Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Jake Matthews had a tumultuous rookie year plagued by injuries and a steeper than expected learning curve - that's just how it goes in the NFL. But setting last year's high ankle sprain, the offseason's Lisfranc foot surgery, and the preseason's nagging back strain aside, Matthews has really come out swinging in the first three games.
Pro Football Focus released their week 4 power rankings yesterday. They have the Falcons as the league's 7th best team. But in their rankings, they threw in an interesting statistic about left tackle Jake Matthews.
"There were only two games last year where Jake Matthews played the entire game, didn't allow a sack or hit, and allowed one or fewer hurries. That has been true for all three games so far this year. His pass blocking efficiency of 99.4 leads all offensive tackles."
Put differently, Matthews is playing his butt off. While his injury history is a little disconcerting, he's clearly very capable when healthy. And by "healthy," I mean healthy enough to take the field. Matthews' pedigree is beyond reproach; it basically comes down to keeping him on the field.