Falcons’ revamped offensive line shows positive signs

It’s a work in progress – as in the first step of the Falcons’ revamped and then revamped again late in the preseason offensive line.

The early returns were generally good for the group that had just one returning starter from last season and that also added two guards and a center before Monday’s season-opening 26-24 win over the Eagles at the Georgia Dome.

“Obviously, when you have changes specifically at that spot, there is always uncertainty, right?” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “It was the first opportunity for that group to play next to each other. You want to see those guys go out and do it. … I think (offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) had a plan to get those guys going and our run game certainly helped out. I’m really proud of how those guys played. For the first time going out there and doing it, I think they did an awesome job.”

The Falcons rushed for 105 yards on 35 carries, an average of 3.0 yards per attempt. Ryan was 23 of 34 for 298 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He was sacked just once.

“No change in our scheme or our approach,” first-year head coach Dan Quinn said of the new-look unit. “I think we kept the mindset that we were going to keep attacking to find the best group and the best way to go about it. We’ll continue to do that in everything we do.”

Mike Person, who signed as a free agent in March started at center after the Falcons waived Joe Hawley. Andy Levitre started at left guard after being acquired in a trade with the Titans on Sept. 4. Chris Chester started at right guard after signing with the Falcons in May.

The Falcons overcame Levitre’s fourth-quarter holding penalty on a drive that led to field goal for a 23-17 lead. The Eagles would score a touchdown on the ensuing drive before the Falcons won the game with Matt Byrant’s 47-yard field goal with 6.33 left.

“I thought we did a good job communicating out there,” Levitre said. “There are always a couple of plays you wish you could take back but I think for the most part we handled ourselves well. It’s all about improving throughout the season.”