Mayfield missed the Falcons’ first regular-season practice on Monday with an illness, according to head coach Arthur Smith. Prior to that, he had been dealing with a back injury, which also caused him to miss some practice.
Smith didn’t go into too much detail to “respect Jalen’s privacy.”
Due to Mayfield’s absences this offseason and overall lack of production from his rookie campaign, there has been speculation from critics and a huge uproar from the Falcons’ fanbase that the team could and should move on from Mayfield.
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Chris Lindstrom Admires Jalen Mayfield’s Work Ethic
With Mayfield entering just the second year under his rookie contract, the Falcons are highly unlikely to move on from the Michigan product.
And the Falcons’ offensive line leader, Chris Lindstrom, wants a guy like him on the roster.
“Jalen, you know, Jalen is a great teammate,” Lindstrom said after practice on Tuesday, August 29. “And that’s the biggest thing as a player. You come in every day and he’s working to get better and you love him as a teammate and so that’s really it and that’s all you can ask for. So if a guy is putting their best foot forward, that’s what you always wanted as a teammate and respect and admire about him.”
Mayfield’s lower back issue and illness may have kept him from showing off this offseason, but that doesn’t mean the best is yet to come.
“It’s unfair sometimes,” Smith said when he addressed Mayfield’s back injury earlier this month. “He’s in there and he’s trying to win a job and something is bothering him. We’ll see how it goes. As everybody knows, backs can be tricky.
“He’s a tough kid and he’ll ride it out.”
Mayfield Played Through the Fire Last Season
It’s no secret that Mayfield was thrown into the fire in 2021.
He was drafted as offensive line depth but ended up starting in 16 games during his rookie year after the Falcons lost veterans Matt Gono and Josh Andrews to injuries.
Prior to that, Mayfield had started just 15 games in three years at Michigan.
People need to remember that the college to NFL jump is anything but easy, so it’s no surprise that Mayfield has struggled. In his first NFL season, Mayfield led the league in sacks allowed with 11. He also racked up 9 penalties, which tied for 8th-most.
Now, with a full season under his belt and plenty of live action, Mayfield should enter Year 2 with a bit more confidence and knowledge. However, we are not going to get the full effect of Mayfield until he’s 100% healthy, which he hasn’t been and while there have been no reports, this could be the same lingering back injury that bothered him at the end of last year.
With that said, let’s put a hold on the rude comments before we see what Mayfield can really do at this level.