While Gono’s injury was unknown, Rothstein added that it was not season-ending.
Fast forward to Tuesday, July 27 and Gono was spotted at the Falcons’ first day of training camp with a neck brace on, AJC‘s Orlando Ledbetter reported .
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Gono Is the Projected Left Guard Starter
Gono originally signed with Atlanta as an undrafted free agent following the 2018 NFL draft. He spent last year at the backup swing tackle behind Jake Matthews and Kaleb McGary.
He ended up seeing action in all 16 games with four starts. He played a total of 337 offensive snaps in addition to 80 snaps on special teams. He signed his restricted free agent tender this offseason, which cost the Falcons $3.3 million and is guaranteed.
The 25-year-old is expected to start at left guard this season after playing just one game in the spot last year.
Second-year guard Matt Hennessy and rookies Jalen Mayfield and Drew Dalman might be the ones to fill in for Gono if he’s not ready to go by Week 1.
The Left Guard Spot Remains Open
If you haven’t learned by now, then you will this offseason that the left guard position has been unstable for at least three seasons.
James Carpenter was the Week 1 starting left guard in both 2019 and 2020, but injuries hindered his potential. And in order to make some room, the Falcons released the vet this offseason.
Depending on whoever wins the center position battle between Hennessey and Dalman, the Falcons could have their answer in the loser right there.
But during OTA’s and minicamp, the Falcons turned to free agent signee Josh Andrews and Mayfield at left guard.
Andrews, 29, has been bouncing around the NFL and played just one game at left guard last season. Meanwhile, Mayfield, a Michigan product, was projected to go off the boards a lot sooner than in the round, has played primarily at right tackle.
Gono, when healthy again, will also take part in the right tackle battle between Kaleb McGary and Mayfield.
Falcons New OL Jason Spriggs Will Also Compete
The Falcons signed two free agents this week, including versatile offensive lineman Jason Spriggs, who is a former 2016 second-round pick by the Packers.
Spriggs has yet to play a key position with injuries constantly getting in the way. Most recently, he spent the 2020 season playing with the Chicago Bears.
At 27 years old and through five NFL seasons, Spriggs has seen action in 44 games over four seasons with nine starts.
With Gono’s status unknown and a dire need at left guard, it makes sense as to why the Falcons signed Spriggs, who will likely fall into the heated competition during training camp and shoot for a swing tackle job. And with the Falcons offensive line currently in shambles, he shouldn’t have a problem making the final roster.