FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – Peter Konz had his proverbial baptism by fire as a rookie when he started 12 games at right guard for the Atlanta Falcons.
Now that he's the starting center following the retirement of Todd McClure, Konz should be grateful for the experience when Atlanta opens the regular season Sept. 8 at New Orleans.
There's still much to learn, particularly in making the right calls to keep quarterback Matt Ryan upright and clear space for running back Steven Jackson.
Konz, a second-round draft pick last year, was a three-year starting center at Wisconsin, but the Falcons slid him in at right guard when Garrett Reynolds suffered a season-ending back injury.
Coach Mike Smith says Konz did his job well enough that the Falcons never hesitated to make him the starting center.