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Offensive line remains a priority for Falcons after first half vs. Jets

Jets Falcons Football

ATLANTA -- Matt Ryan made his first appearance of the preseason on Thursday night against the New York Jets, but the Falcons' offense didn't provide the usual number of fireworks with him behind center.


That had very little to do with Ryan, who was strikingly sharp. The Falcons' starter was 10-of-14 for 118 yards, and three of those incomplete passes were drops on the part of the receivers, including two that would have been touchdowns. But the most impressive part of Ryan's performance was that he managed that efficiency despite facing constant pressure from the Jets defense.

"Tonight there was a lot of pressures and blitzes, and I think that's good for us," coach Dan Quinn said after the game. "It tests you, [you see] new things and puts you through some of the rules. What I can say - I don't know what [Ryan] finished, something like 10 of 14, and a couple of those were drops - that's a guy whose dialed in. You don't want him to get hit, but you need that readiness for him. He's as dialed in as he's ever been."

Atlanta made its offensive line a major priority this offseason, but Thursday night showed that it remains one. Ryan was sacked three times and the Jets racked up nine quarterback pressures while he was in the game. Safety Jamal Adams and linebackers Brandon Copeland and Avery Williamson were the three Jets players who sacked Ryan.

The Falcons were without veteran guard James Carpenter and first-round pick Kaleb McGary, who were sidelined with injuries. Carpenter and McGary were part of Atlanta's effort to re-tool its offensive line this offseason, so their absence is notable. After the first half on Thursday night, the offensive line remains a key part of the discussion around this team.

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