Falcons’ Arthur Smith Shares Promising Update on 2 Key Players

Falcons key players

Getty Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates with Jake Matthews #70 and Kaleb McGary #76.

The Atlanta Falcons had two of their key players return to practice from the injured reserve list last week.

Top left guard Josh Andrews was back on the field for the first time since breaking his hand in August and cornerback Kendall Sheffield returned to practice following an undisclosed injury that sent him to the IR.

Neither played in Week 4’s loss to Washington but could have a chance to play in Week 5’s matchup against the New York Jets in London.

“It’s definitely possible,” Falcons coach Arthur Smith said during Wednesday’s press conference on Oct. 6. “We still have some time with those guys. Both of those guys will practice all week. Both of those guys will travel with us. We can make a decision at any time. Those options are on the table.”

Arthur Smith on this week's matchup with the Jets in London | Atlanta FalconsHead coach Arthur Smith speaks to the media about the teams preparation, travel strategy, his past experience with the London game. Subscribe to the Falcons YT Channel: bit.ly/2RfEkAW For More Falcons NFL Action: bit.ly/3bLpITm #AtlantaFalcons #RiseUp #NFL #Falcons Download the Falcons app for breaking news, instant updates, and live streaming games: atlantafalcons.com/app For more Falcons…2021-10-06T16:12:49Z

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What About Jalen Mayfield?

The left guard position has been the biggest question mark in Atlanta for quite some time.

The Falcons originally had re-signed Matt Gono for the starting left guard position but a next injury has kept him sidelined since the offseason. Next in line for the job was Andrews. But once he broke his hand, the Falcons had to settle for rookie guard Jalen Mayfield.

Mayfield may his NFL debut against a stingy Philadelphia Eagles defense which didn’t go over too well after he allowed two of the three sacks on Matt Ryan. Since then, however, he’s continued to improve and really held his own in the Falcons’ win over the New York Giants on Sept. 26.

But with Andrews close to returning, what will happen to the Falcons’ 2021 fourth-round pick After all, Andrews has a lot more experience under his belt.

The Oregon State product began his NFL career after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 and spent three seasons in Philly bouncing back and forth from the practice squad to the 53-man roster.

Following his stint with the Eagles, Andrews spent time with the Minnesota Vikings in 2018. He returned to Philly once again and had a short stint with the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad before landing with the Jets in 2020.

In five seasons, Andrews has appeared in 40 games with four starts. He added veteran experience to a fairly young Falcons interior.

Smith has been big on giving chances to young players, so it will be interesting to see if he lets Andrews slide into his original role right away.

Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver to Miss the Rest of the 2021 Season

Cornerback Isaiah Oliver headed to the injured reserve on Tuesday, Oct. 5 and he won’t be returning this season.

Oliver has a knee injury that is season-ending, the team announced on Wednesday and Smith addressed the disappointing news for the rising star during the press conference.

“I can’t say enough good things about him as a pro and a teammate. He’s really bought in, was having a good year. That’s the crappy part about this game,” Smith said.

Sheffield’s potential return this week could be pivotal for the vacant nickel position.

While he has mostly played right corner, Sheffield played nickel back as a rookie in 2018.

“He’s played it before, different scheme,” Smith said. “Obviously, with Kendall, he’ll go out there and practice and hopefully find a role for us.”




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