Matt Ryan confident but admits he, offense could be better

Matt Ryan said he is concerned about the offense, but admits he'd like to have had more success in the preseason. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Matt Ryan said he is concerned about the offense, but admits he'd like to have had more success in the preseason. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Matt Ryan spent part of practice Monday as a blitzing linebacker on the scout team. Wow, seems a little premature to change his position already, doesn’t it?

“Maybe I missed my calling,” the Falcons’ quarterback cracked.

OK, nothing is over-analyzed more than NFL exhibition games. So this whole why-hasn’t-Matt-Ryan-been-better thing probably is overblown. But even Ryan, who was off target on several throws (13 for 26) in last Friday’’s game against Miami, admits that the offense could be operating more efficiently and he needs to be better.

“While we would’ve liked to have been a little more productive the other night, I still feel like we’re moving at a high level,” Ryan said after practice Monday. “We’re close. There are still a few things we’d like to tighten up.

“Personally, I needed to play better. I didn’t play well the other night. But it’s one game, and especially in the preseason you need to put those things behind you.”

Ryan is 24 for45 for 213 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the three exhibitions. But the most glaring statistic of the preseason is that the first string offense has produced only one touchdown in 13 possessions.

When asked what he saw when he looked at tape from the Miami game, Ryan said: “There’s definitely some footwork stuff. But it’s never as good or as bad as you think it’s going to be when you go in and watch the tape. The biggest thing is to maintain good footwork in the pocket, especially when there’s a pass rush around you. Miami did a good job with the pass rush. We had some opportunities. An inch here, an inch there. But if we want to be the kind of football team we want to be, you can’t just be close, you’ve got to do it. That’s probably the biggest thing you take from that tape – we’re right there, we’re right in position to make those plays.”

Ryan makes perfect sense. The Falcons might be fine. I’m just saying this: Until we see success on the field, that inch here and inch there is a big deal. As he said himself, “… If we want to be the kind of football team we want to be, you can’t just be close, you’ve got to do it.”

The Falcons play their final exhibition Thursday night in Jacksonville. The first string offense will play one to two series. Ryan said, “Our confidence is high.”

But a little more success would ease any doubts going into the regular season opener against Pittsburgh. Do you agree? Or are you not concerned ab0ut preseason results?

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92 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

August 30th, 2010
3:21 pm

I’m really glad he is.

Just Sayin

August 30th, 2010
3:24 pm

SirReal

August 30th, 2010
3:25 pm

We’ll see….this year will show us the type of QB and team we really have. If Ryan doesn’t do well this year, in his THIRD year when the light bulb should go on….we may not have the QB we think we do. He missed 2 easy TDs in that game. I know they dont want to force their hand for PIT but let’s be honest….an elite QB makes those throws..and an elite WR makes those catches….Roddy isnt in the clear either…

Bleakley

August 30th, 2010
3:25 pm

I know some people are concerned about Ryan, but I truly believe he will have a very solid season. All he needs is the running game to be strong like in 2008 and he will be just fine.

Willy

August 30th, 2010
3:26 pm

My fan confidence is in the C+ range – in spite of all the hype the Falcons are still just a couple injuries away from another mediocre season.

Hollywould

August 30th, 2010
3:26 pm

Jeff, I hope this offense has been holding back as they have been very vanilla. They have to stretch it out to keep the linebackers respectful of the pass.

Just Sayin

August 30th, 2010
3:27 pm

Yes, I would like to see some results, even if it is Preseason. Thursday night would be a good time to show some of what they can do! Go Falcons!!!

Larry

August 30th, 2010
3:29 pm

I played QB, and were I Matt Ryan and had to throw to Roddy White under pressure for a key conversion my confidence would suffer too. This team is still an elite, pressure performing receiver away from clicking on all cylinders. Ryan has supreme confidence in Tony Gonzalez, but it spirals downhill from there.

[...] Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

DirtybyrdATL4life

August 30th, 2010
3:36 pm

Matty Ice & the Falcons Offense are goin 2 shock alotta ppl this yr…in a gr8 way that is…

Ted Striker

August 30th, 2010
3:40 pm

Is there a free beer for a year option — in lieu of the other prizes — in the “Sack Schultz” contest?

Sure the 37 inch LCD TV is nice and the tix are cool. However if I had a steady stream of brew for 365 days, I could make it by with that 13 inch black and white Magnavox I got in 1977.

5150 P.O.A.D

August 30th, 2010
3:40 pm

As long as the Falcons were UGA colors from the old Rankin Smith choice I just can’t see the Falcon winning it all. It took UGA around one hundred years to win a national championship in those colors. The Falcons have only been around 44 years and I just don’t see a Championship anytime soon. I do think we can be a playoff team for the next 3 years, b ut not a Champion.

SirReal

August 30th, 2010
3:42 pm

@Dirtybyrd I hope you’re right about that…lol..I’m just not convinced…as long as Mike Mularley is calling the plays….we’ll never see what we can really do. Plus Ryan’s arm strength is in question to me. If he can throw more than 10 completions downfield at least 40-50 yards, I’ll give it to him…if not, the guy has a noodle arm. This team starts and finishes with Turner at the end of the day.

5150 P.O.A.D

August 30th, 2010
3:43 pm

sorry WEAR uga colors. NFC Champion yes, but a World Champion Super Bowl Winning Champion I just don’t see it.

Phinizy

August 30th, 2010
3:43 pm

The offense has looked thoroughly uninspiring. I’m starting to wonder if the unit has what it takes to lead the team to the next level.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

August 30th, 2010
3:46 pm

its great to be back in the blog world after a few weeks of burnt computers and stuff.
Not really interested in preseason except for hoping that no one gets hurt.

Manny

August 30th, 2010
3:48 pm

I think that this season will be meiocre. Possibly a little better than medoicre. (9-7 or 10-6.)

That being said, the Falcons match up pretty well against the Steelers. The Steelers corners are terrible and prone to give up mid-range passes, which just so happens to be Matt Ryan’s strength. They take away the long pass with good safety play, though.

Also, they allow big runs from physical backs. Turner can have a big day.

But here are the caveats: Matt Ryan must be accurate. He must have touch. He must be able to spread the ball around and not just key on Gonzalez. He doesn’t need to go up top to beat the Steelers, though.

Also, the D-line should beat the Steelers O-line. More than likely, they can rattle Dennis Dixon (who should get the start because he has more tools and is mobile. Leftwich should be the backup because he’s a tackling dummy with an arm.) They can rattle the kid. Don’t allow him to get comfortable.

So I think that the Falcons will beat the Steelers. If they don’t though, there’s no way that the Falcons will have a good season because the Steelers are a mess.

Manny

August 30th, 2010
3:50 pm

Oh, and by the way, I can spell “mediocre.” My keyboard is sticking for some reason.

Hampton

August 30th, 2010
3:51 pm

THe offense looks so vanilla I hope its just that we are in preaseason mode. Matt still has to spread the ball around and Friday night he did not do that it was roddy or gonza and one pass to douglas.

Expand Matt Expand Mularkey Expand!!!!

Ford Falcon

August 30th, 2010
3:57 pm

Confident, concerned and on meds for mood swings.

bug

August 30th, 2010
3:57 pm

have to be concerned. no deep threat other than Roddy to get the secondary off jumping the routes. too many drops. bad decisions by ryan.

Idot

August 30th, 2010
3:58 pm

I’m not concerned at all. There were a couple of passes that should of been caught that were not, especially the ones that hit the receiver in the hands.
I don’t think that the Falcons are going to show everything that they have got in preseason games.
I think that they will be 12-4, at the very least.
IF they stay healthy, and the OLine can protect Ryan and open up some holes for Turner and Co., The Falcons Are Going To Roll.

Big Ham

August 30th, 2010
3:59 pm

Yes, the Falcons will be fine against the Steelers. Did you see how bad the Steelers looked against the Broncos on Sunday night?? Not too good…But one game does not make a season…yes hopefully the offense was holding back in the pre-season. The defense cannot be giving up the big plays like they did last year. Didn’t the Falcons defense lead the league with the most number of plays over 20 yards?

GT BABY

August 30th, 2010
4:02 pm

DID EALEY REALLY R@PE THAT WHITE GIRL…..THATS WHAT I HEARD?

BugKiller

August 30th, 2010
4:03 pm

Joe Montana had “iffy” arm strength, too. People forget that Bill Walsh was set to draft Phil Simms, who possessed superior arm strength (which he would need in that wind tunnel stadium in the Jersey swamp), but the Giants picked him first.

I think it worked out for Walsh.

Joe Montana also had a few things that I see in Ryan. Outstanding work ethic, command of the huddle, and respect of his teammates.

Remember, the DogKilla had NONE of those things. Oh yes, he was liked by some of his teammates, even after the unsavory nature of his killing habits came out, but he was never RESPECTED by his teammates.

I, too, think that as long as Mularky is calling the plays, the Falcons have no real shot to win a SB.

Notice how much better the offense does, and how much better they flow with Ryan calling the plays from the line, running the no-huddle offense.

There is a reason why all those talented Pittsburgh teams flamed out every January and didn’t win a SB until Ken Whisenhunt was made the OC. And that reason, or the MAIN reason is Mularky.

Unless the Falcons give Ryan the Manning-like or Kelly-like control over the offense he’s proven that he deserves, the team will never “Rise Up” as long as Mularky is slowing the team down.

bass stringerfish

August 30th, 2010
4:03 pm

I will admit I do not make a million bucks+ a year coaching, playing or evaluating professional football…so what I have to say is just as a fan…assuming Matt Ryan is effective – my opinion is that the offense ends and begins on the offensive line and the emergence of a number 3 reciever…since we only have two established receivers – defensive opponents will do what they can to take Gonzalez out. Roddy has earned the right for the opposition defense to double him up. There will be no respect for Jenkins until he does something consistently to deserve it…the O Line has to rush block and pass pro in order for us to get a number 3 open and established in the scheme and to take the doubles off TG and/or RW….if that O Line does not do their job and we do not establish a number 3 go-to person… then all is for naught. Personally, since there are folks that make a lot of money playing and coaching football – opposed to probably 95% of those on this blog – I feel that somehow the Falcons already know this!!! And as such, will step up and perform to the level that is needed to move this team to the top tier of championship caliber playmaking…
Now the Defense…another day!
Place kicking anyone???

heartofdarkness

August 30th, 2010
4:09 pm

Pre-season focuses on getting timing down and running basic plays to get a player’s mindsets acclimated to live action. The real test comes in game one when the object is to execute plays that degrade or defeat a particular defense.

madfalconi

August 30th, 2010
4:12 pm

agreed bugkiller: would it kill them to throw in a screen pass to turner? just once? i saw the ravens throw 4 in a row the first preseason game and took a shot for a touchdown because the defense was guessing. but what do i know.

Sumit

August 30th, 2010
4:14 pm

When was the last time Falcons had a QB, He admitted that he’s making a mistake and need improvement.

Arno

August 30th, 2010
4:17 pm

Pass rush > footwork > turf toe. What Ryan is saying is that his success will depend on the o-line.

Ted Striker

August 30th, 2010
4:22 pm

And so it begins. Some guy has to bring up #7 — although he’s been gone for years — and start bashing.

I wish the AJC would have a contest to pick who would still bash #7 and Willie Martinez first in a blog unrelated to them — even though they’re both history with their respective teams — because I’d pick the blogger correctly each time.

GTMustang

August 30th, 2010
4:22 pm

I too would like to see more screen passes. I see a lot of swing passes out to WR, but those hardly go for any yards because that’s the only type of LOS pass we do. If we had the threat of the screen and the swing pass it would open both plays up better.

Also, Tony Gonzalez is the consistent receiver on the team. We need a WR to step up and become more consistent so Ryan can have to confidence to the ball to him. Jenkins as our number 2 sucks.

Nativebird

August 30th, 2010
4:40 pm

Based on what Mattie Ice has done over the last two years with this wretched franchise…I have NO worries whatsoever.
If Roddie (the-hee-hee-gee-i-dropped-another-pass-but-its-only-preseason-and-life-is-all-fun-and-games-cuz-I-never-grew-up-past-the-age-of-13) White catches that out and go pass RIGHT in his hands for an easy touchdown, then THIS blog is not even happening. Ryan is NOT the problem with this team…there are legitimately many others no doubt.

Delbert D.

August 30th, 2010
4:42 pm

There should be some ambulatory wide receivers available on Tuesday.

Old Fan

August 30th, 2010
4:46 pm

The Falcons lack quality front-line receivers, and even more distressing, they lack a reliable place kicker. The second problem alone will account for three losses this season. I have full confidence in the defense, but what good’s a defense when you can’t score? I don’t see anything above 9-7 this year. Every time they meet a New England, you can ring up another L. I see two losses to the Saints alone. I would love to be proven wrong.

Russ

August 30th, 2010
4:49 pm

One play they need to take out of the playbook is the fake handoff to the left and roll-out to the right. This hasn’t worked since about the fifth game of Ryan’s rookie season. The league adjusted to it long ago and Mularkey still runs it 2-3 times per game. It always results in Ryan having to throw it away. His two receiving options are always covered and he has pressure on him almost instantly. Insisting to run this play over and over again is a waste of a down each time and will probably get your QB injured eventually.

Smynings

August 30th, 2010
4:54 pm

They must pass on first down early and often. Hopefully, they are just trying not to show the Steelers anything right now, but they’ve been VERY vanilla on offense. This team isn’t designed to be the most exciting offense anyway, but it’s been ridiculous so far. Also, we need another kicker. I don’t trust Bryant with meaningful games on the line.

eturn

August 30th, 2010
5:06 pm

You want to know whats wrong with the Falcons offense, M I K E MULARKY!!!!!!!

Tron5000

August 30th, 2010
5:07 pm

Dude’s like an 86 on Madden 11. That’s all you need to know. He’ll be just fine, and so will the offense. In his first 2 years as starter, the Falcons broke the dreaded “back-to-back winning seasons” curse. That’s something ol’ MV7 could not accomplish in his tenure. Neither could Chris Chandler, Jeff George, Steve Bartkowski…I think the kid’s a keeper.

ReddJonn68

August 30th, 2010
5:10 pm

C’mon Jeff !!!!! Ok are you guys actually going there on this one ??? We all have known over about the past six years Falcon QBs have been given pretty much nothing to work with as far as WRs !!! True Roddy has finally matured into that ” hands guy ” or ” go to ” if you will. We have no one to stretch the field. Most of Roddy’s big plays come off of double moves or out & ups. Jam Roddy, you jam this offense. Look how predictable we were when the Burner went down.

How can this organization sit back while Flacco & even Sanchez ( who is not on Matts level ) are given new toys to play with. There is only one proven QB in this league that can get by with any WRs you give him, Peyton Manning nuff said. Even the great Farve needs some speed on his side even with AP !!! Watching some of these games, its like we are always waiting for a big play but it never comes. Straight question Falcons Fans if we lose Roddy where does that leave Matt for the rest of the season will it help him continue to grow or overwhelm him ????

BugKiller

August 30th, 2010
5:16 pm

Anyone claiming Sanchez is on Ryan’s level is to be mocked and ridiculed for their lack of football accumen.

ReddJonn68

August 30th, 2010
5:18 pm

Read the post BugKiller everybody know Sanchez cant hit the side of a barn, the analogy was made to compare the weapons of young QBs who have made to the playoffs !!! Duh !!!

Bone Meal

August 30th, 2010
5:27 pm

I’m more worried about Bryant than I am Ice. Defense is going to keep us close in most games; finding the end zone has been a real problem for this team. Without a spot-on kicker, we’re screwed. Who’s out there that can nail a 40-yarder in his sleep and a 50-yarder with regularity?

BugKiller

August 30th, 2010
5:30 pm

Redd, I apologize. Your post was hard to understand.

mark bradley's 70's fro and mustache

August 30th, 2010
6:11 pm

Jeff or anyone, What are the drop pass rating for the falcons, for 2009?

SWAT Native

August 30th, 2010
6:14 pm

Marty Schottenheimer made an intersting comment on Hard Knocks a couple of weeks ago while looking at Mark Sanchez. He said that he alwsys believed that if a QB can perform at the same level his second year in the league, he considered that progress. It gave me a new perspective on Matt Ryan. I’m expecting a big year.

SWAT Native

August 30th, 2010
6:18 pm

I think that Bone Meal is right on target about the need for a consistent kicker. This also reminds me of something I’ve been wondering. The Falcons tried to let Koening be both the punter and placekicker his rookie year, but it turned out to be too much pressure for him and they had to bring Morton back. Why haven’t they ever given him another shot?

madfalconi

August 30th, 2010
6:31 pm

it’s actually brian schottenheimer; his son. good point, though. matt ryan is mature beyond his years and has all the tools around him this year to succeed. only thing missing is kerry meier. next year.

JONESBORO SLIM

August 30th, 2010
6:33 pm

Am I the only person to notice how Ryan throws his passes in a “rainbow” fashion which gives corners and safeties more than enough time to cover….hope I’m wrong………

GSU Eagle 91

August 30th, 2010
6:34 pm

When we watch football games, we instinctively follow the ball and ignore the rest of the play…
I do this…But I have made myself focus on the O-Line, including individual play, and frankly folks, I do not like what I see here…We are being pushed back and pushed around, which changes Matt’s ability to execute the called play. With under 2 seconds to throw the ball, how are our good WR’s going to get open downfield?

Let’s run the ball and control the clock…Save our Defense for important games in Nov and Dec when the playoffs are staring us in the face….