As fans, we love to go back and forth on how much pre-season actually matters. Some of us squint hard and see Sean Weatherspoon taking a bad angle on Aaron Hernandez, while others put on their glasses and glimpse a valiant effort. We're not likely to agree, and that's okay.
It's pretty clear, though, that Ryan and the rest of the Falcons really do view pre-season as little more than, well, "glorified practice."
How do I know this? Because Matty Snowballs said so:
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.''
To cut right through the jungle of ambiguity I typically like to hide in, he's absolutely right. What matters in the pre-season is getting comfortable, staying healthy and revving up for the regular season. It's discouraging to watch our Falcons stumble and bumble their way through what looks like a real game, but let's get real. They're not going to show up for the Pittsburgh game and suddenly forget everything that made them a winning team each of the last two seasons.
And for those that complain that he never takes strikes downfield and that our third down play is atrocious—and hell, for the record, I totally agree with you—it looks like Ryan gets that:
"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.''
So don't fret, guys. I think the firepower that we've been salivating over will finally show up in the Steelers game. Just don't get your hopes up for the last of the pre-season. Matt Ryan won't, either.