The Falcons were back at practice after a mini-bye weekend following their 26-18 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving Day.
Matt Ryan was sacked a career-high nine times and he'll face another talented defensive front on Sunday when the Carolina Panthers come to town. Rookie Kaleb McGary allowed three of the nine sacks going up against the Saints' All-Pro defensive end Cam Jordan.
Likely drawing another tough matchup against the Panthers (5-6), Ryan is confident the rookie will rebound with a strong performance. Carolina leads the league in sacks with 46 on the year.
"I think Kaleb is a competitor and for a young guy he's a great professional," Ryan said. "That's part of it, being a young player, there are going to be week where it's tough sledding. You learn a lot from those. But his day-to-day approach is really good. I thought he did a nice job for us in practice today and he'll be ready to play really well on Sunday."
Roddy White is the 'ultimate competitor'
White will be inducted into the Falcons' Ring of Honor on Sunday after his impressive 11-year career in Atlanta. Ryan and White played eight years together and share a special bond.
"I have so many great memories of Rod," Ryan said. "He's one of the most fun people you could ever play with. He's got the best smile of anyone going. He could kind of brighten up someone's day with his personality. Regardless of the situation, he was the ultimate competitor and the ultimate teammate."
White started 149 games in his career and caught a franchise-leading 808 passes for 10,863 yards and 63 touchdowns.
**The plan to get run game going
**The Falcons (3-9) have not run the ball particularly well this season as they rank No. 30 in the league averaging 74.3. yards per game. In order to be successful against the Panthers, Atlanta will need to get this part of their offense going.
The Panthers have struggled to stop the run this season. Carolina ranks No. 29 against the run and is coming off one of their worst performances of the season. The Redskins gashed the Panthers' defense for 248 yards on the ground in Week 13.
"Keep working at," Ryan said of how to get the run game going. "We've done that and had some success at times and haven't been as consistent as we would like at other times, but you have to stick with it, particularly against this team. They are an excellent pass rush unit, you have to find a way to get the run game going. You have to stick with it and we have to be productive with it."