Konz had seen spot duty with the first team throughout the first six games but a back injury to regular starter Garrett Reynolds thrust the former University of Wisconsin star into the starting rotation.
“I told him that I was proud of him,” veteran C Todd McClure said of the rookie. “He was coming into a tough situation; a tough environment. Against that pass rush, to get your first start, I thought he played really well today,” he said to Orlando Ledbetter.
For the most part, Konz (6-5, 317 pounds) maintained his blocks and handed off pass-rushers seamlessly as he battled DT Cullen Jenkins, whom the rookie is familiar with since Jenkins spent seven seasons in Green Bay playing with the Packers. Perhaps that familiarity helped prepare Konz, whose gaps were substantial enough for running backs Jacquizz Rodgers and Michael Turner to rush for 118 yards combined.
“I think I might have been in high school when [Jenkins] was with the Packers. I obviously knew about him. He’s a seasoned vet. There’s a reason why he’s been in this league so long. It was a good battle today,” Konz said to Ledbetter.
Offensive line coach Pat Hill forewarned his line that Sunday’s game was going to be like an 80-round boxing match. After the Falcons 30-17 victory, Konz couldn’t dispute that.
“I came out of the game looking like Rocky Balboa against Apollo Creed,” he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I was just bleeding from everywhere,” Konz said, who suffered a bloodied lip.
Coach Mike Smith said he wasn’t sure if Reynolds would be back for Sunday night’s primetime game against the Cowboys, but, regardless, developing Konz is crucial to increasing the Falcons' depth along the line.
“I don’t think there was a moment where I felt like there was a reason to [relax] or anything. Every week I’ve approached it like, if anyone goes down. I’m in. If coach wants to put me in, I’m in,” Konz said.
Weatherspoon injury: Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon suffered a sprained right ankle in the fourth quarter while trying to take down Eagles running back LeSean McCoy and was carted off the field.
Smith said he would have an update on Wednesday.
"We’ll have a more concrete idea of where he’s at after practice,” he said at Monday’s press conference.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that in four-plus years as the Falcons coach, Smith has always announced major injuries at the start of the week as opposed to on Wednesday, when teams are obligated to release their first injury report.
On top of that, Weatherspoon’s tweet following the game gave reason for optimism.
I'm good family... Keep ya boy prayed up #RiseUp2012
— Sean Weatherspoon (@SeanWSpoon56) October 28, 2012
Weatherspoon is the team’s leading tackler with 52 stops and is second with three sacks.
For more Falcons coverage, follow Mike Singer @CBSFalcons.