Arthur Smith has a great quote for Jalen Mayfield’s potential matchup with Fletcher Cox

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With the news that Josh Andrews has been placed on injured reserve until at least Week 4, the Falcons offensive line could be dealing with a rookie at left guard. Jalen Mayfield has been competing with Andrews for the starting job all summer, and it looks like he will win by default. Who knows whether Andrews would have won the job had he stayed healthy, but regardless, the Falcons will get a good idea of whether Mayfield is ready to play in the NFL. Atlanta plays a laundry list of premier interior defensive linemen to begin the season, starting with Fletcher Cox of the Eagles.

When asked about Mayfield potentially matching up against Cox, Arthur Smith responded beautifully, “everybody’s gotta get baptized at some point.”

Andrews going down leaves the door wide open for Mayfield or the recently acquired Colby Gossett to win the starting job. More than likely, it will be the rookie third-round pick who gets the nod. Still, Fletcher Cox isn’t the only interior defender that the Falcons will have to deal. Javon Hargrave is also an impressive defensive lineman for Philly, but it goes further than that. If Mayfield starts, it’ll be one of the worst gauntlets to begin a season for a young offensive lineman — baptized by fire.

Beginning with the Eagles, the starter will have to handle Fletcher Cox. Then against the Buccanneers, the left guard will draw Vita VeaNdamukong Suh, and William Gholston. In Week 3 against the Giants, he will be across from Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. The following week, the Falcons host Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne of the Washington Football Team, and it doesn’t end there. In Week 5, the Falcons face Quinnen Williams and Folorunso Fatukasi of the Jets.

It starts with Fletcher Cox, but there are so many other high-level interior defenders on the schedule in the first five weeks of the season. Andrews is eligible to return Week 4 against the Washington Football Team, but Mayfield will have a shot to prove he’s worth keeping over the journeyman.

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