, 2012
7:29 pm

Running game really wasn’t that good, if you take away one Matty scramble and Quizz’s 43-yard jaunt. Not knocking Konz and glad to see him get in there. But Michael Turner looks SOOOO SLOW and Quizz isn’t big and strong enough to break tackles inside. That’s why I’m so glad for the pass first concept this year; it makes our lack of a running game less of a liability.

Th

October 31st, 2012
7:51 pm

Antone Smith played on special teams at Philly. Time to give him the ball a few times. I’m not sold on Quizz though I loved the game where he went nuts against USC.

Cowboys stomped us under the old offensive regime. Not this one.

shelia

November 1st, 2012
1:00 am

Lets not get ahead of ourselves its one game at a time…Lets show our team how proud we are of them….Get to the game EARLY let them see us in our seats when they come out for warm ups…Lets get ready to rumble and scream from kick off till 0 seconds on the clock……LETS RISE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!for our team…..

marcus

November 1st, 2012
1:10 am

the running game wasn’t great but we haven’t had the running lanes in the previcous six game like we had last sunday so it was a improvement we all know turner is the guy with the burst he’s gone to have room to get up to speed as for quizz he’ll show more with the more carries he gets if u ask me most back are like quarterback they have to get into a rhythm thou i would like to see smith as well i think he could do something as well

D man

November 1st, 2012
7:52 pm

I want to shout out to Sam Baker for doing a great job coming back from an injury year. Everyone was giving him a hard time the last couple of years. Well Sam, this ones for you Pal. Great job this year…

[...] Peter Konz, the Falcons top draft in 2012, started the last two games for Reynolds. [...]