Saturday, January 11, 2014
Offensive line self-evaluation: Harland Gunn
By Vaughn McClure
No one expected much from Harland Gunn during the 2013 season, so it was a bonus when the Atlanta Falcons offensive guard showed an ability to run block late in the season.
In fact, he probably showed more promise than any other right guard at season’s end, with Garrett Reynolds losing his starting job to demoted center Peter Konz, then Konz losing reps to Gunn.
Not to say Gunn is the answer at the position. He still has a lot of growing to do. He might, however, be a player new offensive line coch Mike Tice can develop and get the best out of.
Here’s Gunn's self-evaluation of his limited playing time in ’13:
Harland Gunn Position: guard
Contract statuss: Signed through 2014 ($570,000 cap number in 2014)
2013 games played/starts: 3/0
Overview: Gunn was inactive for the first 13 games before the coaching staff decided it was time to give him a long look. The former undrafted player from Miami (Fla.) actually made an immediate impact as a blocker, though Gunn wasn’t quite ready for prime time after watching from the sideline so long. Since Gunn is inexpensive, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Falcons kept him around for depth. But he’s probably not ready to be a starter despite some positive signs.
Gunn’s self-evaluation: "I felt like it was an awesome experience; it was a great learning experience, especially how it all played out. Of course I didn’t play in the earlier parts of the season, but I played in the last parts of it. I got to get some last-minute experience. It was a great deal for me to take everything that I learned from playing in the last few games and carry that into the offseason with my training and getting my skills better and really coming out next year and being a true contributing player to the team. Game experience is everything in this league. You get to learn guys, learn how the game is played, learn the tempo of it.
"One thing I’m really focusing on this offseason is this is a passing league, so, as always, I’m going to get bigger, faster, and stronger. But I really want to focus on my skills and honing in on how focused I am with my skill work and executing.’’
Sunday: Ryan Schraeder