Falcons sign lineman Chris Chester

The Falcons needed another lineman and got one in Chris Chester.

Chris Chester was released on Wednesday by the Washington Redskins, and it did not take him long to find a team that was in need of help at offensive guard.

The Falcons needed another option for an offensive line that is in transition. They released veteran Justin Blalock, believing he did not fit in new zone blocking scheme employed by new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.

Well, Chester played a few years for Shanahan while with the Redskins, so he's likely a perfect fit for what the Falcons need on the offensive line.

Chester worked out for the Falcons earlier Friday and then agreed to a contract later in the day. He was also linked to the Eagles.

The 32-year-old Chester was originally a second round draft pick in 2006 out of Oklahoma by the Baltimore Ravens. in his five seasons with Baltimore, Chester started 47 of 73 games played. Then Chester signed a long-term contract with the Redskins, starting all 16 games in each of the last four seasons.

Chester is 6-3 and weighs 303 pounds. Will he simply replace Blalock, or will Chester have to battle with Mike Person and Harland Gunn for playing time?

Person, who is 6-4 and listed at 299 pounds, was signed and pretty quickly the coaches hinted he could be Blalock's replacement. But we are talking about a player that has mostly been on practice squads the last few seasons. Person had one game played in 2013 and then last year was a reserve for the Rams and played in all 16 games. But he's never made a start in his NFL career.

With Chester's experience as a starter, you would believe he would have an advantage over Person.

The Falcons previously signed offensive tackle Tyler Polumbus, a teammate of Chester's who had also been released by the Redskins. Some wondered when that happened if that was a sign Sam Baker might move from tackle to guard to help replace Blalock. Atlanta also has Joe Hawley, who is penciled in as the starting center but could be pushed back to guard if James Stone shows he should hold onto the job.

Atlanta has increased its depth tremendously with the additions of Polumbus and now Chester. The team needs several players - Baker, Hawley, Lamar Holmes, Peter Konz and even Jake Matthews - to return from serious injuries from last season.





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