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Atlanta Falcons Rookie Report Card: Week 3 vs. Buccaneers

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Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

A touch belated, perhaps, but I thought we might still be interested in seeing how the rookies fared in Week 3's drubbing of the Buccaneers.

LT Jake Matthews, 50 out of 69 snaps

This was a relatively easy matchup for the rookie left tackle's triumphant return, but that doesn't diminish how well he did. He played the majority of the snaps at left tackle and kept Matt Ryan's pocket nice and clean.

Matthews is already a starting-caliber left tackle, and he'll likely continue to improve all season long.

Grade: A-

DE/DT Ra'Shede Hageman, 22 out of 60 snaps

Hageman finally got more than 25% of snaps against Tampa Bay, but he didn't get on the stat sheet. It was another decidedly mixed effort for Hageman, who punched his way into the backfield a couple of times, but largely washed out against the run. The Falcons need to continue to get him snaps to help him develop, but he's obviously not a factor just yet. Ensure your expectations are a little lower for 2014.

Grade: D+

FS Dezmen Southward, 3 out of 60 snaps

Southward continues to play sparingly on both defense and special teams, making him a total non-factor at the moment. The Falcons may try to ease him in more as the season wears on, but with Kemal Ishmael playing well on defense and special teams, there's not a ton of snaps for him.

Grade: INC

RB Devonta Freeman, 21 out of 69 snaps

This was not a good game for Freeman. The Buccaneers were keying in on the run when he was in, but 11 carries for just 12 yards and a fumble will keep you off the field going forward outside of garbage time. Freeman's ball security and blocking need to improve before he can start stealing snaps from Jacquizz Rodgers and Steven Jackson in earnest.

It'd be a low grade, but Freeman didn't quite get enough snaps to qualify for my treshold.

Grade: INC

ILB Prince Shembo, 28 of 60 snaps

This was the largest snap count yet for Shembo, who was on the field more than Joplo Bartu for the first time in Week 3. He wound up with two tackles and looked active and aggressive out there, if not yet terrific. He probably has taken the starting gig away from Bartu already, so you'll likely see better lines ahead.

Grade: B-

OLB Tyler Starr

Starr was a gameday inactive. Again. He will continue to be for the near future.

Grade: N/A

Look for Matthews, Shembo, and perhaps Hageman to continue to play meaningful snaps this week, with Devonta Freeman mixing in on that four-headed hydra of a running back committee.

Your thoughts on this week for the rookie?