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Jake Matthews (Ankle) Expects To Play


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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons rookie left tackle Jake Matthews, who suffered an ankle sprain in the season opener against New Orleans, said he expects to play against Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

In the same breath, Matthews cautioned that the decision is not up to him.

"We'll see what coach says," Matthews said.

The Falcons had a walkthrough Monday. Had it been a full practice, Matthews would have been a limited participant along with Julio Jones (ankle) and linebacker Prince Shembo (knee), while Roddy White (hamstring) would have been held out. White was expected to have his practice schedule limited coming off a left knee injury, so the hamstring is a new addition to the equation.

Falcons coach Mike Smith said he anticipated the limited players -- Matthews, Jones, and Shembo -- to be full participants during Tuesday's practice.

"I hope that I can," Matthews said about going through a full practice. "We'll see what the coaches allow me to do. But I'm going to go out there and do some stuff, so we'll see how it goes."

Matthews returned to the field last Friday for some light drill work.

"I'm feeling better," he said. "They're doing a really good job with treatments and all that stuff to get me back as soon as possible. It's feeling better every day. I'm excited to see how this week goes for the game. I know they're going to do a good job and get me taped up and ready for the game."

It would make sense for the Falcons to be extra cautious with Matthews. Not playing him Thursday would give him extra time to get fully healthy for the team's Sept. 28 trip to Minnesota.

Whenever Matthews returns, it wouldn't be a surprise to see current left tackle Gabe Carimishifted back over to right tackle as the starter, considering how Lamar Holmes struggled in Sunday's 24-10 loss to Cincinnati. Carimi graded out well.

"Wherever I'm needed, I think I'm pretty versatile," Carimi said.

Carimi also has some familiarity with the next opponent. He played for the Buccaneers last season and was drafted by Chicago when first-year Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith was coaching the Bears.


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What on earth is going on with Roddy? Just sit dude Thursday night. HD, Hester and Julio should be enough for the Bucs but who knows with this defense.

He's entering that sunset phase of an elite WR career where his body slowly starts breaking down and he has to rely more and more on old veteran tricks to get open and shield the defender from the ball. Which he is great at.

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Matthews was most likely okay Sunday. Saving him for the division opponent on Thursday is both cautious and common sense.

If he returns to full practice, then I'll be fine with putting him out on the field. That was what I was calling for last year, with Baker. I wanted him to get at least one full practice, before being allowed back on the field.

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Matthews was most likely okay Sunday. Saving him for the division opponent on Thursday is both cautious and common sense.

I'm not sure what the extent of J. Matthews injury is but hopefully your assessment is correct.

The falcons are very deceptive with injuries so you really never know the real deal.

I vividly remember Mike Smith claiming John Abraham's ankle injury was not significant and he would be 100% ready to go for the playoffs. This was the year Abraham was injured in a meaningless game with the Bucs.

When Abraham returned he was not the same player and was clearly hobbled by the ankle injury.

On to Jake,

If he fully participates in tomorrow's practice that would be a very good sign. One odd thing from last week was most players are listed as questionable and usually declared out as a game time decision.

I'm not sure why Matthews was ruled out so early in the week.

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