Jake Matthews has only missed one regular season game in his entire career, and he’s well into his ninth season in Atlanta. That could have changed tonight, but apparently will not.
NFL Network’s Cameron Wolfe reported earlier that Jake Matthews traveled back to Atlanta this morning for the birth of his first child. That’s an extremely understandable reason to head home, but it did mean that there was some uncertainty around whether he’d make it back to Charlotte in time for tonight’s 8:15 kickoff between the Falcons and Panthers.
Falcons are tied for NFC South lead mainly due to fun 4-headed run game. A key cog — LT Jake Matthews — was taken back to ATL by Falcons this AM for delivery of he/his wife 1st child. Hope is to have Matthews back for TNF game.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) November 10, 2022
My @nflnetwork report on day of Matthews arrivals: pic.twitter.com/42z7bTwTA2
It sounds like that won’t be the case, however. Per Wolfe, Arthur Blank is picking Matthews up himself from Gainesville and taking him to Charlotte, meaning Matthews will be in his customary spot starting at left tackle. That’s great news for the Falcons, and it means Matthews got to be there for a day you can’t put on hold and can’t repeat. Congratulations to Jake and Meggi Matthews!
I’m told Falcons owner Arthur Blank is picking him LT Jake Matthews in Gainesville, Ga and bringing him with him to Charlotte. He is expected to play tonight vs. Panthers.— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) November 10, 2022
Blank & Falcons sparing no resources to make sure Matthews got to see his 1st child born. What a day. pic.twitter.com/eZw68AZlgp
An earlier bit of the story follows below.
If Matthews isn’t there, Atlanta Falcons reporter Tori McElhaney notes that Atlanta will have two entirely new starters at left tackle and left guard. Colby Gossett is drawing the start tonight with both Elijah Wilkinson and Matt Hennessy on injured reserve, and that would leave either Chuma Edoga or Germain Ifedi to draw the start at left tackle. Ifedi is the more experienced player but has primarily played on the right side of the line, while Edoga did draw some starts at left tackle during his time with the Jets. Either way, on what’s expected to be a rainy and windy night in Charlotte, the state of the offensive line is a bit of a question mark at the moment.
If Matthews does not make it back to Charlotte in time for TNF, it would mean the entire left side of the protection is different than it was the last time ATL played CAR.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) November 10, 2022
you’re looking at either Chuma Edoga or Germain Idefi getting the start at LT and Colby Gossett at LG.