- Vaughn McClure, ESPN Staff Writer
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Although the severity of Carimi's injury remains unclear, he has already made a strong impression. The former first-round draft pick of Chicago seems to be over the knee injuries that plagued him with the Bears. He has displayed toughness throughout training camp, as evident from his fight with outside linebacker Stansly Maponga that was captured on HBO's "Hard Knocks."
More than anything, Carimi has shown versatility. Offensive line coach Mike Tice said he has been impressed with how Carimi has handled playing both guard spots as well as right tackle. But as a backup guard is where Carimi will help the Falcons the most. Once he gets his hands on the opponent, it's tough for the opposition to get by him. Carimi's 6-foot-7-inch, 316-pound frame certainly helps his cause.
Tice coached Carimi in Chicago, and Carimi had his best success with the Bears at guard after failing at both tackle spots.
Based on Tice's assessment, likely swing-tackle candidate Ryan Schraeder and Carimi have been the best of the backup offensive linemen. Tackle Lamar Holmes has steadily improved since the start of camp, and guard Harland Gunn has had moments in one-on-one drills but allowed a few sacks in full-team drills during a joint scrimmage with the Tennessee Titans.
Tice should get a true measure of the progress of his line and his depth when the Falcons host the Miami Dolphins in exhibition play Friday night.
When the Atlanta Falcons return to practice today, offensive lineman Gabe Carimi will be sidelined with a sprained ankle, as first reported by Fox Sports.