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|Dan Quinn briefly struggled with his plan to play quarterback Matt Ryan for only one series in the Atlanta Falcons' preseason opener at the New York Jets. That one series was so flawed the coach was tempted to give Ryan and the starters an opportunity for atonement.
Quinn stuck with his plan Doug Williams Jersey , but the bad series set the pace for a poor performance by the offense in last week's 17-0 loss to the Jets .
On Monday, the focus shifted to a fresh start for Ryan and the offense in Friday night's second preseason game against Kansas City.
"That was obviously not what we wanted for the first time out," Ryan said after Monday's practice. "Too many mistakes, too many procedural penalties to put us behind the chains. There were some good things too from the young guys but a lot for us to clean up. But that's what this time of year is about. It's about seeing where you're at and improving as we move forward."
The Falcons were called for two penalties on Ryan's only possession. The first penalty, an illegal shift, came on Ryan's 3-yard pass to Mohamed Sanu. He also completed a pass to rookie Calvin Ridley for a loss of 2 yards.
It was such a marred and brief time on the field that Quinn said "there was definitely a side of me" that wanted to reconsider the one-series plan for Ryan.
Ultimately, Quinn stayed true to his emphasis of evaluating as many players as possible , especially rookies. Wide receiver Julio Jones and running backs Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman were held out.
"I was tempted for sure because I certainly didn't like how it started, but at the end I wanted to stick with the plan knowing there's a lot we have to do from an evaluation standpoint," Quinn said Monday when asked about the possibility of giving Ryan another series.
The Falcons' first-half statistics were especially ugly: 10 plays, one first down and 34 total yards.
Even in the first preseason game, when player evaluations are more important than team results Brett Maher Jersey , it was an ugly showing for an offense seeking improvement in coordinator Steve Sarkasian's second year.
"I was concerned," Quinn said before backtracking to say he didn't know if that was "the right way to say it."
"I think the penalties certainly got in our way some," Quinn said. "There were a lot of things I wasn't happy with."
There are many areas where Quinn will be looking for improvement.
"I think the way we come off the ball, the run game, the play-action that comes with it, the shots down the field, I didn't feel that to the extent I'd like to so I'm hopeful that some of those short yardages now get converted, the drives get converted," he said.
Ryan and the starters may have another brief stint against the Chiefs. Starters normally see extended playing time in only the third preseason game.
Ryan said the goal will be to "clean up on some of the mistakes we made and try to play more efficient and better football."
NOTES: After being held out against the Jets, PK Matt Bryant (undisclosed injury) wore a cap instead of a helmet as he was a spectator in the portion of practice open to reporters. The plan is for Bryant to kick in practice Wednesday, and then a decision will be made on his status for Friday night's game. ... OT Ty Sambrailo (right hand) returned to practice after missing the game.
Last year it often seemed Miami Dolphins rookie defensive end Charles Harris didn't have a prayer to reach the quarterback, and now he does. The first-round draft pick from Missouri turned to his faith to shake the funk he found himself in last season when he totaled two sacks Sammy Baugh Jersey , which tied for 156th in the NFL.
"As a rookie, I was in a dark place," he says. "Now I'm cool. I understand grace."
Harris says he's optimistic he'll fulfill his potential this season, and a week into training camp, so are the Dolphins.
"I actually think Charles Harris has probably had the best offseason of anybody on our team," four-time Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake says. "He came back in tremendous shape. He has obviously been working on his strength; he has been working on his football. I think that's definitely going to pay off when it comes time to put in the live bullets and get after the quarterback."
Coach Adam Gase repeatedly defended Harris last season, saying the rookie was more disruptive than statistics would suggest. But the Dolphins were hoping for a bigger impact from the No. 22 overall pick in the draft.
Harris says off-the-field issues complicated his adjustment to the NFL. The Kansas City native says he struggled with the move to South Florida, and with the sudden wealth that accompanies a $6 million signing bonus.
"There was a lot of confusion," he says. "This offseason I just prayed a lot, prayed about my lifestyle, prayed about things off the field. Just like Revelation, I asked God for Solomon-like wisdom Brian Gibbons Jersey , and he blessed me with it. ... I'm using my talents and not burying them. Last season I buried them."
Dolphins defensive end Andre Branch, a second-round draft pick in 2012, says he can see the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Harris beginning to blossom.
"He's a monster," Branch says. "He has always had talent, but it takes time. He was a rookie coming into a program where he's expected to do a lot. He's a high draft pick. I've been there. There are a lot of things on your shoulders, and you're young. You have no clue what to do and who to go to. But he's coming into his own."
Harris plays the deepest position on the roster. Along with Wake and Branch, two-time Pro Bowler Robert Quinn and veteran William Hayes are expected to be part of the rotation.
More pressure on the quarterback is mandatory if the Dolphins are to improve on last year's 6-10 record. They had 30 sacks last season, the team's lowest total in a decade, which is a big reason they gave up more points than all but three other teams.
Harris says he's spending camp perfecting two or three pass-rush moves, preferring to polish them rather than add more that he doesn't do as well.
Wake and Quinn make for great mentors, he says Dustin Hopkins Jersey , because their styles are so different.
"They're two different varieties," Harris says. "I've got a power rusher and a finesse rusher at the same time. I feel like I can combine both of them and be one of the greatest."
Gase is encouraged by what he has seen lately from Harris, but taps the brakes on any soaring expectations, noting limitations on contact make it difficult to evaluate defensive linemen during practice.
"For me it's hard sometimes, because we're asking these guys to stay away from the quarterback," Gase says. "Once we hit real games, then that's going to be easier for us to say, 'OK, here's where we're at with his development, and where do we need to go next?'"
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