Jake Matthews, Brooks Reed to miss Falcons' preseason finale
Sep. 01, 2015
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Coach Dan Quinn is hoping the Atlanta Falcons' list of injuries doesn't get any longer.
Left tackle Jake Matthews and linebacker Brooks Reed have been ruled out for Thursday's preseason finale against Baltimore, and the team has parted ways Tuesday with injured guard-center Peter Konz.
Matthews, the No. 6 overall draft choice last year, is sidelined with a sore back. His offseason was slowed considerably after he underwent left foot surgery in January.
Reed, Atlanta's top free agent signee with $9 million guaranteed, is nursing a groin injury and will get a second medical opinion. Quinn said it's too early to know if surgery is a possibility.
Konz, a second-round draft choice in 2012, reached a settlement after undergoing knee surgery on Aug. 23. He started 28 of 39 career games, but was not a good fit in the zone blocking scheme installed by new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Receiver Roddy White also will not dress when the Falcons (1-2 preseason) and the Ravens (1-2) face off at the Georgia Dome. White is recuperating from elbow surgery last month.
Quinn wasn't ready to project whether cornerback Desmond Trufant (shouder), running back Devonta Freeman (hamstring), linebacker Justin Durant (foot) and receiver/special teams ace Devin Hester (toe) will play against the Ravens.
Matthews, Reed, White, Trufant, Freeman and Durant are starters. Hester is a fourth-string receiver, but is indispensable as a specialist with an NFL career record 20 touchdown returns.
Quinn's top priority this week is keeping the team as healthy as possible before the Sept. 14 season opener against Philadelphia.
"As we get into next week, we're anticipating everybody being ready to rock," he said. "Take through the next four or five days to see (where we stand), but we're certainly aiming that way."
Reed has dealt with a hip injury during the last few months, so his groin injury is making the Falcons cautious not to rush him back to the field.
"We certainly are concerned, so we're just trying to get it right in terms of him getting the strength back," Quinn said. "He's got such a toughness and edge-setting pressure. We're just trying to get him where he's feeling at his best."
The Falcons' offensive line has changed dramatically since Quinn replaced Mike Smith as head coach.
Justin Blalock, Sam Baker and Konz are no longer with the team. Jon Asamoah, who started 15 games last year at right guard, is listed behind Chris Chester on the depth chart. Right tackle Lamar Holmes is on the physically unable to perform list.
Matthews is the line's top talent, however, and Quinn wants to make sure he gets the requisite amount of treatment before projecting his availability for Week 1.
"I'm not going to go there until they tell me to," Quinn said. "We always have, 'OK, what could be down the road?' But I'm more the other way, like, 'He's going to be good until he's not.'"