By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Dan Quinn briefly struggled with his plan to play quarterback Matt Ryan for only one series in the Atlanta Falcons’ preseason opening loss to the New York Jets.
That one series was so flawed the coach was tempted to give Ryan and the starters an opportunity for atonement.
Quinn stuck with his plan, but the bad series set the pace for a poor performance by the offense in last week’s 17-0 loss to the Jets.
On Monday, the focus shifted to a fresh start for Ryan and the offense in Friday night’s second preseason game against Kansas City.
“That was obviously not what we wanted for the first time out,” Ryan said after Monday’s practice. “Too many mistakes, too many procedural penalties to put us behind the chains. There were some good things too from the young guys but a lot for us to clean up. But that’s what this time of year is about. It’s about seeing where you’re at and improving as we move forward.”
The Falcons were called for two penalties on Ryan’s only possession. The first penalty, an illegal shift, came on Ryan’s 3-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu. He also completed a pass to rookie Calvin Ridley for a loss of 2 yards.
It was such a marred and brief time on the field that Quinn said “there was definitely a side of me” that wanted to reconsider the one-series plan for Ryan.
Ultimately, Quinn stayed true to his emphasis of evaluating as many players as possible, especially rookies. Wide receiver Julio Jones and running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were held out.
“I was tempted for sure because I certainly didn’t like how it started, but at the end I wanted to stick with the plan knowing there’s a lot we have to do from an evaluation standpoint,” Quinn said Monday when asked about the possibility of giving Ryan another series.
The Falcons’ first-half statistics were especially ugly: 10 plays, one first down and 34 total yards.
Even in the first preseason game, when player evaluations are more important than team results, it was an ugly showing for an offense seeking improvement in coordinator Steve Sarkasian’s second year.
“I was concerned,” Quinn said before backtracking to say he didn’t know if that was “the right way to say it.”
“I think the penalties certainly got in our way some,” Quinn said. “There were a lot of things I wasn’t happy with.”
There are many areas where Quinn will be looking for improvement.
“I think the way we come off the ball, the run game, the play-action that comes with it, the shots down the field, I didn’t feel that to the extent I’d like to so I’m hopeful that some of those short yardages now get converted, the drives get converted,” he said.
Ryan and the starters may have another brief stint against the Chiefs. Starters normally see extended playing time in only the third preseason game.
Ryan said the goal will be to “clean up on some of the mistakes we made and try to play more efficient and better football.”
NOTES: After being held out against the Jets, PK Matt Bryant (undisclosed injury) wore a cap instead of a helmet as he was a spectator in the portion of practice open to reporters. The plan is for Bryant to kick in practice Wednesday, and then a decision will be made on his status for Friday night’s game. … OT Ty Sambrailo (right hand) returned to practice after missing the game.