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.
“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.?