Countdown to Camp: Day 7 – Jake Matthews’ improvement plan

122815 ATLANTA: Falcons tackle Jake Matthews takes the field to play the Panthers in a football game on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton / ccompton@ajc.com

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.

Want to attend Falcons training camp? Here’s what you should know

COUNTDOWN TO TRAINING CAMP

Countdown to Camp: Day 10 – The psychological hurdle

Countdown to Camp: Day 9 — The battle at right guard

Countdown to Camp: Day 8 — Freeman’s contract situation

Countdown to Camp: Day 7 — Jake Matthews’ improvement plan

Countdown to Camp: Day 6 — Schraeder’s a mainstay at right tackle

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

Part 1: Quarterbacks

Part2: Running backs

Part 3: Wide receivers

Part 4: Tight ends

Part 5: Offensive line

Part 6: Defensive line

Part: 7: Linebackers

Part 8: Cornerbacks

Part 9: Safeties

Part 10: Specialists

THE FALCONS 2017 DRAFT

MUST READ PROFILE: Falcons top pick McKinley makes name for himself

2017 Falcons report card: Falcons earn a B-plus

NFC Champs add a pass rusher, quality depth 

1st rounder: Meet defensive end Takkarist McKinley

3rd rounder: Meet linebacker Duke Riley

4th rounder: Meet offensive guard Sean Harlow

5th rounder: Meet defensive back Damontae Kazee

5th rounder: Meet running back Brian Hill

5th rounder: Meet tight end Eric Saubert

 

 

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