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Atlanta Falcons Rookie Report Card: Week 6 vs. Bears

It was not a banner week for the class of 2014, yet again.

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons were terrible again. The rookies didn't have a great week, either, and we must talk about that now. This season blows.

LT Jake Matthews, 56 snaps

The rookie tackle got off to a fairly strong start at the beginning of the season, but as time has gone on, he looks more and more like a rookie tackle. This game saw Matthews beaten frequently, and for the last two weeks, he's been a legitimate liability, due in part to his balky ankle.

You expect that from a rookie tackle, but Matthews' start gave me some hope he'd avoid that fate. We'll hope the scuffling ends next week against the Ravens, because that's a potentially ugly matchup for the rook.

Grade: D-

DE/DT Ra'Shede Hageman, 18 snaps

Hageman nestled in right at 25% of snaps, which would normally be too low for me to grade. But it was more playing time than we're accustomed to seeing with Hageman, and he was in the backfield a few times, showing real hustle. Given that I don't expect a ton from Shede in 2014, progress is encouraging, and his flat 0.0 grade in pass rush from PFF is a damn sight better than he's done in the past. Oh, and he did get a hand on a PAT, the first PAT block for the Falcons in over a decade.

We all hope Hageman will be a building block for this defense in the years ahead. The sooner he starts playing well, the better off we are.

Grade: B-

FS Dezmen Southward, 17 snaps

Southward's role is going slightly every single week, and he's acquitting himself well out there. The athleticism is not in question for the former Badger, so if he can continue to build on his progress thus far, he'll likely be the front runner for the starting free safety gig in 2015.

Grade: INC

RB Devonta Freeman, 10 snaps

A slight decrease from a week ago, but it made sense given that the Falcons were down, needing to pass and wanting either Steven Jackson or Jacquizz Rodgers back there to help out in pass protection. His day is coming sooner rather than later.

Grade: INC

ILB Prince Shembo, 0 snaps

An odd game for Shembo, who got zero snaps on defense because the coaching staff supposedly wanted Joplo Bartu's speed in the lineup. I have to wonder if his injury was a factor in keeping him out of the lineup, but either way, he wasn't in this one except on special teams, where he received a total of 12 snaps. I don't expect that to be the case going forward, because Shembo's a potential long-term starter at ILB.

Grade: INC

OLB Tyler Starr

Inactivity began to gnaw away at the fragile mind of young Tyler Starr. Colors became noises, the night sky a jagged hellscape of demonic grins and his own family irksome shadows. Madness begins here.

Grade: N/A

Your thoughts on the rookie class in this one?