FLOWERY BRANCH — 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 CB 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.