Atlanta Falcons: Matt Ryan is not going over the physical cliff




FLOWERY BRANCH — Unlike the folks in Washington, the Falcons took some major precautions to ensure that quarterback Matt Ryan did not fall over the physical cliff this season.

The Falcons knew that with offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter pass-first attack and the full implementation of wide receiver Julio Jones into the offense, that Ryan would be asked to do more physically this season.

“That’s the one thing that we wanted to make sure of, that he started his offseason program earlier than anybody,” Falcons coach Mike Smith said Wednesday. “We thought if we started the season stronger, we were going to be stronger at the end of the season.”

Ryan will face a stiff test against the New York Giants, who eliminated the Falcons from the wild-card round of the playoffs last season. The teams meet Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Other than a slight cold and a few coughs, Ryan contends the plan has worked. It has also helped that his offensive line has yielded 24 sacks, tied for seventh-fewest in the league.

“Yeah, I feel great,” said Ryan when asked about his physical conditioning. “We’ve got three games to go in the regular season and I feel great. Besides being under the weather a little bit, my body feels really good. I think a lot of that has to do with the offseason that I had.”

Ryan is on pace to attempt a career-high 629 passes this season. That is a hallmark number.

New England quarterback Tom Brady, who’s in his 13th season, has thrown over 600 passes just twice over his storied career (601 attempts in 2002 and 611 in 2011). Denver’s Peyton Manning, who’s in his 15th season, has attempted more than 600 passes just once (679 attempts in 2010).

San Diego’s Philip Rivers and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning have never had 600-pass years. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees is on pace for his fifth season of 600 or more attempts.

Ryan’s previous high was 571 attempts in 2010. In his fifth season, he’s guided the Falcons into playoffs four times.

“I certainly would stand with those who acknowledge that Matt has done an outstanding job in the league from Day One,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. “Some of the things that he has accomplished, some of those late games, miraculous comebacks that the Falcons have had under his direction … Matt certainly has triggered all of that.”

Ryan contends that he’s held up well with the increased workload.

“I feel good and I think one of the things is that as a quarterback, you have to prepare yourself to go out there and compete every week,” Ryan said. “Whether … you have to throw the football a lot or if it’s making good decisions at the line of scrimmage to help out the run game, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Said Smith: “Every year, we increase the workload of what we ask our quarterback to do because we feel like he can handle it. Obviously, he’s done a very good job for us and it started early — putting more on his plate — back in Year One, when we went to the no-huddle offense in the second game of the season.”

Ryan started the season strong like the Falcons hoped, throwing for 11 touchdowns and two interceptions over the first four games. In Games 5 through 8, he had six touchdowns and four interceptions.

In the schedule’s third quarter, he dipped noticeably with five touchdowns and seven interceptions. Last week, he had two touchdowns and one interception while the Panthers dominated time of possession.

With the top seed in the NFC still at stake, the Falcons need Ryan to finish with a flourish.

“I don’t think it’s too much for him,” running back Michael Turner said. “I think he’s handling it pretty well.”

Ryan senses that the team is ready to rebound from the embarrassing 30-20 loss to Carolina.

“Everybody’s energy this week has been really good,” Ryan said. “Guys were in here Monday and a lot of people yesterday just to start getting prepared.”
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75 comments Add your comment

HATinGA

December 13th, 2012
5:18 am

Let me be the 1st to say go falcons!!!

SHIRTinGT

December 13th, 2012
5:49 am

Let me be the second… GO FALCONS!

Falcon Fan since 1966

December 13th, 2012
6:07 am

I hope we’re ready to make amends for the lousy game with the Punthers. No matter what the espn talking heads say we’ve got a strong team. Ryan and crew can exploit the Giants Defense and whip them down. Let’s just hope they do. GO FALCONS

drew

December 13th, 2012
6:41 am

I will say that I’m surprised at Matt Ryan’s durability. He’s like the proverbial Timex…takes a licking but keeps on ticking.

I honestly think this Sunday will determine the Falcons’ season. If we get exposed by the Giants like we did in the playoffs last year, I think psychologically, this team will be done. The records might indicate that the Giants need this game more than we do, but I don’t see it that way. I can see the Giants losing and still going deep into the playoffs, even a Super Bowl. But if we lose, we will not go into the playoffs with any confidence. As a matter of fact, if we lose this weekend, I can see us losing out.

So, yeah…go Falcons!

Me Too

December 13th, 2012
6:43 am

“full implementation of wide receiver Julio Jones into the offense”.

The objective is to score points, mainly touchdowns.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 13th, 2012
6:49 am

Enter your comments here

just sayin'

December 13th, 2012
7:03 am

exposed?…pressure equals dink and dunk..i think the opposition, and these fans, already knows this….

atlantaALLDAY

December 13th, 2012
7:10 am

just sayin’ >> your team been exposed 3 games str8 lmmfao

just sayin'

December 13th, 2012
7:25 am

0-3…headed to 0-4…still laughing?

just sayin'

December 13th, 2012
7:27 am

by the way, my ‘team’ is anyone that lines up against this one….

Season Ticket Holder

December 13th, 2012
7:47 am

Its clear that if Ryan gets sacked early, which is what happened on the first drive against Carolina, Matt Ryan gets happy feet and look for the outlet pass first and change to plays at the line to running plays. If the O-line can’t provide enough time for Ryan to look down field, The Falcons OC need to consider more seven steps drop back passes and more no huddle offense. The Falcons have to get Ryan comfortable early if they are going to beat the Giants. Go Falcons.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 13th, 2012
7:57 am

Giants – 28
Falcons – 18

This time, at least, we get ourselves a half dozen field goals!

WE USED TO BE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!

Samuel

December 13th, 2012
8:13 am

If Ryan is to become an elite quarterback, he has to do it against teams the media think can beat him. Mainly, The New York Football Gaints .It’s imperative win or lose he has a good showing.From a psychological standpoint it would help this team moving forward. Focus, and go get it done.

Elvis is Alive

December 13th, 2012
8:17 am

I repeat..you cannot teach toughness.
Either you have the mental toughness to keep fighting to win or you don’t..
You cannot teach the desire to punch someone in the mouth when your get punched.
MR2 is a tough player and is fortunate to still be standing upright. That cannot be said for MV or other OB’s who have been pounded.
Least sacked..OK..in the top 10..
Happy feet? Answer to the “still standing”
We are just not tricky and clever enough in our offensive game. Period.
MR2 fault?..NO
If I were the coach and the team lost on Sunday, I would demand that all players be at the practice facility on Monday. They would review how they played the game..every offensive and defensive play.
Don’t like it! Find another job in football. Or sit for the next game. Why do we coddle these grown men?
NO days off for losing.
Days off for winning.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 13th, 2012
8:21 am

Esquire

December 13th, 2012
7:34 am
Falcon James
December 12th, 2012
10:44 pm

@Esquire imposter

You are a jerk. Why don’t grow up and use your own handle.

*************************************************
It is SEEN THIS BE FOUR doing it and I can tell you why, he thinks I have hijacked his handle on the NOLA Caints blog, and whoever that dude is is having some fun for sure. He had it coming to him, he’s just a jerk off.

**********************************************************

On the other hand, there are electronic trails that can pinpoint who is who. Isn’t that right DLed? When you hijacked the handle, you left a trail. What a putz! LOL! And feigning innocence here! LOL! You’re a woosie too!

WE USED TO BE THE MIGHTY, MIGHTY FALCONS!

gadawg

December 13th, 2012
8:29 am

I agree with SeaTic Hol, once MR is contacted the ball is up for grabs, there isn’t an once of scrambling for MR with means the receivers wil have to come availiable. Sunday will determine if we will be 0-4 in the playoff we may not want to think it but deep down we truly know it.

PMC

December 13th, 2012
8:46 am

It’s not Matt Ryan that concerns me, it’s the concave hole in the middle of the line that starts in the middle and works it’s way outward.

If you’re not sound from center to guard, how can you expect to run or pass effectively?

PMC

December 13th, 2012
8:48 am

Virtually all of the offenses issues start with the line and then matriculate out to receivers and timing.

PMC

December 13th, 2012
8:50 am

But you know, this is again something all of us including the team knew last April, they chose not to go after NIcks or Grubbs or anyone who could help much outside of drafting Konz.

The Biscuit

December 13th, 2012
8:53 am

Ryan would be Brady-esque if he played for the Patriots. He’s a timing QB. If it gets off, he has no creativity to create a play. (Brees being the absolute master of creating a play!) Just watch him. Whether it is a 3 step, 5 step, or 7 step drop — you can say — Now!” — and if the ball is out in that split second of time — it will 9 times out of 10 be a completion. Buying time and checking down is not his forte. He seems to not have that intangible “fearlessness” the great ones are born with. Not sure that is learnable as I feel it is an innate trait of some, but not all, individuals. But he is what he is. No one can question his character, work ethic, desire to win, and yes, TOUGHNESS!

dean

December 13th, 2012
9:26 am

Brees the master?

Have you not seen Aaron Rodgers lately?

As I recall Brees threw FIVE (and another was negated) the last time he faced the Falcons.

dean

December 13th, 2012
9:27 am

Brees the master?

Have you not seen Aaron Rodgers lately?

As I recall Brees threw FIVE int’s (and another was negated) the last time he faced the Falcons.

Who Me?

December 13th, 2012
9:45 am

Blah Blah Blah. Another lame blog. It’s go time Sunday at 1. And they better bring their A-game.

I usually just read but...

December 13th, 2012
9:49 am

Beat the Giants this weekend and play the rest of the year like the preseason, starters for a quarter or so then give the backups some valueable playing time.

DR. FALCON

December 13th, 2012
9:51 am

DESPITE OUR SKEPTICS, MATT WILL LEAD US TO THE SUPERBOWL! SUPPORT OUR QB, IN HIS 5TH YEAR! HIS 4TH QTR. COMEBACKS, AND HIS OVERALL BODY OF WORK, SPEAKS FOR ITSELF!

I usually just read but...

December 13th, 2012
9:53 am

@dog BISCUIT
“9 times out of 10 be a completion”
I was not aware Blew Knees had a 90% completion rate. Bless your heart and bless Blue Knees too.

Teen Sish 4B

December 13th, 2012
10:01 am

My team suks. We have lost 3 in a row, about to lose 4 in a row. My quarterback is on the back end of his career and overpaid. My coach is about to go to Dallas. I’m sorry for being a douchbag aint loving troll. Can I get on the Falcons’ bandwagon?

GEAUX MIGHTY MIGHTY FALCONS!!!!

Jethro

December 13th, 2012
10:01 am

It starts at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Matt can’t block, and Eli won’t just fall down. If any aspect of this team needs more of Mike Smith’s ethos, it is the combatants on the line of scrimmage.

Keith

December 13th, 2012
10:01 am

GO FALCONS, BEAT THE GIANTS

BK

December 13th, 2012
10:07 am

coach smith best have us ready this week, the game is huge. with a win this could carry us far into the playoffs..this win is not a must win but at the same time it is for more reasons than one..we have to rise up and be ready for whatever comes our way…lets go birds!!!! falcon-20 gaints-17…lets get this one atl!!!!!!!!!

The Biscuit

December 13th, 2012
10:11 am

@dean

Yes, over a much longer career than Ryan, it is my opinion, that he can be considered the master in the present day NFL. Aaron Rodgers, is an up and coming master of creating plays as well. Just not in the NFL as long. And a generation ago, Fran Tarkenton was the master at creating plays. RG III may be the best of the entire lot (wish he were a Falcon!) but hasn’t proven it over a career. Brees has. The point was simply that Ryan is a better than average quarterback but lacks this particular skill set (instinct!) to ever be a great NFL quarterback. Go Falcons.

monty

December 13th, 2012
10:11 am

Can’t let the Giants big play receiver make big plays against us deep down the field. Ryan gets rattled easily with pressure. Needs to get rid of the ball quickly.

D man

December 13th, 2012
10:15 am

Falcons will not get respect even if they win the Superbowl. When we played the Chiefs, everyone was saying the chiefs were going to win the division and would beat the Falcons. We put 40 on them more than any other team. Then everyone said that Peyton would kill the Falcons and we beat the master but it was “just his second game back”. Then we went to San Deigo where we killed the Chargers and everyone said, oh thats the typical Chargers. Then we threw the long pass to beat the Panthers and we “should have lost”. Next we beat the amazing RG3 in Washington but he is still young. Later we beat the Eagles before their fall when everyone picked Philly and still, they played terrible is the only reason we won. I could go on and on but I’ll stop here. We will NEVER get respect from anyone outside of Atlanta even when we win the Superbowl this year. It will only be because the team we play will have a bad day and should have won…

monty

December 13th, 2012
10:16 am

Tony Dungee said Giants pass defense was weak. We’ll see if the O-line can give Ryan enough time to exploit it. I’m not betting the farm they do.

The Biscuit

December 13th, 2012
10:16 am

@ DR. FALCON

Many an average quarterback has won a Super Bowl. The great ones win a bunch of them. Manning, Brady, Eli is working on it. Some great ones (Marino) never do. I hope Matt wins one this season, but can’t see that happening on the team he is currently playing for.

monty

December 13th, 2012
10:20 am

Falcons have one of the best W-L records in the NFL the past 2-3 years. Haven’t won a playoff game. Whats to respect until you take it to the next level. The players undestand that.

kevkat

December 13th, 2012
10:32 am

I agree, the OL needs to be a lot better, however, Matt has to take some responsibilty. He has to be smarter. By now he should know what type of line he’s working with and although I commend him for wanting to make a play, he has to learn when to throw the ball away..holds on to the ball way too long at times. It would be different if he at least tried to be somewhat mobile, I mean Rodgers and Brees are’nt fast but they can elude tacklers when they feel pressure. I have yet to see Matt do this on a consistent basis. And another thing, he needs to own up to his mistakes like Brees does and stop talking about “we” all the time.

warfalcon

December 13th, 2012
10:41 am

LETS GO FALCONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

CaliDirtyBird

December 13th, 2012
10:50 am

Any comparison of Ryan to Brees should be apples to apples. Not trying to compare less than 5 years to Brees’ full career. If you throw Brees’ first year old, because he hardly played, and then compare each’s first five years. It is pretty obvious that Ryan has been slightly BETTER every one of those years!!!!

CaliDirtyBird

December 13th, 2012
10:51 am

…first year out, …

Jim

December 13th, 2012
10:58 am

Matt needs to quit over thinking each play, trying so hard to do the “Peyton” audibles and just run the plays, sometimes into tight windows. It’s really is easy to call the play 90% of the time correctly, just watching live, so the defense can tell even better. Run the plays already and stop the “heady audible stuff” so much!

Nick

December 13th, 2012
11:06 am

very clever headline, DLed

Larry

December 13th, 2012
12:33 pm

Waht happned to the “Vertical Passing Game” the past few weeks?

Reality Check

December 13th, 2012
12:34 pm

@kevkat — Could not have said it better!!!

dean

December 13th, 2012
12:58 pm

@ The Biscuit.

Agreed.

WhiteShoes

December 13th, 2012
1:04 pm

We need to get schizophrenic on the D side like we did against Denver, cause confusion. We shut down Manning and force mistakes like we did to his brother, and we got this thing easily. Their D is banged up, especially the secondary.

old falc

December 13th, 2012
1:12 pm

matt IS a very good QB we have the same problems we’ve had for and knew of for 10 wks leting edwards go was good and bringing back cox. i see other teams bringing in players for tryouts wk after wk look at other teams transactions thats how they find these players you never herd of like this wilson for the giants

old falc

December 13th, 2012
1:15 pm

think back remember the chuck and duck

Larry

December 13th, 2012
1:40 pm

Our issue in a nutshell:

First, we have possibly the weakest interior OL including the smallest and weakest center in the NFL that is predictably collapsed by the stronger nose guards and DT’s in the NFL. This is why Ryan has zero time for mid to long range routes to develop as he has neither the time nor the sight line to see the receivers with linemen in his face up the middle.

Second, we have zero pass rush…enough said.

We can’t block pass rushers and we can’t rush QB’s, and teams that win Super Bowls do both well, at least by the playoffs.

These two issues have always been an issue and will most likely be once again our Achilles heel in the postseason when we are sure to see big DT’s like the Giants or 49ers. We simply cannot block them with the average Blalock and Konz and well below average Todd McClure.

And this is on Dimitroff for not building first our line play…the foundation of Super Bowl Champions.

Whadda Ya Know?

December 13th, 2012
1:43 pm

Matt’s problem is not physical…it’s mental. We have a saying when you dominate someone to the point they are scared…”I took his heart!”

These NFL defensive linemen have taken Matt’s heart anytime they’ve gotten to him. He gets nervous, jumpy, and anxious. He needs to learn to stand tall and deliver like Tom Brady, not Peyton Manning (who also cowers when DL gets to him).

Man up and grow a pair Matt, it’s getting into the BIG BOY football phase.