Aug 23, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) huddles with members of the offense in the second half of their game against the Tennessee Titans at the Georgia Dome. The Titans won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
The Offensive Tackles
Rookie Jake Matthews got the nod at left tackle in the wake of Sam Baker’s injury, after playing right tackle all summer. On the other side it was Lamar Holmes, who failed to impress last season and has had a so-so camp. I wasn’t very optimistic heading into the game but I can say that I’m feeling a lot better now.
Matthews was going up against a very good interior lineman in Jurrell Casey and an aging pass rusher in Kamerion Wimbley. He handled Wimbley well, mirroring him easy in pass protection and looking like a #6 overall pick. He struggled a bit more against Casey, however. There were some run plays he found it difficult to control him. In pass protection he was mostly fine but Casey did manage an impressive rush against him. A quick fake outside and rush upfield got the better of Matthews which led to a sack.
The Mental Errors are something he must iron out
Matthews was also flagged for an obvious hold and a false start. He has been a bit penalty prone to say the least so far in preseason with 4 penalties called in 3 games. The mental errors are something he must iron out as they won’t go down well with Mike Smith.
Lamar Holmes went up against Ropati Pitoitua and Derrick Morgan. Pitoitua is a run stuffing defensive end that doesn’t offer much against the pass – similar to Tyson Jackson. Morgan is a power rusher but had question marks on how he fits in a 3-4. Nevertheless, Holmes did very well in pass protection. I saw him get beat once (2Q 4:34) although it didn’t appear to impact the passing play. He was solid against the run, not much to write about there.
As with every rookie, there is a learning curve but it’s looking like the pass protection will be much better this year. Matthews just needs to remove the penalties from his game. His play otherwise is a lot better than what we had last season. Holmes has come a very long way. He looks like a completely different player from last year which is excellent news. He completely rose past my expectations and I hope for more of the same.