2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons shift Matthews to left tackle for Baker

By PAUL NEWBERRY - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-18 17:34

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - When the Atlanta Falcons drafted Jake Matthews, they figured he would take over at left tackle someday.

They didn't expect it to be this soon.

Midway through his first NFL preseason, the Falcons shifted Matthews across the line on Monday to replace Sam Baker, who went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Matthews, the No. 6 overall pick, was expected to break into the league at right tackle, a less-demanding position than protecting quarterback Matt Ryan's blind side.

Now, the rookie will have to step up to the challenge right away.

''I think the coaches are going to put me in good situations,'' Matthews said. ''If I keep getting reps, I'll be ready to go.''

Baker sustained a torn patellar tendon in his right knee during a 32-7 loss to the Houston Texans in a preseason game last Saturday night, hindering Atlanta's plans for revamping the offensive line.

The team struggled mightily up front last season, a big reason the Falcons ranked last in the league in rushing and gave up 44 sacks, the most in Ryan's career.

Not surprisingly, the Falcons used their top draft pick on Matthews and signed free agent Jon Asamoah, another instant starter at right guard. Baker, a former first-round pick who played only four games last season because of a knee injury, also was part of the rebuilding effort.

Coach Mike Smith tried to put the best face on Baker going down again.

''As soon as we had confirmation that Sam wasn't going to be able to play anymore this season, it's an easy switch,'' Smith said. ''Jake is a No. 1 pick, the sixth pick in the draft, he's got left tackle written all over him.''

Former starter Lamar Holmes, who had been listed as Baker's backup, moved over to take Matthews' spot on the right side. Gabe Carimi and Ryan Schraeder will compete for playing time as well, though Carimi is banged up at the moment.

''You just flip your mind, get over to that other side, and continue to play fast,'' said Holmes, who started 15 games last season - essentially because the team had few other choices - but has yet to show he can handle a first-team job.

The Falcons have no such concerns about Matthews, who played left tackle at Texas A&M and was projected to take over that position at some point in the NFL.

''Jake is comfortable playing both right and left,'' Smith said. ''I don't think he'll blink. We're not.''

Even so, the newest version of the offensive line got a lot of attention at its first practice together. During one drill, assistant coach Mike Tice shouted instructions while Smith and general manager Thomas Dimitroff stood nearby, watching intently.

''Look how big a hole you're leaving with your feet,'' Tice barked to a lineman. ''Come on, man, details.''

Matthews knows there will be an adjustment period as he makes the switch, especially since he's only played two preseason games. He'll have to switch up his footwork to get blocking leverage off his left leg instead of his right.

''It's almost like going from your right hand to your left,'' Matthews said. ''But I did them both in college. I feel pretty comfortable on both sides.''

His job going forward it to make sure Ryan feels comfortable with a rookie protecting his back side.

''Honestly, it's not that big a difference for me,'' Matthews said. ''I put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. Whether it's on the right or left side, I put just as much pressure on myself.''

NOTES: The Falcons officially placed Baker on injured reserve and signed OT Pat McQuistan. The 317-pound McQuistan has played in 72 games with 11 starts over a career that includes stints with Dallas, Miami, New Orleans and Arizona. ... Smith said the competition is heating up at nickel back, a position filled the last two years by Robert McClain. Josh Wilson came aboard after starting every game the last three seasons for Washington. Another newcomer, Javier Arenas, will likely get more of a chance to show what he can do in Saturday's preseason game against Tennessee.

---

AP NFL websites: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Kirk CousinsAug 31 09:32a

Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Robert Griffin III, according to a source.

Ryan BroylesAug 31 09:12a

Detroit Lions WR Ryan Broyles was cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Gerell RobinsonAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Kevin ConeAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

LaRon ByrdAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

David PaulsonAug 31 08:42a

San Diego Chargers TE David Paulson, QB Chase Rettig, TE Logan Stokes, WR Titus Davis and RB Jahwan Edwards were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Daniel ThomasAug 31 08:32a

Chicago Bears RB Daniel Thomas, TE Kevin Greene, WR Jeremy Kelley, WR Levi Norwood and TE Chris Pantale were cut Sunday, Aug. 30. WR John Chiles (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Menelik WatsonAug 31 08:22a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson (Achilles') said on Twitter that he is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

Vaughn MartinAug 31 05:22a

Kansas City Chiefs CB Aaron Hester was among 11 players cut by the team on the weekend of Aug. 30-31. Other players included WR Kenny Cook, T Anthony Dima, [ More ]

Amari CooperAug 31 12:02a

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper had four catches for 62 yards in a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Aug. 30.

Brandon BostickAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut TE Brandon Bostick Sunday, Aug. 30.

Joe BanyardAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut RB Joe Banyard Sunday, Aug. 30.

Tim JenningsAug 30 07:22p

The Chicago Bears have released CB Tim Jennings Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a source informed of the team's plans.

Randall CobbAug 30 04:42p

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) has been diagnosed with an AC joint sprain, after undergoing further tests Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a [ More ]

Tandon DossAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Jeff TuelAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Saalim HakimAug 30 01:52p

New York Jets WR Saalim Hakim, WR Austin Hill, WR Jonathon Rumph and TE Matt LaCosse were released Sunday, Aug. 30.

Sam BradfordAug 30 10:12a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns during the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Saturday, Aug. 29. [ More ]

Joique BellAug 30 10:02a

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') has ramped up his return-to-play workouts in recent weeks and said he is 'getting close.' Head coach Jim Caldwell said Bell looks [ More ]

Denard RobinsonAug 29 02:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson might be the Jaguars' starting running back to start the season, according to Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com.

Stevie BrownAug 29 01:22p

Houston Texans SS Stevie Brown was released Saturday, Aug. 29.

Andre BranchAug 29 12:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Andre Branch (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss significant time.

James DevelinAug 29 10:12a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots FB James Develin (leg) suffered a broken tibia during the third preseason game Friday, Aug. 28, according to a source. It is [ More ]

Matthew StaffordAug 29 09:52a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 11-for-15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday, Aug. 28.

Blake BortlesAug 29 12:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for 35 yards in a 22-17 loss to the Detroit Lions [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 29 12:02a

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith went 16 of 18 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-10 win over the Tennessee Titans in the preseason Friday, Aug. 28.

Darren McFaddenAug 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle will share reps with RB Darren McFadden and RB Lance Dunbar because the Cowboys 'intend to take a committee approach,' according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bishop SankeyAug 28 01:22p

Updating previous reports, Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey has impressed his coaches with improvement this preseason. 'I think Bishop made significant improvement last week in practices as far as [ More ]

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group