Andrews landed on the IR with a broken hand on Sept. 1st and before that, the 30-year-old veteran was on track to be the teams’ starting left guard for the 2021 season.
“It was tough for sure,” Andrews said Wednesday via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I got to step back and actually observe. (I have) a new perspective on things and see how I can better my game. I feel like I’ve done that. I feel like I’m ready to go. Whatever they ask me to do, I’m here for it.”
With Andrews sidelined, rookie Jalen Mayfield got the start. And after six weeks of continuous improvement, head coach Arthur Smith doesn’t plan on moving Mayfield anytime soon. This means Andrews is the No. 2 left guard heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Despite losing his starting spot, Andrews is glad to be back and motivated to do better.
“I’m going to prepare like I’m going to start in the game and play 70 plays,” Andrews said. “No matter what they ask me to do, I’m going to prepare like I’m going to start. I’m glad to be back. I’m glad that it was as minor as it was.”
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Andrews’ NFL Career Resume
Andrews joined Atlanta on a one-year deal back in March after playing a season with the Jets.
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 multiple chances to young players, so keeping Mayfield in the No. 1 spot is no surprise here.
Mayfield Is Getting ‘More Comfortable’
Mayfield spent the Falcons’ bye week at the beach where he was able to reflect on the first five weeks of the season.
“I think I’m getting a better understanding of what I’m asked to do, ” Mayfield said during Thursday’s press conference. “And I’m getting more of a feel for the offense, and why things are happening instead of just trying to do my job––just getting more comfortable. The guys around me give me a lot of confidence. They have a lot of belief in me, so I try to live up to my own expectations.”
Mayfield played primarily right tackle at Michigan before joining the NFL but was mentally prepared to make the adjustment when Andrews was injured.
“At the time I thought I was playing tackle, so I was just trying to do my job to the best of my ability. I wouldn’t say it set me back any. It’s the NFL––you gotta be able to adjust to anything.”
Of course, right tackle is a lot different from playing left guard but Mayfield is hell-bent on doing the best he can at any position.
“It’s definitely different. But that’s why we get paid. There’s going to be difficult situations and at the end of the say you can either do your job or you can’t.”