FLOWERY BRANCH — The Falcons’ offense is making some not-so-subtle changes under new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.
One of the major changes has been the implementation of the three-wide receiver set or “11” personnel — one back and one tight end — as a primary formation.
“That three-wide receiver set, one tight end and one back has been good for us in the past,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “We’ve got talented guys to fill out those positions. It will probably be something that we use.”
Wide receiver Roddy White has called for more use of more three-wide-receiver sets.
The coaches obliged in the exhibition opener. When the third wide receiver, Harry Douglas, couldn’t play because of a rib injury, they inserted Kerry Meier and stayed with the formation.
Douglas has recovered and is set to play against the Bengals at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Georgia Dome.
“When you only play three series, it’s tough to change up your personnel groupings as much as you normally would throughout a game,” Ryan said. “We didn’t have all of the typical situations that you are going to go through [in a regular-season game].”
When the Falcons go with three wide receivers, the odd position out is the fullback.
“We are looking forward to having a full complement of our starters this week,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said.
Ryan was effective, completing nine of 13 passes for 155 yards against the Ravens, mostly from 11 personnel.
“It was a great start, but that’s all it was because it was one quarter,” Smith said. “But I thought that he was very efficient.”
While the three-wide receiver set was productive, the offense still has some kinks to work out.
“We did some things well, but we made a bunch of mistakes,” Ryan said. “First-string, second-string and third-string, all the way through, guys made some mistakes. Every year, the most improvement is from Game 1 to Game 2. So, I think we’ll be a little more sharp when we come out Thursday night against the Bengals.”
The Falcons are not putting together a game plan for the Bengals.
“It’s fun not planning it,” Ryan said. “Certainly, less preparation that goes into getting ready for the preseason game than there is for regular-season games. But there is more time spent on the practice field.”
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