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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