FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan was the first player to arrive at the team’s facilities on Tuesday. Here are some photos.–> CLICK HERE!
He was anxious to set down and chat with Bob Bratkowski, the team’s new quarterbacks coach. Ryan and the rest of the players who were allowed to report streamed through the gates in their nice cars before 10 a.m. this morning.
Later in the day, Ryan came out and spoke with the media. Here’s what he had to say about Bratkowski, his union reps Tyson Clabo and Coy Wire and first-round draft pick wide receiver Julio Jones.
OPENING STATEMENT: It feels good to back.
Q: What have you all been doing today? Physicals? Meetings?
A: That’s going to be the biggest thing, getting the physical and such done over the next couple of days before we start practice. I think everybody is excited to finally get back to work and all of this stuff is behind us at this point. We can focus on what it is that we like to focus on and that’s playing football and trying to play at a high level.
Q: Can you talk about the job that your player reps, Tyson Clabo and Coy Wire, did during the lockout.
A: Tyson and Coy Wire did a great job. They kept us well informed the entire time. As new things came about and especially in the last two weeks as things kind of changed. I appreciate their hard work. I know that all of the guys do.
Q: Did you plan to be the first guy at practice? Was it a leadership kind of thing?
A: I didn’t. . .I was very excited to get up here. We put in a lot of hard work this offseason as players. I know that the coaches put in a lot of hard work this offseason as well. I just wanted the opportunity to kind of talk to them about some things. It wasn’t intentional or anything. I was just kind of like a kid on Christmas morning. I was excited to get up here.
Q: Have you had a chance to see your new position coach Bob Bratkowski?
A: Yes, that was obviously one of the things I was excited about. When you lose a coach like Bill Musgrave, it’s great for him the opportunity that he has. He’ll do a great job in Minnesota. I felt like I learned a ton from him. He’s really part of the reason why we’ve been successful the last couple of years and he’s certainly helped me ton. But I’m excited to learn from Bob. I got to see Carson Palmer in Lake Tahoe about 10 days ago and talked to him for awhile. He had played under Bob for the last eight years in Cincinnati. He had nothing but really great things and positives things to say about Bob. I’ve had the opportunity to see him and talk to him. I had talked to him before the lockout started. We’d hired him before the lockout started. I was excited to get back and finally say hello to him again. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun working with somebody new and trying to learn from him. His wealth of experience will definitely help us.
Q: When will you and Bob start working in earnest?
A: I suppose on Thursday. That’s when we can really get going. As soon as we are allowed to meet we’ll get going.
Q: Are you allowed to watch film yet?
A: As far as I was concerned I thought we were allowed to watch film during the lockout. Just not here. So really the only thing that changed for me this season is where we did our work and that you weren’t able to speak with your coaches. Other than that, my preparation was exactly the same with some changes here and there because you change every offseason. . .I watched a lot of film and studied things that I need to improve on. I have a clear set of goals going into camp and things that I want to work on.
Q: Are you looking forward to working with wide receiver Julio Jones?
A: Absolutely! It says a lot about Julio to kind of take it upon himself this offseason to get here. He was not under contract and it was clearly with no mandatory reason for him to be in the city and working out with us. He’s excited about the opportunity. You guys saw him out there working hard every day. He’s dedicated. He’s a smart guy. He’s picked up things very well. It’s going to be great to have the opportunity to work with him 24 hours a day in the next five, six or seven weeks, whenever we start the regular season. At this point, hopefully he can get his contract done. That is always something that needs to get done when you are rookie. Hopefully, he can take care of that with his agent and our front office. Once that’s done, I’ll be excited to work with him.
Q: What’s your take on the new practice rules?
A: I think it’s good for the wear and tear on the body. From a player safety standpoint, it was something that is very important to the NFLPA. I think that’s positive. I think Coach Smith will have us ready, regardless of what the practice schedule is. . .Under the new rules, he’ll have us ready to play.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog