Jake Matthews 'expecting' to play Thursday vs. Bucs


Jake Matthews returned to Atlanta Falcons practice Monday after missing Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Bengals with a left ankle injury.

With a quick turnaround to Thursday's matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the rookie left tackle believes he's on a path to playing.

"I'm expecting to play," Matthews said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I know that I personally think I'll be ready to play. But we'll see how the week of practice goes and we'll see what coach (Mike Smith) has to say."

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported last week that the damage wasn't significant and the biggest impediment to Matthews playing is soreness.

That soreness kept the tackle out last week as he watched his teammates get steamrolled by the Bengals.

He was listed as limited in practice on Monday, according to the team's official practice report. However, the No. 6 overall pick in last May's draft was a full participant on Tuesday.

If Matthews can return, it would be a big boon for Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense facing a banged-up Buccaneers defense already desperate for a win. Not only would Matthews' return improve the left tackle spot, it would potentially allow Gabe Carimi to slide over to right tackle and replace Lamar Holmes, who has struggled something awful through two games.

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