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Ryan: Falcons 'further along' in Shanahan's offense

Atlanta is bound to tap the draft for defensive help, but Falcons fans also want to see the offense take a step forward in 2016.

Coming off an up-and-down season, quarterback Matt Ryan said Tuesday that he's "excited" for the chance to grow in Year 2 under play-caller Kyle Shanahan.

"There's that four or five seconds in your head where you're trying to sort out what we're doing," Ryan said of last year's struggles, per Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "As you're in a system more, you start focusing on the things that are important -- what you're going against defensively, what your keys are in protection, what you're looking for from a coverage standpoint."

The wheels fell off after Atlanta's 6-1 start, with Ryan ultimately throwing 16 picks -- the second most of his career -- and losing eight fumbles, his most in eight seasons.

Adjusting to a new attack is no easy trick, one reason Ryan and the passing game, especially, should be more in sync come September. The addition of Pro Bowl center Alex Mack and wideout Mohamed Sanu will help.

Ryan told reporters that he noticed an uptick in synergy during a recent passing camp in Miami, saying: "I think everybody was more comfortable ... I could already tell we were a lot further along than we were even at certain points midway through the season last year."

April and May are filled with these overly optimistic missives from every team league-wide. Shanahan, though, has proven his offense can work, leaving Ryan as a strong candidate to improve on last year's less-than-pristine campaign.

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