Each day leading up to the start of training camp, we’ll look at a major issue that faces the Falcons and head coach Dan Quinn as he’s set to enter his third season with the team.
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Can left tackle Jake Matthews have a breakthrough season in 2017?
When you’re drafted sixth overall in the NFL draft, the hope is that the player will develop into a cornerstone of the franchise.
The Falcons selected Matthews in the first round of the 2014 draft. Matthews has been solid, but not spectacular heading into his fourth season.
He started 15 games his rookie season and made a big jump in year two. Last season, he seemed to plateau as he had a 77.6 overall ranking from Pro Football Focus (75 is average) and he was the 34th ranked offensive tackle.
He was better in pass protection (81.5) and his run blocking grade (59) was sub-standard.
Despite the less than stellar play, the team exercised Matthews’ fifth-year option in April.
Matthews has played in 47 regular-season games, all starts. He missed one game his rookie season.
Matthews originally signed a four-year contract worth $16.5 million. He’s now under contract through the 2018 season, with the option being worth $12.3 million.
The year of seasoning at right tackle may have been helpful for Matthews, who was rushed into action at left tackle as a rookie after Sam Baker went down with a knee injury in the third exhibition game. He received his promotion on “Hard Knocks” when then-offensive line coach Mike Tice told him that he was moving from right tackle to left tackle.
Matthews has been steady, though playing below the Pro Bowl level.
Matthews, who is the son of Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, played 978 snaps last season.
COUNTDOWN TO TRAINING CAMP
Countdown to Camp: Day 5 -- Neal looking to make big leap
Countdown to Camp: Day 4 -- Deion Jones to follow up All-Rookie season
Countdown to Camp: Day 3 -- What will MVP Matt Ryan do for an encore?
Countdown to Camp: Day 2 -- What makes Julio Jones so great?
Countdown to Camp: Day 1 -- Did the Falcons protect the Brotherhood?
Here’s the training camp schedule:
Wednesday, July 26th — Team Reports for Camp
Thursday, July 27th — Practice: 9:30 a.m. – Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Friday, July 28th — Practice 9:30 a.m. – Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Saturday, July 29th — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Sunday, July 30th — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Monday, July 31st — Players Off
Tuesday, August 1st — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Wednesday, August 2nd — Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, August 3rd —Practice 9:30 a.m. - Gates open to public at 8:30 a.m.
Friday, August 4th — Practice 5:05 p.m. – Gates open to the public at 4:05 p.m.
Saturday, August 5th —Players Off
Sunday, August 6th — Practice 9:45 a.m. – Gates open to the public at 8:15 a.m.
Monday, August 7th — Practice 9:30 a.m.
Tuesday, August 8th — Practice 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday, August 9th — Walkthrough
Thursday, August 10th — at Miami Dolphins – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, August 11th — Walkthrough
Saturday, August 12th — Players Off
Sunday, August 13th — Practice 9:30 a.m.
Monday, August 14th —Practice 9:30 a.m.
2017 ATLANTA FALCONS 90-MAN ROSTER ANALYSIS
THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT