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Saturday, August 27, 2011
Observations on the Atlanta Falcons

By Pat Yasinskas


There’s a perception that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan doesn’t have a very strong arm.

If you saw Saturday night’s 34-16 preseason loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, you now know that’s a total myth. In the second quarter, Ryan threw one of the prettiest deep passes you’ll ever see. With the ball at his own 48-yard line, Ryan took a deep drop and heaved a perfect pass a few yards into the end zone.

Julio Jones, who was brought into bring explosive plays and allow Ryan to showcase his arm, slightly beat his man and dove for a pass that couldn’t have been put in a better location.

One slight problem -- Jones dropped the pass. But, hey, it’s a preseason game and the fact he dropped it doesn’t really matter. What’s important is Ryan -- who completed 22 of 42 passes for 220 yards with one touchdown and one interception while playing only the first half -- showed himself, his teammates, his coaches and his critics that he’s got a big enough arm to do some deep damage.

The Falcons have made it pretty clear they’re going to throw down field more often this season. Now, they should have the confidence to do it frequently and maybe Jones will hold onto the ball.

Some other observations on the Falcons: