Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is climbing to the next NFL level





FLOWERY BRANCH — When Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan takes the field these days, he does so with certain calmness and clarity.

“You never see him get rattled,” center Todd McClure said. “He never changes.”

In his fifth season, Ryan, 27, is showing experience beyond his years or his 72 NFL starts as he’s guided the Falcons to a 7-0 record for the first time in franchise history.

Ryan will try to make it 8-0 when the Falcons play the Dallas Cowboys (3-4) at 8:20 p.m. Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Ryan, a native of Exton, Pa., is coming off a stellar showing against the Eagles, where he had his third-highest passer rating of his career, 137.4.

Ryan acknowledges that he’s dealing with less clutter and noise this season.

“I’ve been playing quarterback in this league for a number of years now, and I think you become more comfortable with everything. You know what’s important and want’s not,” Ryan said. “What you need to stress about and what you don’t need to stress about. I think all of those things help you play better and prepare better.”

Ryan has the support of his teammates and new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, but when he has to bounce something off someone, he usually chats with Houston quarterback Matt Schaub, a former Falcon.

“We kind of grew up in the same area, and he’s another guy that I think handles things the right way,” Ryan said. “He works hard, is always prepared and has been playing great for a number of years.”

Schaub has admired Ryan’s work this season from afar.

“He’s playing great,” Schaub said. “When you look at them, they’re not a big running team, they’re not very successful running the football right now and they ask him to do a lot at the line of scrimmage, he’s got a lot of weapons.”

Ryan is the consummate professional. He was embarrassed when told that his “get the (expletive) off our field” comment went viral over the Internet after the heart-stopping 30-28 victory over Carolina on Sept. 30.

That was the 17th time he guided the Falcons to a victory in the fourth quarter or overtime. The following weeks at Washington and against Oakland he notched the 18th and 19th such victory.

After the bye week, there would be no such drama needed against the Eagles.

“It’s his fifth year, and he’s had the experience,” McClure said. “The more experience you get, the better you are. … You can go out there and let your talent show. He’s just been playing unbelievably well. We know if we can keep him clean, the sky is the limit for this team.”

Ryan has completed 182 of 265 passes for 2,018 yards with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions for a passer rating of 103, which trails only Denver’s Peyton Manning (109) and Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers (107.9).

He’s done a masterful job of spreading the ball around to receivers Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. Last week, his first two touchdown passes were to backups Drew Davis and Jason Snelling.

“For a quarterback, it’s all about touchdowns and turnovers,” Ryan said. “Those kinds of things are ultimately the most important. So far, we’ve done a pretty good job of that this year.”

Ryan’s drive to improve has fueled his climb in the league. He even had some issues with the Philadelphia game.

“Far from perfect,” Ryan said. “You’re never going to be completely perfect, but you’re always trying to work towards that.”

They’ve come close a couple of times this season.

Against the Eagles, Ryan directed the offense to scores on their first six possessions. In the season opener against Kansas City, he guided the offense to scores on their first eight possessions.

Still, he was not pleased because they were not all touchdowns.

“I think red-zone touchdown percentage is huge,” Ryan said. “Last week, we scored on the first six drives, but we had opportunities on those last three that if we execute better you can put up touchdowns.”

Ryan has an edge to him that he rarely shows in public. But McClure said, don’t let Ryan’s calmness and boyish smile fool you.

“There’s been a few times where he’s gotten on some guys in some situations where we maybe got a penalty here and there,” McClure said.

Ryan’s teammates recognize him making the trek toward being one of the game’s better quarterbacks.

“This is nothing new to us,” running back Michael Turner said. “We have been seeing the improvement year in and year out. He’s ready to take it to the next level.”

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129 comments Add your comment

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is climbing to the next NFL levelAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)FLOWERY BRANCH ? When Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan takes the field these days, he does so with certain calmness and clarity. ?You never see him get rattled,? center Todd McClure said. ?He never changes.? In his fifth season, Ryan, 27, is showing …and more » [...]

FJ10

November 1st, 2012
5:47 am

A lot of great quarterbacks have had a lot of great seasons and then fall short in the playoffs. Next level to me is a great season and being the SB winning QB.

Marcus

November 1st, 2012
5:56 am

Do the daggone thang, Ice.

JosephDaKoolest a.k.a NoAnswerForJulio

November 1st, 2012
6:07 am

I think Matt Ryan is one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. He can make all the trhows and he doest crack under pressure. We absolutely need to win in the playoffs and he needs to perform well in the playoff, but coming into this season the questions about Matt Ryan was his movement in the pocket and his deep ball. It has shown thus far that both have dramatically improved. I think the playoff wins will come as he gets better and as the team gets better. Matt Ryan is one of the unquestionable leaders of this team and has complete control of this offense. MVP performance so far. Go Falcons!!!!!!

kd

November 1st, 2012
6:34 am

give matty his credit, he is an above average quarterback. And he knows how to win.

Truth Teller

November 1st, 2012
7:13 am

No one else in Atlanta is doing anything worthwhile. Take these birds on a deep playoff run and this city will be all yours, Ryan.

Nativebird

November 1st, 2012
7:36 am

Ryan is an elite QB, has been for some time. He’s done more in his first four years than Peyton Manninng did in his. And with less….Manning didn’t have Mularkey to be shackled to…uh what a friggin joke of an OC. The question isn’t if he’ll win a superbowl, the question is how many and even more important Atlanta…what team? That’s right, next year final year of his contract. And so far NO movement on a resign. If I were him….I’d think about the market as well.

Gary 32

November 1st, 2012
7:44 am

There will be two huge differences in the playoffs this year….Dirk Koetter and Mike Nolan…..they will ensure we get a playoff win…or two…or three.

Season Ticket Holder

November 1st, 2012
7:49 am

Success is winning the Super Bowl. Nothing less!!!

[...] Atlanta Falcons This entry was posted in Atlanta Falcons and tagged Atlanta, climbing, Falcons, level, Matt, next, Ryan. Bookmark the permalink. ← Detroit Lions to trade for safety help before deadline? [...]

Esquire

November 1st, 2012
7:52 am

5-6-7-8
Everywhere we goooO,
Everywhere we goooO,
People wanna knooOw,
People wanna knooOw,
Who we aaa are,
Who we aaa are,
So we tell theem, So we tell theem,
We are the FALCONS!! We are the FALCONS!!
MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS, MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS !!
OHH AHH OHH YEEAHH

atlfalconsfan0125

November 1st, 2012
7:53 am

I love it. He has the fire in him this year although he mostly keeps a lid on it, but you saw some of it come it after the Panthers game. “get the F*** off our field!

He hasnt yet, but he will take us to the promised land.
Go Matt Ryan, Go Falcons! 8-0!

[...] Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is climbing to the next NFL level FLOWERY BRANCH — When Falcons quaterback Matt Ryan takes the field these days, he does thus with certain calmness & clarity. “You never see him get rattled,” center Todd McClure said. “He never changes.” In his fifth season, Ryan, 27, is showing … Read more on Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) [...]

Blue Fender

November 1st, 2012
8:04 am

If he doesn’t win a playoff game, the talking heads will keep on with the same old jibber-jabber about how he’s not elite. Please prove them wrong this year!!!

GO FALCONS!!!

Just Sayin.....

November 1st, 2012
8:37 am

Next Level? Is that like Brady (3 rings), Eli (2 rings), Big Ben (2 Rings),Peyton (1 ring), Brees (1 ring), Rodgers (1 Ring), Ryan (0 Playoff wins).

Just Sayin…..

GregKennesaw

November 1st, 2012
8:44 am

I hope he wins a playoff game this year, then what will the haters come up with? even if he wins the SB, then they’ll say oh he only did it once. next it will be you have to win more than once blah blah blah

I usually just read but...

November 1st, 2012
8:44 am

Ryan may not have the strongest arm or be the fastest runner among NFL quaterbacks but no one has a stronger work ethic or puts as much prep time in for upcoming opponents. If he doesn’t gift wrap AB a big win over Jerry’s Boys under the national microscope Sundaqy nite I will be very surprised. He will cut their defense into little bitty pieces. Falcons are in the Catbird seat.

GregKennesaw

November 1st, 2012
8:47 am

Look Matt Ryan is the on his way to being the best Falcons QB ever, even over Barkowski(spelling)….who is the sentimental favorite….not over looking Chris Chandler, so give the kid some credit, he’s only 27 and playing lights out right now

Statick

November 1st, 2012
8:48 am

“…what team? That’s right, next year final year of his contract. And so far NO movement on a resign. If I were him….I’d think about the market as well.”

Are you kidding with this? If you actually think that Arthur Blank and Dimitroff is going to allow him to sign elsewhere, I have a few bridges in Atlanta to sell you.

Damage Inc.

November 1st, 2012
8:50 am

He just looks different this year. The heads talk about the five year rule and I swear there must be something to it. The first four years he wanted to play a good game, this year he wants to beat the other team. It’s a different mind set trying to win versus trying not to lose.

Damage Inc.

November 1st, 2012
8:54 am

Has anyone heard what happened to make TG lose his mind the other day @ Philly?

North FLA Falcon

November 1st, 2012
8:55 am

He is stronger and more confident. It’s great to see. If only we had a strong, consistent running game…..

FalconFanSince RunNShoot#!M1983

November 1st, 2012
8:56 am

The Matural is a great QB, making all tha big time throws, pushing it up tha field, spreading da wealth around… He wants to be #1… So roll on FalcoNation!!!!!! N shout out too NFL Top 100… LOL he will be in top 10 next year, biggest jump ever LOL

Just Sayin.....

November 1st, 2012
9:00 am

All this Ryan for president stuff sounds nice, but the reality is it’s been 9 years since the Falcons last won in the playoffs.

Just Sayin…..

JJBWgsu

November 1st, 2012
9:01 am

Nativebird… Your an idot if you think for a sec that Arthur Blanks wont drive a Brinks truck to Mattys house if he has to. He starts and ends his career here in ATL!

GregKennesaw

November 1st, 2012
9:01 am

haters gonna hate

Bill fan

November 1st, 2012
9:02 am

Have bro.-in-law who went to college with Ryan and when drafted predicted he’d do well in pros. Knew then he had all the right makeup to excell in NFL.

Seems as though week in and week out what makes the difference in winning is talent, adaptable coaching, and most importantly “who wants it the most” in this age of parity.

Having seem the Bills lose four SB’s was heartbreaking. No greater gap in sports than winner and loser in SB. In Bills defense and for that matter, it took a lot of character to comeback after losing a SB while teams are raising their game facing the previous years SB contender. Still Falcons need to prove they can get that far, not just a first-round loss. There were some incredible Bills teams in 90’s. Funny how they are a punchline despite fact that their high regular season winning percentage.

Another fact overlooked was that seeing they had made the playoffsat least a dozen years cosecutively they had played the equivelant of another whole season by the time they had competed in that fourth SB. Still the standard is winning, perhaps unfairly, much like Mickelson or Greg Norman not winning Masters. In Mickelson’s case finally did and was considered elite.

Despite Bills being in top 1% and being an elite team they are wrongly labeled as losers and Falcons team will wear the tag til they elevate their game in playoffs where character really counts and who truly wants it the most is the great variable

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:04 am

Keep Ryan upright and give him a chance and the dirty birds will be dirty dancing come January in NO……..

Just Sayin.....

November 1st, 2012
9:04 am

What makes an elite qb is when you key pieces have major or season ending injuries like when Rodgers lost his pro bowl tight end and running back in 2010 and still won the superbowl. An elite qb is not one that wins when all the pieces on the offensive side is fine and dandy. This elite talk needs to wait until say….Roddy, Julio and/or Turner, starting offensive linemen goes down to injury.

Just Sayin…..

Just Sayin.....

November 1st, 2012
9:06 am

@Bill Fan

One big difference. Buffalo won playoff games, even if not the big one.

Just Sayin…..

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:16 am

Like when HD goes down and a rookie catches a perfectly thrown TD pass for his second reception as an nfl player….just sayin

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:17 am

And you complete passes to a minimum of 6 players per game

just sayin

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:18 am

Or you lead the league in 4th quarter comebacks

just sayin

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:19 am

Or you throw 3 interceptions in the first half….but still come back to win the game with 40 tics on the clock

just sayin

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:20 am

Or you take what is working and throw 10 screen passes in one game for 100 yards and a touchdown

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PMC

November 1st, 2012
9:23 am

I like that we’re starting to see the real guy come out. Not just the polished, professional guy, but who he really is. I like this guy a lot more now than I did before. Good QB sure, but can he lead… he’s a galvanizing guy now. He gives us all belief that given 10 seconds… he can put the team in position to win.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 1st, 2012
9:25 am

Playoff wins are overrated when they dont result in SB’s. The Bills of the 90s won plenty of playoff games. Are their fans thumping their chests? Nope. If the Falcons won any of the previous playoff games and exited the next round, would things be any different? Nope.

The Goal of NFL teams is to win the SB, not win playoff games only. No SB = Busted season. That means 31 teams every year have a busted season.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 1st, 2012
9:28 am

There are no moral victories. SB or bust every season. So far every falcons season since 66 has been a bust. It is what it is.

Mike is Back

November 1st, 2012
9:30 am

Dled, good stuff on the Ice Man…he will have to continue to step his game up as the season progresses…the BIRDS look like they are on a mission.

RISE UP BIRDS…LET’S GO…LET’S GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bills fan

November 1st, 2012
9:33 am

@ justsayin’: Yeah, those Bills teams were elite in my estimation. Won without Kelly in playoff games one year and had greatest NFL comeback ever under sub Frank Reich (who being a born-again Christian, gave all the credit to God for the win). Yes, like Packers team a few years back who won despite having at least a dozen players on the injured reserve still went all the way to become SB champs.

Teams like that make the case for it truly being a team sport where every man on the 53 man roster is important and needs to play hard every snap. No excuses for injury allowed or not going all out every play. That shows the teams character.

Yes, those Bills teams won lots of playoff games and I would put them in the category of some of the best teams ever. The reason being that after a SB appearance every opponent elevates their game when playing them. TStill the mindset is that there is a black cloud over a team til they win it all….not a fair yardstick, but still one that exists.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 1st, 2012
9:33 am

People like Just Sayin and MCR harp on and on about no playoff wins, but none of them talk about no SB wins. We are not gonna settle for mediocrity, winning only playoff games is settling for mediocrity. Blank and the Falcons organization believe Ryan is good enough to win the SB. He will get plenty of chances to do so.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 1st, 2012
9:41 am

Ivan

November 1st, 2012
9:44 am

Don’t let up on the haters. They’re running out of ammunition against Ryan. It’s evident by the fact all they can talk about is the playoff record since the beginning of the season.

17 weeks of “no wins in the playoffs” before the playoffs even begin this year. lol

And when the Falcons do get to the Super Bowl this year, don’t let them on the bandwagon either.

D man

November 1st, 2012
9:47 am

Falcons magic number to clinch the south is 5.

atlfalconsfan0125

November 1st, 2012
9:47 am

No Falcons QB other than Chandler has gotten to the big dance. None have won it. They had their chance, give Ryan his. Hes been getting better every year.

Ivan

November 1st, 2012
9:48 am

“….but none of them talk about no SB wins. ”

Exactly. The season is played to get to the playoffs, which in turn are played to win the Super Bowl. And that’s the goal every year.

Nobody says, “Well, at least we got 2 wins in the playoffs this year!”

Maybe if you’re JS or MCR you do.

DR. FALCON

November 1st, 2012
9:48 am

THE OFFENSIVE LINE IS THE KEY! IT’S A QB’S BEST FRIEND! LT, SAM BAKER IS PLAYING OUT OF HIS MIND. I DON’T KNOW WHAT BROUGHT THIS ON! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK SAM! MATT RYAN, WILL WIN THE NFL’S MVP! SUPPORT OUR QB!!!

North FLA Falcon

November 1st, 2012
9:51 am

I don’t necessarily expect us to win the Super Bowl this year. But what I want is a dynasty, a team that is consistently good and feared around the League. A team that is respected by the media. Ryan is the foundation of that dynasty much like his draft year companion, Joe Flacco and the Ravens.

The Real Rick

November 1st, 2012
9:58 am

The progress this team has made in 4 years is a phenom….I want a playoff win as bad as the next guy…but this is a real good team….and will be for years to come……..and I agree with PMC …we are seeing Matt Ryan the competitor….not a polished talking head…..I love the Carolina game when we say his emotions from the sidelines….we havent seen that in years past…all good stuff and fun to watch