#AskAndrew: Tuesday Falcons Mailbag

I'm definitely pleased with how quickly the offensive line has come together. Ryan Schraeder and Chris Chester have been solid on the right side; despite a late position change, Mike Person hasn't faced too much adversity at center; and, most importantly, Jake Matthews has looked real good at left tackle. As Andy Levitre continues to adjust to his new team, this group will be more formidable than most expected.

@andrewhirsh What's your take on Jake Matthews thus far compared to last season's showing? Growth? — RB9 (@RB_IX) September 21, 2015

In my opinion, Jake Matthews has been Atlanta's best offensive lineman. Despite a recent back injury, he's moving around well and is helping LG Andy Levitre get acclimated to his new surroundings. And the stats agree with the eye test: Only six left tackles have better cumulative Pro Football Focus grades than Matthews does right now. Those numbers are far from an exact science—especially when it comes to linemen—but they're encouraging nonetheless.

I think Robert Alford is a fine No. 2 option behind Desmond Trufant. Yes, he gave up a few big plays to Odell Beckham, Jr. on Sunday, but how many defensive backs can truly contain a threat like OBJ? Trufant is one of maybe a dozen. Let's not forget that Alford slowed Beckham down in the second half.

Atlanta's defense is coming together nicely. The pash rush is certainly improved, in large part because of first-round draft choice Vic Beasley Jr., Jr. Here's a telling stat: Last week, only one 4-3 defensive end (Jacksonville's Jared Odrick) had a higher Pro Football Focus grade than the Falcons' talented edge rusher. Then you have guys like O'Brien Schofield, Adrian Clayborn, Grady Jarrett, Jonathan Babineaux and Kroy Biermann, all of whom have done a solid job disrupting the quarterback. It's a promising change from 2014.

They're stopping the run at high level, too. Neither the Eagles nor the Giants amassed 100 rushing yards against Atlanta. Only eight teams have surrendered fewer rushing yards per game than the Falcons (80.0).

I'm also happy with the linebacker corps as a whole. Now given the opportunity to roam free and rely on his pure athleticism, Paul Worrilow is playing some of the best football of his career. OLB Justin Durant has quietly emerged as a reliable force capable of pursuing the ball in a way this team hasn't been able to in recent years.

One area that needs to improve is tackling. Atlanta missed nine tackles against Philly and missed nine or 10 on Sunday, according to Quinn—three of which came on third downs.

As we noted in Monday's injury report, Tevin Coleman has a cracked rib and will miss the next few practices. Dan Quinn said the rookie's status will be updated on Friday. The head coach also mentioned that, despite a lack of healthy RBs, the Falcons don't anticipate adding another. This speaks to the confidence Atlanta has in Devonta Freeman, who did an admirable job filling in for Coleman on Sunday.

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