Ryan gives up some advice to Stafford

Matt Ryan pumping iron in weight room. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Matt Ryan pumping iron in the weight room. CURTIS COMPTON / CCOMPTON@AJC.COM

Flowery Branch –  Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and Georgia quarterback Matt Stafford are likely to be forever linked.

After Ryan’s spectacular rookie season, Stafford, who’s likely to be the top quarterback selected in the draft, will be expected to excel immediately, too.

Both are represented by super agents Ben Dogra and Tom Condon. At the NFL scouting combine, Stafford said he was impressed with Ryan’s work and will reach out to him.

Ryan will be ready to offer some advice when things slow down for Stafford, who went through a private workout for the Lions in Athens on Tuesday. Ryan, who was selected with the No. 3 pick overall last season, knows what Stafford and USC quarterback Mark Sanchez are going through.

Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford (7) will be pointing the way for an NFL team soon.  Brant Sanderlin/ bsanderlin@ajc.com

Quarterback Matthew Stafford (7) will be pointing the way for a NFL team soon. Brant Sanderlin/ bsanderlin@ajc.com

“My advice to them would be to go in and work as hard as you possibly can,” Ryan said. “At times, you’re going to need to keep your mouth shut. Just keep your mouth shut, go out there and work hard and do everything you can to try and help your team win. If you focus on those things and leave some of the distractions that go with being drafted early and playing the position that you play, then you’ll be all right.”

Ryan doesn’t miss being under the NFL draft microscope.

“Things are starting to heat up,” Ryan said. “They have no idea where they are going to be.  I’m sure, Matthew Stafford, at some point I’ll speak to him. Just with the relationship that I have with the agents, they represent me as well. But I wish both of those guys the best.”

Here’s Ryan on a few Falcons matters:

BIRDS NOT LAYING IN THE BUSHES: “We’re not going to sneak up on people. Anytime that you go 11-5 the NFL rewards you with a tougher schedule. So that makes things a little more difficult. With that said, teams are going to understand what we are capable of. But at the same time, we also know what we are capable of.”

OFFSEASON WORKOUTS: “I’ve been itching to get back here to start preparing for next season. I think that we did a lot of things really well last year, but losing in the playoffs serves as great motivation. I started to come back early and tried to get myself in shape before we got into the workouts. I wanted to watch a little bit of tape and start preparing for next year.”

OFFSEASON MOVES: (Five defensive starters left in free agency). “I think that they’ve done a good job. I think everybody has complete confidence in what Rich McKay, Thomas Dimitroff and the front office is going to do. We are comfortable with the moves they are going to make. We’re happy that we’ve kept a bunch of the guys that we have kept. We had Michael Jenkins deal done during the season. He’s a target that I like to throw to. He made a huge impact for our team last year. We got Babs (Jonathan Babineaux) back, which is huge and we picked up Michael Peterson in the offseason. He’s going to shore us up at linebacker.”

THROWING WITH THE WRs: “We’ve already started that. We’ve already started working on, getting out there and throwing a little bit. We are trying to do some different things. We want to get that rapport that we need to have during the season. We built a really good foundation during the season, we really did. But we need to get better. That’s got to be the emphasis this offseason.”

Ryan also pointed out that wide receiver Laurent Robinson is looking good and appears healthy.

Does Ryan have some sound advice for Stafford? How important is the offseason workouts? Do you think Ryan and his receivers can develop that type of chemistry that the Colts seem to have with Peyton Manning.?

167 comments Add your comment


March 31st, 2009
6:44 pm

Best thing to read here was Laurent Robinson’s name. What a talent! Unlimited potential. One of the smoothest, most precise route-runners the Birds have ever had. I cannot wait to see him line up this summer. Do not be surprised if he works his way into a lot of plays.


March 31st, 2009
6:45 pm

Nice piece D.


March 31st, 2009
7:07 pm

How r u Birdz defense going to look?


March 31st, 2009
7:10 pm

QB unlike Matty Ice. Note that Stafford has the better natural physical skills, but he will NEVER be as good as Matty Ice.

Stafford just does not care. He does not lead in the huddle. When hes on hes amazing, but he just does not care. – Huge UGA fan


March 31st, 2009
7:11 pm

Last email got cut off – what i was trying to say is:

Stafford will never be a great NFL QB unlike Matty Ice. Note that Stafford has the better natural physical skills, but he will NEVER be as good as Matty Ice.

Stafford just does not care. He does not lead in the huddle. When hes on hes amazing, but he just does not care. – Huge UGA fan

Stafford = Bust


March 31st, 2009
7:28 pm

Stafford will be the next John Elway


March 31st, 2009
7:48 pm

Hary, How can you say that Matthew Stafford will never be as good as Ryan? You’re essentially saying he will never be as good as Ryan was LAST YEAR, as a rookie. HUH? I agree that Stafford didn’t care in college. But he has been groomed as an NFL quarterback since he was a kid. College has always been his stepping stone to where he will ultimately shine. You will see him become a leader and combine those leadership skills with his talent. It will be a great thing to watch.


March 31st, 2009
7:50 pm

Nice story D-led, but you can’t top your other piece today about the falcons AND The Masters – Nobel Prize buddy!!!


March 31st, 2009
7:56 pm

I just dont see it. Its a gut feeling, admittedly not a scientific analysis hehe. Bad comparison but…Michael Vick could rocket the ball with anyone, maybe even Brett Favre. But vick could never put it all together. Now Stafford is obviously not in the Vick mold, but I see a gun-slinger who just can not become a leader. Also, in a wierd way i think youre point about Ryan as a rookie actually makes a great point for me, which is “how scary is Matt Ryan and how sick will he truly become, since he did all that as a rookie!” Good dialogue here tho.

country boy

March 31st, 2009
8:35 pm

Good article D-Led. I had been hoping for something from you on Ryan’s offseason … not that I’m complaining about a quiet offseason from a professional athlete.


March 31st, 2009
8:38 pm

Stafford has all the talent in the world, If the lions have any sense, God knows they have’nt shown any, they’ll take him. Try to pay attention Detroit, you don’t have to trade back into the first round you already have the additional first round pick to secure a solid left tackle. Protect Your 30 million dollar investment. The government has enough idiots to bail out already. If you have any trouble remembering any of this, just send your crayons to Dimitroff and he’ll draw you a picture. Just try to remember protect Stafford and throw the ball to Calvin. One more thing, this is important, score more points than the other guy’s. are you guys getting this down? am I writing too fast? If you still chose to pass on Stafford, perhaps take a wide reciever for instance, we have a slightly used quarterback you might be interested in.


March 31st, 2009
8:44 pm

@Hary: I don’t know if Stafford “doesn’t care” so much as I think he does not have the “it” (whatever it is) that great QBs have. I think Matty Ice does….I saw it at Virginia Tech his last year at BC…I saw it against Chicago in the last 11 seconds last year as a Falcon. You saw it in Joe Montana at Notre Dame…the comebacks….the fire in his eyes. Stafford obviously has all of the tangibles…and I certainly wish him well and hope I am dead wrong. He just never seemed to make the big plays at UGA or win the big games. The great ones seem to have a certain intensity yet a certain coolness at the same time. I always felt like Joe Montana was out there having a great time…like he was playing a video game…but the look in his eyes you can’t forget.


March 31st, 2009
8:46 pm

D LED thanks for the info. This is a welcome respite from the draft discussions, nicely done.

I was so happy to hear Matty Ice’s feedback on the WR’s and especially about Laurent Robinson. Say what you all want about our WR’s for the most part are from the Rich McKay/Jim Mora era. Let’s give credit where it is due.

I sense however, a quiet confidence and optimism from our QB and that is very re-assuring. I like what I’m hearing.

Once again BIGUPS to you D LED!!!!

Go Falcons!!!!!

Nuff respect!!!


March 31st, 2009
9:25 pm

DOL – earning your stud racing stripes, my brother. Getting up tidbits every couple of days really keeps us going. Just when a blog topic seems that it may have run its course, you put another up. Great job, DOL!

Stafford should have Matt Ryan on speed dial for the amazing job he did last year as a rookie in an almost impossible situation he was coming into in Atlanta’s turmoil, the expectations, and adversity he had right off the bat. As he said, he battled, worked hard, kept his head down, and earned the respect of the fans.

I wish Stafford the best and hope he gets a good fit, but he will not have the success Ryan did for several reasons if he starts day 1 in Detroit. As a UGA grad and seeing Stafford first hand in Athens, he has some of the best skills ever for a QB, but there were issues as UGA’s starting QB. Stafford never struck me a natural leader, especially compared to someone like Tim Tebow or Matty Ice now. There would be series where the offense just looked completely lost. 3 and outs, misfires, bad audibles, missing wide open receivers, and sometimes a feeling that once the offense made some mistakes, they would shutdown.

Part of it may have been that the team looked to him and Moreno to save the team, but another year in college would have done him good. The best scenario for him would be to go to Seattle and learn behind Matt Hasselbeck for a year or so.

I hope that Stafford turns out to be great, but if you ask me will Stafford have even close to the year Matty Ice have, it will have to be an emphatic no. The work ethic doesn’t even come close to Matty Ice. Hate to have to do that to a former Bulldog, but JMO.

Ted Striker

March 31st, 2009
9:47 pm

Country Boy, best line that I’ve seen in a while — “not that I’m complaining about a quiet offseason from a professional athlete.


March 31st, 2009
9:48 pm

Quick: name Stafford’s marquee win at Georgia?

Not that easy is it.

Great news on Laurent Robinson. Man, our WR corps has the absolute chance of becoming one of the very best in football. White, Jenkins, Douglas, Robinson, & Finneran are a great set-up for WR. Add a TE with catching ability, who can learn to block better with good coaching such as Nelson, Cook, Coffman, or Morrah and man would that be something to special to watch.


March 31st, 2009
10:00 pm

D3, Quick! Name Matt Ryan’s signature win at BC.

Not that easy is it.

Give Matt Stafford a chance. Nobody saw Matt Ryan coming even tho he came in with similar hype.


March 31st, 2009
10:14 pm

EW – as a season ticket holder, I’ve seen him first hand and my personal opinion is that he should have come back for his senior year, because physically he is ready, but mentally he is not. Matt Ryan was a 5th year senior, Matt Stafford left after his junior year and having a total collapse year being ranked pre-season #1. Fairly or not, if he is defined as the leader of the team, he bears some of that responsibility.

I know it sounds like I’m hatin’ on him, but I’m not. I’ve had these complaints after watching Stafford have brilliant games(Auburn & Tech ‘06, Auburn, Florida, & Hawaii ‘08) and absolutelty terrible ones(SC & Tenn ‘07, Bama & FL ‘08). After being in school and graduating from UGA, I’ve seen QB’s with much less talent (David Greene, DJ Shockley) do much, much more with much, much less concerning team talent and personal leadership.


March 31st, 2009
10:16 pm

meant to say Auburn, FL and Hawaii ‘07, obviously.


March 31st, 2009
10:23 pm

Stafford will take the Lions to its first Super Bowl.. when?.. ummm, give’em at least 3-4 yrs to get all the pieces 2gether. Of course, if Lions pick Staff.

Good luck Matt!


March 31st, 2009
10:32 pm

Hary, when were you ever in the huddle with Matt Stafford to know what kind of leader he is?


March 31st, 2009
10:41 pm

D3, right on about where Stafford would do the best in the draft, 4 going to Seattle, where he can sit and learn for a year behind Matt H. Although, I don’t wish Jim Mora and Greg Knapp’s coaching on ANY young QB coming up in the league, we saw how they handled the last young QB under their care (OK maybe not all on them, but to a degree, they tried to make him fit into their offense, instead of building the offense around him? Does that make sense?)

I still think Matthew Stafford would have been perfect at 3 going to KC, but they’ve got their QB in Matt C.

Best news from the blog was the bit about Matt Ryan’s desire to work as hard as possible to get better. He’s got the Payton Manning like work attitude, which will help him go a long way. I only wish one previous starting QB would have done the same around here, instead of….well you know the rest!


March 31st, 2009
10:44 pm

MY HATERZ MAKE ME STRONGER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


March 31st, 2009
10:49 pm

MY HATERS MAKE ME STRONGER !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 31st, 2009
11:04 pm

Very good, D.O.! I like it when you flip it like that. We were getting carried away with the defensive discussion.

Question: With Laurent Robinson’s healthy return, what’s going to happen with Brian Finn and Harry Douglas (who had a very good season)? Boy, our offense sure looks strong. With a strong reserve tackle (is Wayne Gandy still available?) and a starting tight end, that would complete this offense for years. Got to sign Rowdy Roddy, though.

Again, good article, D.O.

Rip D.

March 31st, 2009
11:11 pm

Loquacious are you the dude from Star Wars with the bad skin and glow in the dark eyes ,that keeps sayin come over to the dark side of the force? lol

darrell starks

March 31st, 2009
11:11 pm

The ice man look ready and strong. GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

darrell starks

March 31st, 2009
11:18 pm

Now lets get him some help on the defense side of the ball and take the pressure of the offense. GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!


March 31st, 2009
11:19 pm

About time you got back to work D. Lead


March 31st, 2009
11:23 pm

Stirg – what’s up G-money? Personally, I think Laurent Robinson must compete with Douglas, who has firmly entrenched himself as a solid #3 slot receiver with the rookie season he had, but we know competition brings out the best. Agreed on Roddy White, they need to pay him what he deserves and lock him up. The sooner it gets to the end of next year, the more nervous I’ll be. Sometimes you let guys walk and sometimes you gotta pay them what they deserve it, you drafted and developed them.

Ron Brace over Peria Jerry if they’re both available? Would it be hard for you to pass on Maybin if he slipped to #24? Tough, tough decisions.

I guess everybody’s heard by now that Cutler’s officially on the block. According to John Clayton, looks like Cleveland and Detroit are the front runners. Man, Josh McDaniels better win, and win quick. What a complete arrogant, dumb@ss!


March 31st, 2009
11:24 pm


Your comments from the previous article MOCK DRAFT are humbling. Thank you both for the props, but I really can’t take credit for diligent research in pointing out LAWRENCE SIDBURY Jr.’s obvious advantages as a draft choice. I have met the young man, and you may be assured that there is no one available in this draft with more desire or potential at DE than LAWRENCE. If he should fall as far as the fourth round I would consider the acquisition a steal. Below that level I would label the team picking him as “thief” and require a mask be worn when turning in his name to the commissioner. Unless injured, this young man is going to be heard from in the NFL in the future, and I don’t mean by being arrested for breaking the law.


March 31st, 2009
11:25 pm

Much has been made about Stafford’s talent and lack of leadership by the media. And since I usually bet against ESPN’s perception of athletes( their analyst’s are complete morons), he is my take with Stafford. I don’t think Stafford is a head case like Ryan Leaf, but he’s not a Peyton Manning either. I can see him being a starter in the NFL for 6-8 years and putting up decent numbers. I don’t think he’ll be a Tom Brady, but I think he has just as much potential as Tony Romo or Donovan McNabb. So basically, I can see Stafford getting a team to the playoffs but never winning a Super Bowl unless he has a nasty defense like the 2000 Ravens that can carry the team. I mean if Trent Dilfer can win a Super Bowl, anyone can with the right defense

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 31st, 2009
11:44 pm

Why is Tywain Myles listed as a defensive tackle on our depth chart? Who is this kid? At 6′2″ 305, we need to get him some reps .

Stirg d'Nahsif

March 31st, 2009
11:53 pm

What up, D3? The Cutler situation is a bad sign for Atlanta. Detroit pick three times before Atlanta’s second pick and they need some of everything, especially defense. If they think like most defensive minds think, then they’ll start with defensive line, as well. Imagine that. One act, today, immediately changed the stock of Brace, Jerry, Hood, Delmas, Smith, etc…

This is so fun.


April 1st, 2009
2:12 am

John, I clearly have not been in the huddle, but I watch all the UGA games and you observe things as a football fan, thats a fair statement I think. I can use a different word instead of leadership, whatever it is Matthew Stafford does not play to his potential. He has excellent moments and way too many bad ones. I dont see him becoming a good QB because of the mental part of his game.

Big Ray

April 1st, 2009
3:31 am


Don’t say that. Ya makin’ me nervous. On the flip side of the coin, a team like Detroit not taking Stafford means another team picking ahead of us, taking somebody they hadn’t planned to take before. Which could be good or bad. Okay, that only confuses me even worse…


April 1st, 2009
6:06 am

Stafford will do JUST FINE!! What a GREAT role model…..MATTY ICE. His work ethic and passion for his job are the EXCEPTION in the workplace!!


April 1st, 2009
7:27 am

Great article DLED..Any Falcons news is like a shot of adrenalin. The attitude of Matty Ice will carry over to some of the other players on the team..They cannot help but to get better..


April 1st, 2009
7:53 am

Just glad to hear Matt and the recievers are ALREADY working on getting their timing down. Getting Laurant back is a problem you like to have.


April 1st, 2009
8:02 am

Nice stuff except the schedule is no longer based on previous season (except for one game I believe). The good news, everyone else in division will have just as tough of a schedule. 9-7 may win it this year if AFC and NFC East are as good as previous years

Too Easy

April 1st, 2009
8:30 am

2007 Alabama game. OT. One pass and done. Signature. On the road.


April 1st, 2009
8:49 am

What up D3, STIRG, BIG RAY?
Now the insanity of who will be there continues!

After exstensive research (20 min.), I’ve concluded we’ll have 1 (poss. 2) less defensive player taken before #24 (due to Cutler trade).

Any trade for Cutler looks like it has to go through the Browns in a 3-way. So at the very least, the Browns and the Broncos will receive an additional #1 before us. The Browns (LB/S/CB) and the Broncos (DT/DE) are predicted to draft defensive needs. So thats 2 defensive picks, but if the Bears or Bucs are the 3rd party (they both want DT/DE), then we gain one pick. So thanks to GSU, 2 – 1 = 1 Defensive player lost.
Yes, yes I know, incredible insight! lol


April 1st, 2009
8:50 am

It took Vick years to figure out he needed to work hard in the off season. Matty Ice is like Peyton Manning in that he will out work his competition. Talent alone never ensures success it is usually the guy who works harder. I am very happy with Matty Ice as our leader. Stafford is not a finisher product he can be good if he never forgets that fact.

Voice of Reason

April 1st, 2009
9:11 am

I remember that the only complaoints about Ryan last year were that he threw too many interceptions and didn’t play against top notch competition (such as the SEC). The first sounds alot like Stafford and in the latter category Stafford has a leg up. Stafford’s defining win? Alabama overtime game or Florida victory, take your pick.


April 1st, 2009
9:26 am

My hope is that Tampa Bay DOES NOT get Cutler. I don’t think they can pull it with their draft picks, etc. But we’ll see. Stafford does probably have a good chance of being a solid pro, but he won’t have the immediate success that Matty Ice had. It all just came together in a perfect storm with the hiring of TD, then hiring Smitty, and drafting Matty Ice. Stafford’s best chance is to go to Seattle and ease into the job, IMHO. He could be successful in Detroit, if he’s eased into the job, but starting day one will be tough, because mentally he’s not the same as Matt Ryan, just a fact.


April 1st, 2009
9:35 am

Too Easy – you’re probably correct on the Bama game and not tryin’ to hate, but how’d that Alabama turn out that year? Also, since his best year should be his senior year, shouldn’t a signature game come from his senior year in college? Just saying as a Bulldog grad and fan.


April 1st, 2009
9:37 am

Voice – again correct on Stafford’s win. But it came from his sophomore year. Did he progress as a player and leader to his junior year? And the player of the game would be Moreno with 188 yards and 3 td’s. I’m not arguing that he will be a good QB in the NFL, just that he is not as mentally and emotionally ready as Matt Ryan, day one.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

April 1st, 2009
9:46 am


MAC anc D3: Trying to get my offseason rhythm.

JJ: Thanks JJ, saving a spot in the trophy case for my Pulitzer.

WE: ICE’s big win was Virginia Tech in overtime, senior year. STAFF’s was Alabama in OT.

STIRG: Thanks for your super posts!!!

TOO EASY: See above for Stafford’s big game.


April 1st, 2009
10:01 am

Man, it sounds good to hear that Matt is working with the receivers! That’s how you build chemistry. That’s what Manning and Co. were notorious for doing. Your offseason preparation will make or break you. I have a feeling, if healthy, Robinson will be an explosive asset on this team this year. I’ve got a good feeling about the offense. Now the defense…

Brian Hunt

April 1st, 2009
10:24 am

Good work Ledbetter. You’re finding your groove. I’m glad to see that Ryan is hungry for success this season and already looking at film and throwing to the Wide Outs. Our offense is going to have to be very productive because the defense still has a ways to go.