FLOWERY BRANCH -- It's just three games, but Pro Bowl wide receiver Roddy White's numbers are down dramatically.
He held out at the beginning of training camp and missed nine days before reaching a six-year, $49 million contract extension.
The deep pass has been absent from the Falcons' attack, and it shows in White's numbers.
White has been targeted on 26 passes. He has 15 catches for 119 yards (7.9 yards per catch). He averaged 15.7 yards per catch last season and 15.4 over 230 career catches entering this season.
"Yeah, it's going to improve," White said. "I just feel like I'm off to a slow start."
Quarterback Matt Ryan is off to stellar start, while completing nearly 66 percent of passes. He's completed passes to nine different receivers and five of them average more than 10 yards per catch.
White dropped two passes against New England. In the season opener against Miami, White got open deep, but the pass was either off the mark or he didn't end up in the right spot.
"I just have to get better," said White, who set a franchise record with 1,382 yards receiving last season. "I have to go out there and work hard and get better. I just have to start getting explosive plays like I'm used to getting."
White's long catch this season went for 17 yards. He had 16 receptions for 25 yards or more last season, and over his career, he's had 36.
White was not critical of the play-calling.
"We are throwing the ball deep," White said. "We had a couple of opportunities. We've just missed on a couple. The times that we did go deep, the timing wasn't right."
White expects those long-gainers to start stacking up after the team returns from the bye week.
"We are just going to take this week to get better," White said. "Go out there and work on our timing."
Hill got his look
Cornerback Tye Hill got a lot of action during the two bye-week practices. He was acquired in a trade with the St. Louis Rams before the start of the season.
"I think that he has definitely improved since the first day that he got here, which is a positive sign," Falcons coach Mike Smith said. "We’ll evaluate the film and see where he is at.”
Refs looking for push offs?
Wide receiver Michael Jenkins and Carolina's Muhsin Muhammad were involved in two big offensive pass-interference calls last week that nullified touchdowns.
"The referees are starting to look for things like that," White said. "You just have to keep your hands inside and take the ball over the top of their heads."
Jenkins didn't concur with White.
"I don't think so," Jenkins said. "I think Muhammad had more of a push-off in the back, but they are just trying to do their job. If they see something, they have to go with what they see."
Ryan is not sure if they are calling things a little tighter on wide receivers.
"They are going to call it how they see it," Ryan said. "You have to respect that. Officiating in the NFL is a tough job."
* The Falcons wrapped up practice early Thursday and have the rest of the weekend off. They will return Monday.
* The coaches are doing a self-scout of the team and schemes during the bye week. But Smith lamented not having enough statistical data after just three games.
* Defensive tackle Peria Jerry, the Falcons' first-round draft pick who's on injured reserve, had surgery Tuesday. He's expected back in Atlanta over the weekend to start his rehabilitation.
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