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Injuries played a part in Jake Matthews’ struggles as a rookie.

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Most end up being like Jake Matthews, an above-average player who is improving but is still far from being a perennial All-Pro. And in today’s league, sometimes, that’s just fine. Line construction begins with and is dependent upon solidifying the left tackle position, but that’s only the beginning for franchises who take this approach.

I know, it sounds a little strange to me too. But Atlanta’s offense was high-flying because its offensive line became a cohesive unit that blocked well in run and cheap nfl jerseys free shipping┬ápass situations. A two-headed rushing attack of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman thrived inside and outside the tackles because the line, anchored at the center by Alex Mack, managed to open lanes to run. Just look at the Falcons’ first two plays of Super Bowl LI: Atlanta ran the same toss sweep (pulling franchise tackle Jake Matthews out into the open field as a lead blocker) twice in a row and found itself on the edge of New England territory as a result.

While evaluating Matthews throughout the season, former Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice believed Matthews’ sets were inconsistent. Tice constantly rode Matthews about his hand placement, telling him there was too much catching that led to being susceptible to bull rushes. Matthews’ run blocking was below average early in the season, but got better. And after a stretch of four or five strong games late in the season, Matthews bombed in the season finale against Carolina.

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Atlanta Falcons starting left tackle Jake Matthews, who underwent surgery in January to repair a torn Lisfranc ligament in his foot, was back on the field for Tuesday’s session of organized team activities.

The Atlanta Falcons have lost starting left tackle Sam Baker for the season with a torn patellar tendon, and as a result rookie right tackle Jake Matthews said he is ready to switch to left tackle.

Matthews has started all 47 regular-season games and all three playoff games he has played with the Falcons, missing only one regular-season game due to a high ankle sprain. He is set to make $2,665,386 for the 2017 season, including a roster bonus of $1,970,386 due on the third day of training camp.

After Freeman lost a yard on his next run, disaster struck for Atlanta. Ryan was sacked, Jake Matthews committed a holding penalty and the Falcons were forced to punt the ball back to the Patriots. Although play-caller Kyle Shanahan came under heavy fire for that sequence, he wasn’t alone in his aggressive approach to the possession. Just before Ryan took the field, Quinn implored, “Let’s go attack, Matt. Do what we do.”

Jake Matthews jersey

Nike Falcons #70 Jake Matthews White Men's Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey
Nike Falcons #70 Jake Matthews White Men’s Stitched NFL Vapor Untouchable Limited Jersey

Injuries played a part in Jake Matthews’ struggles as a rookie. “The way they’re featuring Clay is back to his traditional role as a pass rusher, so there will be some family-on-family crime for sure there,” said Falcons coach Dan Quinn on the Packers’ Clay Matthews going up against cousin Jake Matthews come Sunday night.

But not so fast. Clay Matthews is the left outside linebacker, meaning he’s likely to face Ryan Schraeder more than Jake Matthews. And Jake Matthews is more likely to see Packers right outside linebacker Nick Perry.

Still, Jake Matthews obviously knows how to compete against his cousin. Jake Matthews did not return to the contest after suffering a knee injury in the second quarter. The game was tied at 13 when the Falcons offensive lineman made his early exit. He was later seen going to the locker room.

Matthews’ return wasn’t the Falcons’ only encouraging news on the injury front. Starting strong safety William Moore returned to practice for the first time since undergoing significant right shoulder surgery in the winter. Starting center Joe Hawley was back at practice for the first time since tearing the ACL and MCL in his right knee. And rookie cornerback Jalen Collins, who underwent foot surgery prior to the draft, went through individual drills wearing a helmet.