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Matthews Grows During Rookie Campaign

Entering the 2014 season, Atlanta Falcons' top pick Jake Matthews had a slight advantage over many others in his rookie class. Learning the game of football from his father Bruce, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, helped Matthews gain a few steps ahead of fellow first-year players. The rookie would utilize lessons from his father early, facing an ankle injury that forced him to miss Week 2 of the season.

"They told me right when the sprain happened it would be something I would have to deal with the whole year," Matthews said. "That's the nature of the game. Everybody has something bothering them; unfortunately, I had to learn that Week 1."

The injury happened weeks after Matthews was moved from right tackle to left tackle in the preseason, replacing the injured Sam Baker. The 22-year-old rookie didn't blink, embracing Matt Ryan's blindside for the rest of the season, while headlining a group that overcame injuries throughout the year.

T Jake Matthews was selected by the Falcons with the 6th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft and has had an immediate impact on the offensive line.

Matthews was asked to block some of the league's best defenders in 2014, including Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (Jake's cousin). Each of those players served as part of the biggest takeaway for Matthews in his rookie campaign.

"Every week, they're rolling in some stud you have to block, who's a professional pass rusher, who lives to do this," Matthews said. "It's a challenge. It's good. It's fun. It's exciting. It's what I signed up for. There's no off week. I've grown a lot as a player. I learned a lot, and I just have to keep building on that."

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