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.