Atlanta Falcons rookie offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield has been the subject of a lot of speculation after his poor performance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
Head coach Arthur Smith found himself answering questions about his lineman again on Monday and whether he was ready for the challenge.
FALCONS POD: Did Jaylen Mayfield even have a chance?
"I wouldn't say it got too big for him," said Smith "Certainly, he's not going to be pleased with his performance, and he knows what the issues are."
"When you're bringing along rookie linemen in the interior, it wasn't the plan to play him early. We got him reps in the preseason. There are things he’s got to work on. I got all the faith in the world that he'll be just fine eventually."
Mayfield and fellow rookie Drew Dalman both saw action at left guard against the Eagles, and they're unlikely to find a tougher front four than they saw in Fletcher Cox, Derek Barnett, Javon Hargrave, and Brandon Graham.
"You're going against that kind of front," said Smith "When it got obvious and we’d become one dimensional, it’s certainly an advantage to them, especially when you're playing that kind of front."
Smith wouldn't commit to Mayfield starting against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but he knows his options are limited.
"He's a rookie in his first start against a really good front and he didn’t back down," said Smith. "It'll get cleaned up. I got faith in him."
Smith also mentioned that Dalman as an option at guard.
"Now he had a false start, but I thought Drew competed in there," said Smith. "We've got to play the best five to give us a chance to win on Sunday."
"At every position we're going to look to upgrade the team. So, if there's guys out there that we feel like can help this team. We're certainly going to look and that’ll be every week, regardless of the position."
Unfortunately for the Falcons, it wasn't just the rookies who struggled on the offensive line. While much of the focus was on the left guard position, fourth-year right tackle Kaleb McGary didn't fare much better against the Eagles' front.
Falcons at Buccaneers Injury Report: WR Out
The Falcons will be missing a wide receiver against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Biggest Key for Falcons to Beat Buccaneers
The Atlanta Falcons will need to deploy a pass-first offense to upset the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2.
Grady Jarrett on Falcons Defense : 'I Believe in this System'
Atlanta Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett was held without a tackles against the Eagles.
If the Falcons are going to get anything going on offense this season, the entire offensive line is going to have to play better... quickly.