Since I spent the better part of the spring wailing about some sort of Yankee conspiracy to build Matt Ryan into a franchise quarterback despite a plethora of evidence to the contrary, I ought to come clean and say that Ryan looked good in his first preseason action on Saturday night. Mike Smith made a point of playing Ryan against the Jacksonville first team defense. Ryan looked very shaky on his first possession, but once he calmed down, he was good on the second possession. He made intelligent reads. Ryan was also somewhat inaccurate, but got bailed out by Roddy White, who caught everything that came close. It's possible that Jacksonville was simply playing vanilla coverages and Ryan will struggle once NFL defenses get funky when the bullets start flying for real. That said, Der Wife and I watched on Saturday night expecting to have a good chuckle at the local professional football collective, but we came away pleasantly surprised.
The other player who stood out was Brent Grimes. Grimes is a corner of whom I'd never heard before Saturday night, but he was all over the Jags' (admittedly underwhelming) receivers. He seems plenty athletic and had pretty good technique, other than an instance where he accidentally kicked the ball out of his own hands in the end zone.
The Falcons' corners are going to need to be good because the defensive line looks dreadful. The best example I can point to is David Garrard's sneak for the opening touchdown of the game. I don't think I'd ever seen a quarterback end up six yards into the end zone on a sneak before Saturday night. The line got no pressure and Jacksonville had ample space on running plays. This is going to be an issue all year.