By Michael Cunningham
FLOWERY BRANCH–Quarterback Matt Ryan is peaking at the perfect time for the Falcons. In victories against the Giants and Lions Ryan was 48 for 60 passing (80 percent) for 549 yards passing and seven touchdowns with no interceptions.
Here are some excerpts from Ryan’s session with reporters today.
Q: When you are feeling pressure in the pocket do you have guidelines as far as when to check down and when to stay with the play or is that more of a feel thing?
A: It’s a feel thing. I think you have to have an internal clock, a feel for when the ball needs to come out, whether sliding and making something happen and extending a play with your legs or checking that football down. That was something I thought was important for us last week.
Q: Is that one of the subtleties of playing your position?
A: I think that’s something that takes time to really learn. I think it’s something I’ve done better this year.
Q: From the time when you came into the league until now, how are you a better quarterback?
A: So many ways. I think, No. 1, my preparation is so much better than it was five years ago. And it sounds kind of boring or whatever but I really think if you prepare yourself well it allows you to be confident on Sundays and makes you feel comfortable on Sundays. That’s kind of helped me let my talent go out there and do the rest. I think I’m better prepared. I think I’m a better decision-maker than I was then. I think physically I’m better than I was then—stronger, more accurate, better footwork. All those things I think are things I’ve constantly tried to improve on since I’ve been in the NFL.
Q: Is decision-making what people mean when they talk about managing the game?
A: Managing the game. There’s more to it than just dropping back and throwing the football. It’s about playing situations well and I think that’s something I’ve been better with.
Q: Mike Smith says your last two games might be the best you’ve played back-to-back, what do you think?
A: I think it’s good. It certainly beats the alternative. But I feel like my confidence has been, the entire year, as high as it’s ever been. I feel that way going week in and week out. One thing I’ve always strived for is consistency. I think I’m been better with that the last couple of weeks but really the whole year.
A: How do you think are you better with your preparation?
A: Trial and error. Just learning from different experiences that you have throughout your career. Learning how to better prepare physically so your body feels better going into games. And also mentally understanding game plans. I think having a better understanding of defenses has helped me out a ton, too. It’s not trying to figure something out all day it’s more of, ‘I’ve seen this, here is where I have seen this before and now how do I attack it.’ Those are things that come with experience.
Q: You always talk about how you have a lot of weapons around you in this offense. How do you command the huddle? Because I’m sure you get a lot of ‘Hey, I was open.’
A: That’s not greeted with a good response, usually. (Laughs). I let them know how I feel about certain things. But I think it comes down to trust. I think it comes down to not feeding me some (expletive), basically. Don’t feed me that when you come to the sideline (because) we will be able to see it on film. Also, at the same time there is the right time and a certain place for those kind of things. I think we’ve all done a good job of, ‘All right, I’m not going to badmouth you or anything like that but there is a time and a place for doing those kind of things.’ I think everybody has a good feel for that.
OTHER RECENT STORIES