A blog on NFL.com suggests that Matt Ryan’s status for Sunday’s game against New Orleans hinges on more than just his health and readiness for the game. Specifically, the report referenced the Falcons’ banged up offensive line. An excerpt:
“The availability of RG Harvey Dahl (ankle) and LT Sam Baker (elbow) could be the final factor in determining if Ryan suits up for a make-or-break game against the NFC South champions at the Georgia Dome, a team source said. Both players, along with Ryan, sat out last Sunday’s loss to the Eagles.”
I was stunned when I read this. My first thought — and I’d imagine your first thought – was: If Ryan is healthy enough to play, he should play. I don’t care if five guys from the Waffle House are blocking. I don’t care if everybody thinks the playoff race is dead.
Mike Smith agrees. The Falcons’ coach didn’t know about the story. He immediately dismissed it, saying Ryan will play when he’s ready and reaffirmed that the line’s health is not a factor.
“If Matt is healthy and he’s at the level where we feel he can be effective, he will play,” Smith said. “Our decision will be based on that.”
For the record, Ryan doesn’t at all strike me as the kind of athlete who wants to sit out any game. I don’t say that about everybody. Normally, I wouldn’t even bring this subject up, but the NFL.com report prompted the question.
Now, all of that said, it would be stunning if Ryan’s turf toe has healed enough that he’ll be in the lineup Sunday. Smith wasn’t obliged to give an official injury report Thursday. Technically he doesn’t have to make the call until game time. But Ryan participated in only morning walk-throughs Wednesday and Thursday, which means he didn’t put significant weight on the injury. So expect Chris Redman for another week.