Pro Bowl: Matt Ryan enjoyed the NFC receivers

NFC quarterback Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, looks to pass as running back Michael Turner (33), also of the Falcons, comes out of the backfield, and guard Jahri Evans (73), of the New Orleans Saints, blocks during the second quarter the NFL football Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

NFC quarterback Matt Ryan, of the Atlanta Falcons, looks to pass as running back Michael Turner (33), also of the Falcons, comes out of the backfield, and guard Jahri Evans (73), of the New Orleans Saints, blocks during the second quarter the NFL football Pro Bowl on Sunday, Jan. 30, 2011, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Twice during the Pro Bowl telecast on Fox, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was shown gawking over his talented Pro Bowl receivers.

Who could blame him for wanting Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson?

After throwing a 25-yard touchdown pass to Fitzgerald, they showed Ryan on the sideline telling some teammates that he liked throwing a high pass to Fitzgerald and how he’d love to have him. He could be a free agent in 2012. If he gets the franchise tag in 2012, he’s set to make $23 million.

Ryan later, was asked who he was most impressed with. Ryan said Detroit’s Calvin Johnson, because he’s so big and fast. The former Sandy Creek High and Georgia Tech standout is under contract with the Lions through 2013.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, Atlanta Falcons beat blog

Get instant updates on Twitter at AJCFalcons and you can join the Facebook Fan page at AJC Falcons.

59 comments Add your comment

Carlton

January 30th, 2011
10:36 pm

First. Go Falcons!!

KimZ'sPackage

January 30th, 2011
11:04 pm

I would love Calvin Johnson Back in the STATE OF GEORGIA to play Pro football too.

Dirty FL Bird

January 30th, 2011
11:19 pm

D.Led
Correct me if I’m mistaken but, doesn’t fitz have a clause in his contract that he can’t be franchise tagged?

FalconsFan284

January 30th, 2011
11:26 pm

Ryan was the clear cut MVP of the Pro Bowl. How can they give it to a defensive player when the other team scored 40+?

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Atlanta Towing, Patrick Hensley, Rod Johnson, Ashleigh Smith, D. Orlando Ledbetter and others. D. Orlando Ledbetter said: Pro Bowl: Matt Ryan enjoyed the NFC receivers http://bit.ly/h2r3Jm [...]

Dirty FL Bird

January 30th, 2011
11:36 pm

D.Led
Normally i would think that smith and company would be unofficially trying to recruit some of the possible opt-out or free agent players while in hawaii, (Fitz & Bailey ect…) with so many other falcons there they could have a good idea of the character and identity of the team (a powerful marketing weapon). But how does this work with the new CBA thats still yet to be made? do we have to wait until it’s drafted to address these players? i would assume so because i haven’t heard anything about free agency (anywhere in the league) yet. but i’m confused because we signed some of our practice squad players.

Jake Wolfe

January 30th, 2011
11:49 pm

HAHA i bet TD and AB are calling up the cardinals right now!!!!

GET HIM ATL…NEXT YEAR SLOGAN “WE BELIEVE”

Jake Wolfe

January 31st, 2011
12:02 am

2 KEY THINGS ON OFFSEASON LIST:
————————————————————

1.Trade Harry Douglas and 1st round for Larry Fitzgerald

2.Get Bruce Carter in second round and bulid D-fence through FA

Jake Wolfe

January 31st, 2011
12:09 am

Or we can get casey matthews but he is probally going to be gone

Jake Wolfe

January 31st, 2011
12:15 am

Also,D LED i need ur opinion.Should we get Plaxico burres?

OHIOdirtybird

January 31st, 2011
12:49 am

Jake i don’t understand your hate on the WR core??…..if you can give me a logical explanation as to why we “need” plaxico i am willing to listen, but i don’t see an improvement if we bring him in , if anything, we need a lil upgrade on the pass rush ,and i believe we have brought in some good talent for that and will continue to do so!!….we got a young team!!!….GET READY TO RISE UP!!!

TLH

January 31st, 2011
2:17 am

I think we should draft Noel Devine if he’s available. We need some speed on offense if we’re gonna compete. For Defense I would draft Casey Matthews to replace Mike Peterson.

DeepDiver

January 31st, 2011
3:46 am

Harry Douglas and a 1st for Fitzgerald? That wouldn’t even work on Madden…

Troy

January 31st, 2011
5:35 am

Hey D Led. How about that draft my boy Jonathan Baldwin from up here in Pittsburgh? He’s 6′5, runs a sub 4.5 40yd, and has like a 35+ inch vertical. I’m sure Ryan would love to throw the ball to him, and he would be a great compliment to Roddy.

Ron Choke Mexico

January 31st, 2011
6:04 am

seriously, jake? trade douglas and our fiirst round pick for fitzgerald? That would have to mean the cards mgmt is brain dead.

DC Dirty Bird

January 31st, 2011
7:27 am

We will not be able to bring in another playmaker on defense if we spend on Larry Fitzgerald. Besides, what’s the point of having an S-Class AMG Mercedes if you’re gonna put grandma (Mularkey) behind the wheel. This is the year we seek diamonds in the rough on offense in the later rounds. Quite frankly, I’d rather select a DE (Allen Bailey)in the first and bring in a playmaker at WR via free agency. There aren’t many WR who come into the league and make an instant impact in offensive systems like ours. We could then use either the 2nd and 3rd round to draft a speed back and a TE. With Tony coming back, we can afford to take a TE with raw talent and let him learn from Tony over the course of training camp. I really hope that we focus on getting talent in this draft as opposed to just “solid players” who make the team more well rounded from top to bottom.

Roy Barnes

January 31st, 2011
7:30 am

Why didn’t you morons vote for me?

tbhawksfan

January 31st, 2011
7:55 am

We’re going to lose one to four OLmen through FA / retirement. Need to upgrade OL, WR, DE, CB, OLB, RB.

TD needs a miracle draft and a good FA or two.

Adam

January 31st, 2011
8:06 am

a trade more feasible would be a 1st and 3rd this year and a 2nd next year for Calvin…

Calvin still trains in ATL in offseason, parents teach at Emory.. would be a great explosive player to bring in after signing Asomugha…

Greg M

January 31st, 2011
8:11 am

Excellent, Excellent job by the Falcons in the Pro Bowl, but much Kudos to Ovie, our fullback. You played with emotion and had fun. Also, congrats on the record Gonzales! Grimes you are a shut down corner. You are Champ Bailey in the making..Darn good job.

Turner, that was the way you are to burst through the hole…it’s ok to tip-toe and be patient at times, but you do better when you explode up the gut.

I agree with Matt Ryan when he was talking about Calvin Johnson. He is a beast! I also think Ryan was talking to you Mr. Blank, get him another WR monster across from R. White and we are going to the Promise Land..and yes we still need help on Defense.

I do have to give Kudos to the Center for Cleveland. Good run!

Greg M

January 31st, 2011
8:13 am

By the way, I thought MVP should have went to Gonzales.

19TH YR TKT HLDR

January 31st, 2011
8:13 am

First, we need a (tough & mean) power rusher; second we need a very fast corner (for blitzes)that can actually tackle!! This will be my 20th year as a season ticket holder…GO BIRDS!!

Adam

January 31st, 2011
8:13 am

Grimes is not a “shut down” corner, but he IS extremely athletic and would make an exceptional nickel back beside Dunta and Asomugha.

Greg M

January 31st, 2011
8:25 am

I agree Adam and 19th Yr. This is my 7th year, but I just requested an upgrade to my season seats. I feel an excellent draft, free agency and winning season, and extended season coming on for next year..We must have a NFL season next year.

mcarroll

January 31st, 2011
8:25 am

I noticed some players were wearing long pants. I havent seen those before….

Greg M

January 31st, 2011
8:27 am

Peterson is a beast as well, he and Turner were exploding up the gut!

Larry

January 31st, 2011
8:31 am

It was interesting to observe Ryan playing with and interacting among the best in the game. He was poised, completely in control and commanded the interest and respect of both his teammates and opponents.

He was clearly the best overall QB in that game of great QB’s, and it was most telling how much better he can be with more than than only two proven options at receiver–White and Gonzalez. Get him a defense like the Packers and Steelers and just one more WR and a change pf pace RB at we are in for the ride of our lives. He hasn’t been too bad (33-13) without this!

Ladies and Gentleman, we have ourselves a leader at QB…both on and off the field!

Decatur Falcon

January 31st, 2011
8:41 am

Stop the madness, the truth is we need a another shutdown corner. Mike Smith, has to get some Linebackers that can cover, they are too slow, and they don’t understand their gaps on pass defense and that kill us in the playoffs. Grimes need to be in nickel or dime defense on passing downs, but he is a good corner just give to much space. When I looked at the Jets defense, the corners don’t give the WR 10 yards they are in their face and dump them at the line. If we can get another shutdown corner, a RB with speed that can hit them corners and hole with quickness.

Falcon 2012

January 31st, 2011
9:11 am

All the Falcons did good..maybe working with all the best players in Pro’s will open some eyes in Falcon Management to what we need to do. Great job Falcon , now get it done 2012.

somestory

January 31st, 2011
9:33 am

As soon as I turned on the Pro Bowl…guess what I saw? I long pass underthrown and intercepted…again. Guess who? MATTY ICE! He is great at the short and intermediate throws…but I have seen him repeatedly underthrow deep targets…he either waits too late or his arm can’t get it there….it happened a lot this year. Hope it gets better soon!

Ron "CHOKE" Mexico

January 31st, 2011
9:49 am

19th year,

I agree, free agent or draft DE and CB which are our top needs without a doubt.

Ron "CHOKE" Mexico

January 31st, 2011
9:53 am

No T.O., No Plaxico…. No Vincent Jackson. I think we should draft 1 or 2 WR’s this year.

Falcon James

January 31st, 2011
9:54 am

It should not shock anyone that Ryan throw interception in Pro Bowl. He got the weekest arm of all the QB in the NFL. He a smart guy, but we all know why we were last in the league of pass plays over 20 yard. Ryan need the bionic arm if he going to throw deep. Enjoyed watching the falcon player one more time. Now lets get down to business.

What's Important

January 31st, 2011
10:05 am

Falcon James, go pound sand.

Frontman

January 31st, 2011
10:48 am

Falcon James,
Are you French-Canadian? Your post reads like a Boom-Boom Geoffrion post-game press conference.
And the Falcons definitely need some playmakers at WR to go with Roddy; other than he, this may be the worst set of WRs in the NFL. I can’t think of any other team’s 2 and 3 that I would not take over Jenkins and Douglas.

opie

January 31st, 2011
11:13 am

You can bring in Jerry Rice and John Taylor and it would not change the fact that Ryan has a anemic arm. Put him in a west coast offense. You morons make me laugh because some states the truth about Ryan. He will continue to be a good quarterback and win a lot of regular season games with his limited talent. Greatness is not measured by the regular season. Post season record, 0-2. Argument closed!!

LP the Brain

January 31st, 2011
11:32 am

First let’s get Asomugha!
He alone makes our entire defense better. We will then have the coverage to match up with the offenses in our division and the NFC. Our D-Line looks great when the QB has to hold it an extra second.
Second a free agent receiver.
I would love to have Fitz or Johnson but let’s be patient and let them come to us when they are free agents. We can get a f/a receiver right now to challenge for the starting spot for the next 2yrs and draft smart for our needs.
Asomugha! already makes us a better team!

waynester

January 31st, 2011
11:32 am

Ryan looked as nervous and excited as a little puppy–throwing big rainbow arcs ripe for the picking. Fitzgerald saved the day in the endzone for the TD. Matt obviously needs a great deal of work on his long game. There are multiple culprits– coaching, play-calling, personnel– but technique is an issue, too. I’d bet big $$ that the long pass is a feature of his off-season workouts as the stats show that as one of our major weaknesses and Ryan has been really good at analyzing his own game and working hard to improve. Lord help us get a QBs coach who can finish molding Ryan into a complete player (along with a speedy RB and WR, a dominant DE and LT)! For those worried about replacing Tony G–don’t give up on Michael Palmer–we haven’t seen enough of him to be sure but he made some plays for us as a rookie and seems to be developing nicely…..

waynester

January 31st, 2011
11:39 am

opie
The argument is far from closed. You assume that Ryan has peaked and has no room for improvement, whereas I believe the right QB coach would bring out his best. We’ve seen steady improvement with Ryan and as long as his work ethic stays strong and he remains healthy I fully expect further improvement….

old man

January 31st, 2011
11:58 am

waynester, I’m a huge Ryan fan, but I must say the first throw yesterday lent some truth to the “long ball” critics. The TD to Fitzgerald was the correct throw. The route was an adjustment, and so Ryan had no way of knowing where Fitzgerald was going to end up. He had a big height advantage, so I think the correct throw was to put it up for grabs. And it was not that long a ball anyway. You can’t throw a line drive unless you know where the man is going to be. But the interception did seem to take on a lot of air about 10 yards after it left Ryan’s hand. I noticed a few of those over the season, and they do seem to stall at high altitude. It’s puzzling, because he throws a frozen rope on deep out patterns, which is really a more difficult throw to make. I wonder with you whether it’s a technique issue.

As I have said before, Mularkey and the reliance on the short out passes (and Ryan’s and Roddy’s success at it) explain the low yards per attempt and low number of deep completions, but maybe there is a problem with the deep ball that contributes to it too.

I’m not convinced he can’t fix it. And, he makes a lot of good decisions, has an extremely quick release, and is very accurate. Even with the long ball issue, he is way better than average in arm strength in the NFL. But yes, on the deep balls, he needs to throw a lower trajectory ball that gets to his receiver quicker.

Matt, I’m one of your biggest boosters. I know you’re reading this stuff. “Build it and they will come.” Work on the long ball, and Arthur will get you deep threat.

Singletary

January 31st, 2011
12:23 pm

Waynester — You made some good points. Here are mine for your consideration.

MR2’s biggest impediment is Mularky. Why do you think Musgrave jumped? He was frustrated too. HDTV is best when he beats the coverage … which he can’t do if MR2 isn’t allowed to throw the long ball.** Roddy can fight for the ball, and Jenks is reasonably good in out patterns. I don’t want this Coaching staff to “go Mora on us,” where they want the players to fit their scheme. Make your scheme an advantage for the players you have. We do have some talent, thanks to TD.

** Before they start shopping for FA’s, I’d challenge both the O and D coaches to sit down and watch everyone of the 2008 games, including AZ. There are at least two long TD runs by HDTV. I know we ran a limited playbook, but we were gunslingers in the Wild West compared to the GB playoff game.

No hope now

January 31st, 2011
12:29 pm

This pro bowl performance was the epitome of what ryan can do when he ACTUALLY HAS A GOOD O-LINE THAT CAN PROTECT HIM AND A GOOD WR CORPS TO BOOT. I know its just the pro bowl and half speed but Ryan showed some flashes of the future if he gets new weapons. YOU THINK IT WAS A COINCEDENCE RYAN SAID HE WAS IMPRESSED WITH MEGATRON??? Megatrons contract is up next year, family in ATL, from georgia, works out here, etc. Bring Calvin Johnson to ATL next year and move White to the REGGIE WAYNE ROLE and watch miracles happen. D-Led was right about pouncey last year.

Falcons laughed at the fact of drafting a C in the 1st round. Now pouncey is in Pittsburgh looking like a HOF Center to be. LT and C are the most important positions on the o-line. Baker is already overrated so theres no choice but to get Ryan his Jeff Saturday. McClue isn’t the future. Lack of offensive scheme, o-line protection, and WR corps is what is holding Ryan back. Its time to upgrade these things NOW. Ryan doesn’t have Peyton, Tom Brady, Rivers, Brees time to throw the ball, UNLESS WE’RE RUNNING THE ROCK WELL and even with that most of the time he doesn’t have time. Defense isn’t the priority this draft. TO me its the o-line, backups, and DE for the future of ABE’s spot. Draft Pouncey stick em at CEnter, Sign Mankins in the off-season. O-LINE FIXED. And if there still some money left try and sign Nnamdi and franchise tag Grimes so he can play NB.

Can kill 2 birds with 1 stone if that happens. Fantasy talk but still can be reality. Dunta, Grimes (for 1 more year), and then Nnamdi fixes the secondary problem. Get megatron next year to fix the WR corps problem. That to me is a long term goal

gabeps12

January 31st, 2011
12:36 pm

Can anybody tell me if we can even afford Asomugha?

just facts

January 31st, 2011
12:52 pm

this all star game is the biggest joke of all of the pro sports all star games. why dont they just play flag football and quit trying to pretend that it is a real game. ANYBODY who thinks they can draw ANY conclusions about ANYONE’S talent or lack thereof by this game is absolutely crazy.

waynester

January 31st, 2011
12:57 pm

Great responses, guys!
old man
You’ve summed up my thoughts on Ryan and I’m convinced he just needs more emphasis on the long game, since it’s obviously a weakness.
Singletary
Amen to designing your schemes around your players strengths and to a certain degree, that’s what MS/MM/VanG have been doing. Having said that, it’s time we bring in players who can do MORE, thus opening up new options. I happen to believe FA is the way to go in certain key positions that take players longer to develop, like DE,LT. We have (I believe) immediate needs in those areas that we can’t fill with a rookie.
no hope now
The OC position is vital and I’m not sure Hawley is ready to replace McClure. Pouncey is the #1 OC/G candidate in the draft and since your 1st round pick has to be elite at their position, a good argument can be made for taking Pouncy at #27. Mankins may very well be available but I fear the $$$.
gabeps12
Asked a similar question with Asomugha–can we afford big FA signings–a few weeks back the league released a slew of info on their franchised and ATL was in the mid-range of spending on salaries.We have plenty of room under any salary cap that the league may institute with all the other changes this offseason–the question is whether Blank wants to take the financial risks given the current uncertainty. He wants a new stadium, too and keeping salaries low is one way to balance the team’s needs in other areas.
Thanks for great discussion, guys….

bigstack 19

January 31st, 2011
1:55 pm

Detroit won’t trade Calvin Johnson for anything. Larry Fitzgerald is not coming to Atlanta either. Maybe they trade up and get AJ Green but I can’t see that happening. Their off-season focus will be the defense as it should be. Maybe they get lucky in the draft and find a gem like the Saints did when they got Colston. Maybe Michael Jenkins will finally break through. Two things I am sure of is that Calvin will be in Detroit and Fitzgerald will stay in Arizona.

DrJ

January 31st, 2011
2:41 pm

A lot of great suggestions, especially on the O side. But after Smitty and Blank finally take their last look at how the Packers shredded our D, I think they will toss their chips for building the defense.

Ryan looked like a kid in the candy shop with Peterson and Turner and Fitz and CJ… well, it was good while it lasted. Now it will be up to the new QB coach to figure how to build up MR’s arm. As mentioned he has a strong out throw ,but the long ones have no authority, as in dead duck. It probably is as simple as just working with a neglected set of shoulder muscles designed to work North and South.

Priorities:
1. Outstanding QB coach.
2. Defense

Jake Wolfe

January 31st, 2011
5:04 pm

@Ohiodirtybird

I dont hate the WR core but i do think we need another exsplosive WR.Plaxico was great for the giants and i think he will be good when he comes back so why not take the oppertunity.Plaxico never argued with the coaching staff and gess what?!?! He has a ring.Also,getting fitz would be HUGE!!I dont hate jenkins,douglas ect. but the Roddy white/Fizgerald Combo would be the best Ever in the NFL!!Also,i think ryan should call the plays now,he has earned it!!!Go with the spread offence!!!We would be unstoppable!!!Roddy white short intermidate passes,Fitzgerald with the deep passes,Gonzo could be our third down guy,and pass it to turner as the last resort!!!BOOM SUPERBOWL(With upgrades on the D)

1st Round pick
Harry douglas
John parker wilson
Stephen nickolas

for

THE ONE,THE ONLY,LARRY FITZGERALD!!

hbcuclassics

January 31st, 2011
5:06 pm

Terry Bradshaw on building Steelers dynasty…

“Chuck Noll knew what kinda players he wanted. He started with Mean Joe Green, he focused on the 4,5,6th rds. and he knew where to go…” Interpret that to mean the Steelers built their dynasty with HBCU Classics!

Mean Joe Green (North Texas)
Joe Gilliam (Tenn St)
LC Greenwood (Ark-PB)
Mel Blount (Southern)
Donnie Shell (SC State)
John Stallworth (Alabama AM)
Frank Lewis (Grambling)
Ernie Holmes (Tx Southern)
John Fuqua (Morgan State)
Glen Edwards (FAMU)
Mike Collier (Morgan State)

http://www.hbcuclassics.com

Jake Wolfe

January 31st, 2011
5:08 pm

@Bigstack19

LARRY IS GOING TO LEAVE IN 2012 IN FREE AGENTCY AND WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU THINK HE WOULD WANT TO STAY IN ARIZONA!?!?ARIZONA WILL REBUILD BUT I DO AGREE CALVIN J ISNT GOING ANYWHERE…