QB Ryan thinks Atlanta offense is in good shape

Matt Ryan isn’t concerned that the Atlanta Falcons’ starting
offense has scored one touchdown in 13 preseason possessions.

As Ryan sees it, why fret? Exhibition games are just glorified
practice time.

”Our confidence is high,” Ryan said Monday. ”There’s no doubt
about that. We’ve been working really hard in practice and coming
out and getting a good feel for it. So I don’t think our confidence
wavers.”

The Falcons (2-1) play their final exhibition Thursday at
Jacksonville (1-2).

Ryan and Atlanta’s other top playmakers, running back Michael
Turner, receiver Roddy White and tight end Tony Gonzalez, likely
will play no more than one series.

After that, the next stop is Sept. 12 for the season opener at
Pittsburgh.

Maybe to the untrained eye the offense seems to have lagged the
last couple of weeks, but Ryan is steadfast despite ranking 25th in
completion percentage and passer rating. Both are statistical
categories that declined last season after he was voted the NFL
offensive rookie of the year in 2008.

Ryan disputes that he and the offense have made few gains over
the last two weeks, a stretch that included a loss to New England
and an inconsistent win at Miami.

”No, I don’t agree with that,” he said. ”I think it’s a
gradual thing. We’re working on different things at different
points in training camp, and 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. We’re close.”

Against the Dolphins last week, Ryan completed just 13 of 26
passes for 103 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The score
came on an 18-yard pass to White on the second drive, but over the
next three possessions, Atlanta converted two of five third-down
snaps, one on a Dolphins penalty.

Turner lost a fumble on the fourth drive before Ryan ran six
no-huddle formations on the next possession, a 13-play drive that
sputtered at the Miami 8-yard line and ended with a field goal.

”We were good on third down,” Ryan said in assessing the
entire game. ”If you’re good on third down, you’re going to be
tough to beat. I think we need to be better at being aggressive and
taking shots on first and second down, but also in having positive
plays.”

NOTES: Coach Mike Smith said RCB Brian Williams took about 29
snaps against the Dolphins. The work was Williams’ first since his
season-ending knee injury last October against Chicago. He might
need a strong performance this week to make the 53-man roster. …
Rookie OLB Sean Weatherspoon, the No. 19 overall draft pick, said
the coaches have yet to tell him if he will start against the
Steelers. Weatherspoon has been taking more snaps recently at
strongside than weakside.