The Ice Man Speaketh: Matt Ryan elated with Julio Jones

101111 Atlanta; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) attempts a deep pass in the first half of their game hosting the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 11, 2010. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

101111 Atlanta; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) attempts a deep pass in the first half of their game hosting the Baltimore Ravens at the Georgia Dome Thursday night in Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 11, 2010. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

BIRDLAND –  Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was in Houston for Matt Schaub’s charity golf event earlier this week and he’s been in touch with wide receiver Julio Jones.

“I talked to him just via text just after the draft and just said ‘I’m excited to have you, ready to get to work whenever we end up getting to work,’ ” Ryan said to Matt Rybaltowski, the Texans reporter for CBSSports.com.  ”I think it was a great move by Thomas Dimitroff and our staff to kind of move up and get him and fill up one of the spots we felt like we needed to fill. I’m excited to play with him.” (Thanks to Jason Butt, also of CBSSports.com for sending along the quotes).

Most thought the Falcons were looking to improve their defense in a draft that was expected to be rich in defensive talent. But a few days before the draft, it leaked out that they were trying to move up to snag Jones of former Georgia receiver A.J. Green.

MATT Ryan at Pro Bowl

Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during practice on January 26, 2011 in Kapolei, Hawaii. (Aaron M. Sprecher/NFL)

At the Pro Bowl, Ryan fell in love with wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and  Calvin Johnson. Now, he has his very own big receiver.

“I was very impressed with the aggressiveness of what we did, but also the mentality that we do need to improve and we do need to improve in different places, but we’re very close,” Ryan said.  “I felt like we were last year, too. Obviously, 13-3, one seed in the NFC, that’s good, but we need to get over the top, we have to break through that glass ceiling.

“I think Julio is going to help especially offensively, but it doesn’t surprise me. Thomas has done a lot of really good things for us the past couple years especially since I’ve been here. He’s done a great job bringing in different guys through free agency, guys like Tony Gonzalez. He hasn’t been afraid to make those aggressive moves, so I was impressed when Julio came in, but it didn’t shock me.”

Ryan was impressed with Jones’ toughness. Especially, that Jones ran the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds with a stress fracture in his foot at the NFL scouting combine.

“How about that? That’s pretty good – that’s a lot faster than I can run it, for sure,” Ryan said. “It’s extremely impressive he did it with the hurt foot. I’m excited to finally get to work with him, see what he can do physically. I’ve heard a lot about him from John Parker Wilson, our third string [quarterback]. He played with him at Alabama, he said he’s a great guy, good teammate and really hard worker. I’m excited to get my paws on him and say ‘this is how we’re

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)

gonna do it and see what he’s made of.’ ”

Ryan believes that Jones will fit nicely in to the passing game with White and Gonzalez and the rest of the receiving corps.

“He’s got similar attributes to what Roddy White has – he’s big, he’s physical,” Ryan said. “He’s explosive, he can make big plays happen and I think he’s really, really good in the run game, too.

“One of the big things I noticed with Julio is he blocks, he’s physical on the outside. For what we do as an offense it’s important. I think him on one side, Roddy on the other and you got a guy like Tony Gonzalez in the middle, Harry Douglas, Mike Jenkins, there’s a lot of weapons on that offense. He’s going to create some explosive plays down the field for us, too. A 4.39 with a broken foot, broken ankle, whatever it was, he’s got some speed.”

Ryan reiterated the Falcons have plans to hold their organized team activities if the lockout continues indefinitely.

“We have plans it’s not something we’ve talked a lot about with our guys,” Ryan said. “It’s not something we feel like we need to be talking about but one of the great things about playing in Atlanta is that there’s a lot of guys there during the offseason. Most of our guys live in that city and are around. We’ve communicated quite a bit and we’ve worked out quite a bit already. That’s not going to change, we’ll be ready to play whenever it is.”

Matt Ryan stepping into a throw against Seattle. (Associated Press)

Matt Ryan stepping into a throw against Seattle. (Associated Press)

Schaub, the former Falcons backup quarterback behind Michael Vick, will likely return the favor and play in Ryan’s outing on June 6 for Children’s Health Care of Atlanta.

“It’s great to be able to come and help out, but it’s also about the guys that are spearheading it,” Ryan said. “Matt Schaub is one really, really good guy. We grew up in the same area just outside Philadelphia, I was a grade school kid watching him play against my brother, rooting for my brother, rooting against Matt. I was very impressed with what he did, I love to help out anyway I can.”

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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52 comments Add your comment

Professor

May 5th, 2011
10:52 am

waynester

May 5th, 2011
11:03 am

Ryan was a no-show for the first week or so of workouts arranged by Coy Wire, our player rep(as reported by AJC). As a follow-up, it’d be interesting to check back in with Wire and see how it’s really going and who’s attending….

waynester

May 5th, 2011
11:04 am

PS
As far as the lockout rules, Ryan could be practicing one-on-one with Julio J anytime, right?

Poppa Falcon

May 5th, 2011
11:05 am

Falcons were 31st in the league with passing plays over 20 yrds or more (last season), yet had the 5th best offense in the league AND STILL went 13-3. Julio was a MAJOR necessity for this offense. Adding and a HEALTHY Kerry Meier gives us even MORE explosion.

Army Strong

May 5th, 2011
11:07 am

As I understand, the lockout just prohibits teams from practicing at team facilities; it does not prohibit players from organizing on their own at different venues.

CJ

May 5th, 2011
11:10 am

If that’s so then lets all practice at my house!!!!

Remarkable

May 5th, 2011
11:17 am

I’d love to see those off season workouts.

Yo Vince

May 5th, 2011
11:18 am

DOL do you think this was Matty’s wish list pick. I think he will prove to be one of the best blocking wide outs in the league. He is freakishly huge and fast. He’s also used to winning, unlike A. J.

Delbert D.

May 5th, 2011
11:19 am

Either or situation. Either trade up and fill a critical need at DE or WR, or take whatever is available down at #27 and in the and round. Dimitroff aced it.

Joey

May 5th, 2011
11:20 am

If TD gets some more defensive help via free agents, the pick of Jones may wind up being one of his best.

If Jones learns the offense quickly, look for Roddy White to have an MVP-type season.

Eddie

May 5th, 2011
11:24 am

I would like to see Matt Ryan coordinating the activities during the lockout I think that would help him grow as a leader. In addition to that that would help him and Julio get some chemistry wtih each other.

gabeaux

May 5th, 2011
11:25 am

Things are looking up.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 5th, 2011
11:36 am

Waynester — He had just had his wedding. A honeymoon was in order for Matt. We’ll be checking back in with the crew. Yes, he could be throwing with all of them. Minicamp last year was May 7 to 9. (This coming weekend).

Yo Vince — I’m not sure. I don’t think he gets consulted on the draft. You didn’t have to take a shot at A.J.

Eddie — The team Player Reps are charged with that duty. He’s in charge, not Ice. It’s Coy Wire and Tyson Clabo for the Falcons.

Scooter

May 5th, 2011
11:41 am

I love Matty. He’s like a Peyton rerun with how he speaks. But I want a little more fire from him. I little more screaming, in your face stuff

warthog

May 5th, 2011
11:41 am

Enter your connemts here.

Bird Droppings

May 5th, 2011
12:02 pm

For those who are questioning whether we gave up too much for JJ, remember: that’s like criticizing a painting before the artist is finished with it. I have a feeling Mr. Blank will be opening up his checkbook when FA comes around. DOL: What DE prospects might we see in free agency? Any of them a good fit with our D?

Jay Dubu

May 5th, 2011
12:10 pm

Is JJ really going to stretch the field for the Falcons’ offense? Is it a matter of personnel or offensive philosophy?

Larry

May 5th, 2011
12:19 pm

DOL,

I owe you a “tip of the hat.”

You predicted that Carolina would take Newton and I predicted they would not gamble on what I believe is still a QB project with the #1 overall pick and having just taken a QB in the first last year.

Touché!

And nice work getting some quotes like this from Ryan and others to keep up the NFL interest in a vacuum.

Larry

JB

May 5th, 2011
12:20 pm

Plenty of great players weren’t “screamers.” Screaming just makes guys play tight and think about the last play instead of the next play. The time to scream is when someone dogs it in practice. If you dog it in the game, you should ride the bench.

Sid

May 5th, 2011
12:41 pm

DOL……….I didn’t think Yo Vince took a shot at AJ personally as much as he did the Georgia football program in general. Admittedly, we have come to expect a winning record and not stats of 40th in passing, 73rd in rushing, 30th in points, 36th in points against. If you asked I imagine Yo Vince would tell you AJ is a pretty damn good WR.

I love the flexibility of the offensive packages we can put on the field this season. Defenses are going to have to account for our personnel individually. White, Turner, Quizz, Gonzalez, Jones, not to mention Ovie, Snelling, Meier, Jenkins, Douglas…………..what will they do with Jerious, special teams, kick off returns?

yeahsure

May 5th, 2011
12:43 pm

@Scooter

Matt does plenty of in you face stuff on the field. Just ask Svitek.

bigeasy830

May 5th, 2011
12:51 pm

I have been a critic of the Falcons over the past few years. But, with the acquisition of Julio, the Falcons offense have gone from good to unstoppable. The defense was 16th overall last season. The defense is not as bad as many think. I believe th Falcons will pick-up a play-making defensive end in free agency, that will make that decent defense good. In my opinion, the Falcons are now a legit Super Bowl contender. They will win the South and I think barring injury are my favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Sid

May 5th, 2011
1:07 pm

yeahsure

May 5th, 2011
12:43 pm
@Scooter

Matt does plenty of in you face stuff on the field. Just ask Svitek.
***********************************************
I thought the same thing, seen him plenty of times get animated with other players.

Yo Vince

May 5th, 2011
1:17 pm

DOL it was more a GA shot than A J. I’m a Bammer…news flash. Julio’s agent is my next door neighbor, and I live 5 miles from Foley AL in Orange Beach. I know I’ll get a ticket hook up!

Yo Vince

May 5th, 2011
1:21 pm

Sid, you hit the ball out the park. I’m sure A J will be great and is a solid dude, I’m just sayin GA is always over rated and not even in the same class w/ Bammer.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 5th, 2011
2:03 pm

Larry — Thank you sir!

Yo Vince — I understand. Love Julio’s agent.

Samuel

May 5th, 2011
2:25 pm

We got some good trade bate on this team, who can bring in some real good defensive players. Falcons rise up!!

Steve

May 5th, 2011
2:39 pm

To answer one question more thoroughly.

Yes, the players can workout with each other all they want, but not with any team representatives present other than players. They also cannot do it on the official property of an NFL team. They are basically just like you and me right now .. just weekend warriors who can do whatever they want.

However, they are not covered under the league right now should an injury occur. That is huge in a league full of non-gauranteed contracts, and is part of the reason some players are not working out. Again, basically like you and me working out .. the NFL ain’t gonna cover for our injuries. :)

@ Larry

May 5th, 2011
2:40 pm

It’s time to retire the Touche’.

JK

May 5th, 2011
4:05 pm

And please, can we go ahead and retire “at the end of the day”. It’s overuse is already getting out of hand.

Steve-O

May 5th, 2011
5:13 pm

I was sitting in STATS downtown when the Falcons drafted Matt Ryan instead of Glenn Dorsey, and you could feel the earth move from the booing going on. Here we are again, some people are complaining because we didn’t take a defensive player and instead drafted an offensive player at a position of need. Well, we see how the Ryan vs. Dorsey pick worked out.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 5th, 2011
5:17 pm

Our buddy Keith Brooking was at the golf tournament, too.

http://www.gr8hopefoundation.com/home.htm

HJones

May 5th, 2011
5:38 pm

DOL, It was a shot at the pitiful UGA program. I saw the writing on the wall when GA had Stafford and Moreno (SEC passing and rushing leaders) but lost to Alabama in 2008 when the coaching staff was more concerned with BLACK JERSEYS than a game plan. Good luck to AJ Green! Yo Vince knows the facts.

D. Orlando Ledbetter

May 5th, 2011
5:42 pm

HJones — Ok, I know some people who call UGA the “Iowa of the SEC.” You know, they’re not Ohio State (always 1 or 2). But they are Iowa (when every so often). Great attendance though.

commonsense

May 5th, 2011
5:57 pm

Yo Vince, kick rocks and stop commenting on our blogs…Bammer fans need to get a life…by the way will Bammer ever get a professional sports team? I wonder why….hhhmmmm…..

cwltank

May 6th, 2011
12:04 am

Bama is on top at the moment. The SEC changes every couple of years. GA will be back 2012, so do not celebrate to soon Bama. On turf Julio will be hard to stop, I’m just saying………

Flo=Ri-Duh

May 6th, 2011
12:26 am

Julio is a poor man’s A.J. He is soooooooooo overrated. The reason the Falcons didin’t throw deep was the 0 – line doesn’t give Matt time to set uip. The receivers weren’t the problem. Green Bay dominated Atlanta on BOTH sides of the ball.

McNasty

May 6th, 2011
8:18 am

Julio will be rookie of the year! You heard it here first.
Did any one else notice from the falcons website that a video in the draft room when they were talking to Julio that McKay put his foot up on the desk w the sole towards AB and clearly within his personal space? It really looked pretty arrogant & bordering on disrespectful. Is Mr.Blank that easy going & humble? or is McKay that insubordinate?

MOBADTHANGOOD

May 6th, 2011
9:05 am

Why don’t all you losers that like to come on here putting down Georgia sports go cry on your own teams.
Or are they so crappy you have to dis on someone elses?

Flo=Ri-Duh: How about getting some players that aren’t convicts and future convicts.

Yo-vince: Do you even have a team at the beginning of each year or do pick one at the end?

Hjones: You don’t have a team at anytime.

This is ususally a bunch of those really good Ohio State fans putting people down.
Lets hear that Ohio State cheer:
WE’RE NUMBER 5
WE’RE NUMBER 5
WE’RE NUMBER 5.

april glaspie

May 6th, 2011
11:09 am

And he drops the ball for no reason. Would have done better drafting Durham. Wouldn’t have cost into next year. This guy is not AJ, And he can’t catch footballs.

True Falcon Fan

May 6th, 2011
11:50 am

WOW – DOL – Re: Keith Brooking comment. I beleive if I’m not mis-staken that is a first you’ve EVER made reference to Keith as “our Buddy” – if that remark was sincere – then Thank You

Yo Vince

May 6th, 2011
2:12 pm

Mostupid than dumb, AND uncommonsissy, I’ve been a Bammer since 1964, born in Tuscaloosa Co. MBA from Bammer class of 88. Huge picture of the Bear in my office, bleed Crimson. Ga and Vandy…twin sisters. PERIOD. Oh yeah, the only time I have had beer poured on me was at a classic Bammer beat down of the Dawgs in the 80’s. No class red necks. Wow

D man

May 7th, 2011
8:31 am

Yo Vince – my son goes to Bama and I love the tide, but you are wrong about GA. They are a top school in the SEC and they will be back soon. Roll Tide…

It Ain't Rocket Science

May 7th, 2011
10:21 am

Isn’t this a blog about the Falcons, the professional football team of Georgia. Why do we need to have UGA and Bama bashing going on in this space. Stick to the subject. UGA has been through a rough period the last couple of years and Bama. had a 15 year period where they were not so good. Who cares in the context of professional football. I am a die hard UGA fan, but this is not the place to have the usual college bash down between college rivalries.

jarvis

May 7th, 2011
9:30 pm

jarvis

May 7th, 2011
9:37 pm

The Falcons SHOULD be dangerous this year ( if there is a season). If jj is what we think he is then defenses cant double white or allow a safety to cheat up to stop the run. Tony will find a way to get open then its the rodgers kid….. other teams BEWARE OF BIRDS. Hey!!!! How about that for this years phrase.

swampfox59

May 8th, 2011
8:21 am

Orlando:

Your comment to Vince on shot at A.L. Did not seem like a shot. No brag just fact!

Ed

May 8th, 2011
3:55 pm

I think the addition of Julio Jones makes the receiving corps an all out aerial assault. I also think we got a lot more dangerous out of the backfield with Jaquizz Rodgers. Now I just wish we could get down to football and free agency so TD can add some pieces to the defense. I think the Falcons will contend once again to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

True Falcon

May 8th, 2011
7:49 pm

The offense will still sputter. Matt Ryan is the weak link! I said it last year. I’m on record again.

htwo0rider

May 9th, 2011
2:59 am

I love Julio Jones, but they needed defense….maybe they’ll get lucky in free agency. If they don’t get a pass rush, the birds are never winning the SB. Abraham can’t do it by himself, and he’s not getting a lot of help from his teamates. Gonzalez, Turner, and White are all getting older, and a step slower, with the possible exception of Roddy. I think 3rd place in the div is a possibility. The Saints, and Bucs certainly had nice drafts.