Ryan should benefit from arrival of Koetter (and Samuel)

Matt Ryan likes the approach of new coordinator Dirk Koetter. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan likes the approach of new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

FLOWERY BRANCH – The Falcons’ acquisition of Asante Samuel this offseason might prove to be more than just an upgrade of the team’s secondary. He also opened Matt Ryan’s eyes a little bit with some analysis.

“Yeah, he crushed me,” Ryan said, laughing. “But he has a way of crushing everybody. We played against him four times, and I think he had like three picks against me.”

The Falcons opened training camp Thursday. Ryan had just finished talking about his revised offseason workouts (increased weight-lifting), his new approach to practices and meetings (maintaining consistent focus, discipline and intensity through the year) and the hiring of a new offensive coordinator (Dirk Koetter), all of which he hopes will result in something significantly north of another playoff shutout.

It’s no secret that Ryan hasn’t been good in his three playoff games. It hit him shortly after (and possibly during) the 24-2 loss to the New York Giants that something had to change.

Taking ownership wasn’t a problem Thursday. “When you look at the past season, and leading up to this point of your career, I certainly haven’t been where I need to be,” he said. “I haven’t been as good as I can be.”

He sought and received critiques from opposing players. Quarterbacks “tend to not be too rough on each other,” he said. But Samuel, acquired from Philadelphia, didn’t hold back after arriving and provided some revelations.

Like what?

“Well, I’m not going to tell you,” Ryan said, smiling.

But he is not shy about addressing the obvious: He knows the offense has to get better, and particularly more efficient in the red zone, for this team to have any postseason.

“When you look at the difference between a first-round exit and a Super Bowl championship, the game shakes on five, six, seven plays,” he said. “We have to be better. I have to be better.”

They also have to be less predictable. If we can’t yet know how effective Koetter will be, we at least know things had hit a wall with Mike Mularkey. Play-calling seemed rubber-stamped from the week before. It’s less about the common refrain, that Ryan needs to throw deep more, than it is the offense needs to be more varied.

I have found there to be one absolute in football: When guys in the press box are calling out the play before the snap, there’s a problem.

It’s hard for an offense to get shut out in a game. When a team gets 10 to 12 possessions, it’s bound to stumble into at least a couple of field goals.

Mularkey didn’t understand the criticism. He lived at the intersection of arrogant and insufferable. He seemed closed to any suggestions that his offense had become predictable and that halftime adjustments by opponents possibly led to a drop-off in production. He dismissed these as mere theories from “outside sources.”

“The general public and yourself would not know that unless you studied film, knew what the game plan was and knew what was happening in the first half and not the second half,” Mularkey said last season.

Oh, woe be our feeble minds.

Mularkey is now disseminating his brilliance in Jacksonville.

Ryan did not take any shots at Mularkey, of course. He even said, “I liked playing for Mike.”

But take note of Ryan’s remarks on Koetter: “He’s been really good in meetings, really upbeat, really positive. Everybody is impressed with how smart he is and how receptive he is to our input. … Dirk’s got a different way of teaching, and a lot of our guys respond to it well. He pushes people differently. Mike was very demanding, very organized. Dirk is as well, but he has a different type of personality. He’s very positive. It’s a different vibe.”

Ryan actually had an impressive year statistically — career highs in yards (4,177), touchdowns (29) and efficiency (92.2) — especially considering he was out there with a just-average running game and too-often less-than-average protection from his line. But he knows he needs to better.

He said the offense most needs to improve on “finishing drives.” Some of that is execution by his teammates. Some of it is play-calling. Some of it is on the quarterback.

“There’s one thing that tells you that you need to do something different, and that’s the end result,” he said.

– Jeff Schultz

183 comments Add your comment

Jedi Falcon

July 26th, 2012
8:37 pm

Ronald Millsaps

July 26th, 2012
8:44 pm

Winning and losing don’t tell it all; how you play does, and the Falcons haven’t played well in the playoffs and oftentimes have been regular-season underachievers.

The bookend corners should pay huge dividends, for multiple reasons, and yes, you do have to go downfield. You do need to stretch a defense, and get this “Oprah” nonsense out of the playcalling.

JSS

July 26th, 2012
8:45 pm

Ah, the great film studier who never learns… Don’t worry, Tramon Williams is still out there lurking around… Then there’s that bunch in Houston, they were giddy to see him too!

Ronald Millsaps

July 26th, 2012
8:45 pm

This team should be their best since ‘98.

Marcus

July 26th, 2012
8:47 pm

let’s do the daggone thing.

Schultzie, do some digging to see what Asante really said. LOL.

Ted M

July 26th, 2012
9:07 pm

that sounded exactly like what Ryan said at the beginning of last season.

JSS

July 26th, 2012
9:09 pm

“You take that 5 step drop and throw outs to the shoulder” “You need 6 in (blocking) and call it in audible between the 20s” “You never throw the dig and go” “You depend on the out with a sprint out when you’re scared to test a secondary” and on & on…

GT GRAD

July 26th, 2012
9:17 pm

We are very lucky to have Matt Ryan………any haters out there that say different are biased and/or ignorant.

I am very concerned about the LT position; however, we all expect a solid LT will be signed after cap casualties hit other teams (IF a solid LT is cut of course).

We have a VERY solid team and we should have a great year.

Any teams out there willing to trade a starting LT for Turner (yeah right LOL)…….on a more serious note, I would trade Turner today for a 2nd or 3rd round draft pick (the problem is I do not think any team would even give us a 7th round draft pick for him)! He is too slow and he makes our offense predictable…………..teams simply load the box and do not worry about running plays or screen passes outside of the offensive tackles (he is not capable of breaking a long run to make the team pay for loading the box). I also do not think I have ever seen him pick up a blitzing defender at a critical juncture which allowed Matt Ryan the needed time to make a play………..how many running backs do this at least once almost every game? I do not blame Turner (he is a great guy and he is giving all he has to the team); however, I do blame the Falcons brass for keeping him around when it is obvious he is well past his prime……..it is past time to move on!

{We would have drafted Adrian Peterson instead of DE Jamal Anderson if the Vikings had not drafted him one pick ahead of us…………..how good would the Falcons have been the past few years if we had been lucky enough to draft Adrian Peterson??? I only make this comment to drive the point home that Turner is detrimental to the team at this juncture.}

Ryan Sucks

July 26th, 2012
9:23 pm

Luv ya Jeff Schultz, but your In-The-Spin-Zone

It’s not that Ryan needs to throw deep more. That’s not what we “haters” have been screaming.

It’s that he doesn’t throw a good deep ball. In fact, he’s rather terrible. And because of that, playoff defenses sit on routes 15-yard deep or less and destroy him. AKA the Giants.

Look at the Texans game last year, Ryan missed 2 wide open deep receivers… Wade had his D sit on the short routes, and our offense couldn’t move / score points.

Lets go the other way, look at the Colts game. Ryan did hit Julio on a bomb… yet watch the play like a coach. Julio was WIDE OPEN. Ryan missed him by a mile and Julio had to make a circus catch.

Can we win a Super Bowl with Ryan? yeah, like Brad Johnson & Trent Dilfer won Super Bowls. AKA all our money should be spent on making an awesome D. Let Ryan be a manager.

Ryan Sucks

July 26th, 2012
9:25 pm

whoops, previous post has typos like “your” instead of “you’re”

Ryan does that to me :)

D man

July 26th, 2012
9:31 pm

Can’t wait till the first kickoff… Hurry up season…

JSS

July 26th, 2012
9:33 pm

One, you don’t 2nd or 3rd picks for RBs and WRs anymore, that ship has sailed…

This one (statement) made laugh cause I guess you’re saying this about Randy Cross and Rich Gannon?
“any haters out there that say different are biased and/or ignorant.”

They are not down on Matt Ryan, but they sure know his limitations as a game changer…
So what’s their “bias?” Why are they “ignorant?”

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:36 pm

JEFF

More excuses for Ryan I see.

I also see you are not posting any blogs like the one you did “Vick must go”.

Why is that?

Najeh Davenpoop

July 26th, 2012
9:39 pm

Dirk Koetter’s entire NFL experience, prior to joining the Falcons, has been as Jacksonville’s offensive coordinator the last five years.

His first year there (2007), the Jags finished 7th in the league in total offense. Since then, they have finished no higher than 15th. And it is debatable how much impact Koetter really had on that 2007 team, since they finished 10th in total offense the previous year, when he was not on the staff. They peaked in 2007 and have since declined.

Granted, they did not have elite personnel other than Maurice Jones-Drew and (early in Koetter’s career there) Fred Taylor, and David Garrard did have his career best season in 2007. But with that said, Koetter’s resume doesn’t exactly jump off the page to indicate that he is a real difference maker. And my contention has consistently been that the Falcons don’t have elite personnel either. Maybe Koetter is more imaginative than Mularkey, but he doesn’t strike me as a guy who can lift less-than-elite personnel to elite status. We’ll see. If these coaching changes don’t squeeze more out of this personnel group, Dimitroff needs to be on the hot seat.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:40 pm

GT GRAD

July 26th, 2012
9:17 pm

We are very lucky to have Matt Ryan………any haters out there that say different are biased and/or ignorant.

____________________________________________

Is that the same type of happy as a person having a sprain instead of a broken bone? :)

Until CHOKE showed up I can’t recall the last time a Falcons qb has ever been 1 and done and he has done it 3 straight times, so what is there to be happy about?

0-3 and counting :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:41 pm

JSS

July 26th, 2012
8:45 pm

Ah, the great film studier who never learns… Don’t worry, Tramon Williams is still out there lurking around… Then there’s that bunch in Houston, they were giddy to see him too!

____________________________________________________

JSS…..Don’t be so picky….It could have been a 75 yard pick 6 instead of 70…..ha ha :)

Najeh Davenpoop

July 26th, 2012
9:41 pm

“It’s not that Ryan needs to throw deep more. That’s not what we “haters” have been screaming.

It’s that he doesn’t throw a good deep ball. In fact, he’s rather terrible. And because of that, playoff defenses sit on routes 15-yard deep or less and destroy him. AKA the Giants.”

Co-sign. And it’s not that Ryan can’t win a Super Bowl, but unless his weight training program has added considerable speed to his passes, he’s not going to lead a team there.

Bob

July 26th, 2012
9:43 pm

If Ryan had the protection some of the elite QB’s have he might be able to complete deep passes.
Look at Tom Brady. He hae 5,6 seconds in the pocket and rarely gets hit. Ryan gets killed even on the passes he completes. How often do the Mannings get hit? The offensive line makes the QB’S in a lot of cases.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:44 pm

Ronald Millsaps

July 26th, 2012
8:45 pm

This team should be their best since ‘98

___________________________________________________

Considering that the 2004 team played in the championship game, that would mean they will be playing in the Superbowl.

You really need to put down the crack pot……ha ha :)

Najeh Davenpoop

July 26th, 2012
9:44 pm

While Samuel is busy giving advice to teammates, hopefully his physical skills at age 31 are still good enough for his gambling tendencies to pay off. He got torched by Larry Fitzgerald last year. The good news is that Mike Nolan is pretty legit as a DC, so if anything Samuel is probably going to be used properly.

FalconsfaninAugusta

July 26th, 2012
9:45 pm

Great article Jeff… I’m excited about the new season and watching Ryan improve even more.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:49 pm

Bob

July 26th, 2012
9:43 pm

If Ryan had the protection some of the elite QB’s have he might be able to complete deep passes.

____________________________________________________________-

You want some cheese with that WHINE?

CHOKE could have 6 pro bowl linemen and he would still throw those butterflies down field.

You guys have more excuses than you can handle…..ha ha :)

Doug

July 26th, 2012
9:50 pm

The Ryan haters always sound rather pathetic, particularly since the actual numbers indicate that he is a well above-average quarterback in the NFL. What’s increasingly pathetic is that “adults” take time out of their day to bash Ryan online within five minutes of a blog’s posting. There is more to life, I assure you.

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:52 pm

In regards to Samuel, when was the last time Andy Reid released or traded a player and they have excelled?

Andy Reid is more of a guru of talent than big hair Dimitroff could ever dream of.

You will see really soon how hosed Dimitroff is again…..ha ha :)

Ron

July 26th, 2012
9:52 pm

The Vick apologists are out today! LMAO

Your boy’s 32 and too busy talking synasty after having missed the playoffs

It’s over, it’s dead, ike thoe dogs… Vick’s gone, move on. Support your team or go be an Eagles fan even though he shot a bird in your faces as well while he was with the Falcons. LOL Idiots.

bulldawgjim

July 26th, 2012
9:53 pm

Come on guys…..quit beating up on Matt Ryan…….he is clearly the best QB the Falcons have had since Bartkowski…….remember this…before Matt Ryan and Mike Smith got here the Falcons had NEVER had back-to-back winning seaons……EVER…..yes, I too am unhappy with our 0-3 playoff record, but I am optimistic that Falcons will turn that around, too……..better pass protection is the key….if Ryan has time, you watch…..deep throws will improve…….deep routes take a long time to develop……pretty difficult to make a deep, accurate throw when you are constantly on the run…..

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
9:54 pm

While CHOKE is looking hopelessly for his 1stt playoff win, Flacco the 30 million dollar bargain can only improve by making it to a superbowl. Reaching the championship game, he has been there and done that. Twice to be exact.

CHOKE is the JOKE I predicted from the beginning :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
10:00 pm

bulldawgjim

July 26th, 2012
9:53 pm

Come on guys…..quit beating up on Matt Ryan…….he is clearly the best QB the Falcons have had since Bartkowski…….remember this…before Matt Ryan and Mike Smith got here the Falcons had NEVER had back-to-back winning seaons……EVER

______________________________________________________________

And before CHOKE & Smith the Falcons had never gone 1 and done in over 20 years.

Before CHOKE & Smith the Falcons had never failed to go “worst to first.”

HA HA :)

Matt "CHOKE" Ryan

July 26th, 2012
10:01 pm

I mean seriously, how can you put up a big GOOSE EGG in the biggest game of the season?

HA HA :)

Ron

July 26th, 2012
10:02 pm

Ask the Vick fans what their boy’s last playoff pass was??????

A game-LOSING interception vs Green Bay. Damn homie! LMAO

Where was he last year???? Oh right, home and injured. DREAM TEAM.

Don’t tell the “Vick-suckers” on here though. They are just bitter their boy left them so they blame someone else to blame, just like they’ll blame Andy Reid when the dog-errr-COACH KILLER gets him fired this season. Ahahahahaha!

Ron

July 26th, 2012
10:06 pm

“Before CHOKE & Smith the Falcons had never failed to go “worst to first.” …”

Bahahaha! WUT??? The Falcons have been in the playoff 3 of Ryan’s 4 years.

Vick was too busy leading them to 5-11 seasons, not reading his playobook, and breaking his leg in 2003. What a chump. Worst decision this franchise ever made was drafting that clown. I’m happy he got another big contract though, because there’s nothing I love seeing more than Philly fans crying about overpaid underachieving players. LMFAO!

Ron

July 26th, 2012
10:08 pm

“I mean seriously, how can you put up a big GOOSE EGG in the biggest game of the season?”

How can you miss the playoffs after calling yourself the DREAM TEAM? With all that so-call talent huh? Even worse, how can even open your mouth talking about a DYNASTY when you couldn’t even MAKE the playoffs last season? LMAO This is the clown you idiots follow????? Hahahaha!

JSS

July 26th, 2012
10:09 pm

Sorry Bob…
But Eli Manning was pressured 582 times, sacked 73 times over the last 3 years according to a study by Profootball Focus; but he was only sacked 12.5% of the time… You know what that tells you? he get the ball out quick, and more importantly with a purpose!

Ryan on the other hand was only pressured 488, he was sacked 67 times for a 13.7% rate. That 1.2% percent higher than Manning who had nearly 100 more pressured drop backs. Something wrong beyond the offense line… He’s not reading the coverages correctly or his receivers can’t shake people. You need a accurate cannon in this league to remedy that case…

JSS

July 26th, 2012
10:12 pm

Davenpoop…
Just pray people don’t start motioning across formations to get Samuel and DeCoud on the same side of route trees…

JSS

July 26th, 2012
10:16 pm

“how can even open your mouth talking about a DYNASTY when you couldn’t even MAKE the playoffs last season?”

Same way you can when don’t score a single point in a playoff game… I guess they call it hope…

Firsttimer

July 26th, 2012
10:23 pm

Oh no, JSS is on this blog site too! Man he is such a buzz kill. I imagine he walks around with a dark cloud hovering over his head. Great article Jeff. I hope Asante is schooling Matty well. If you practice against good defenses then you are prepared to play against good defenses.

Firsttimer

July 26th, 2012
10:32 pm

Brad Johnson and Trent Dilfer? Are you putting Ryan in their category? Are you kidding me? You people disrespecting Ryan need to hear what other players and football analysts are saying about him. Quite complimentary. Only in Atlanta.

Brad

July 26th, 2012
10:35 pm

Get off Matt Ryan! He is a top 10 qb! I have been a bird for life! Since Chris Miller, Billy Joe Tolliver. We have been bad for so long and this guy comes along and what do ya know? A complete turn around for our franchise! Have trust in this guy! RISE UP! Lets get behind our team!

Brad

July 26th, 2012
10:41 pm

You people really frustrate me with your IGNORANCE! Your not “haters” but you are another breed that i just can’t seem to figure out. But really try to be behind our team! Obviously you care because you wouldn’t be reading about our dirty birds. Which by the way our man O.J. Santiago created!

YoDog

July 26th, 2012
10:43 pm

First it’s Greg Knapp and then Mike Mularkey. How do we keep getting the most unimaginative OC’s in the NFL?

Firsttimer

July 26th, 2012
10:49 pm

Good news JSS, Matty Choke, and the gang. I am out of here. If you try to talk intelligently to unintelligent people then that makes you unintelligent too. Therefore, I will not post a blog with the AJC again. I will instead hold football conversations with people who know what they are talking about and not just spewing hate. Goodbye idiots, I am off to better conversations. Have a nice life hating on the Falcons. Final words of wisdom for you; Greyhound is ready when you are. Find another city. Good luck true Falcon fans.

JSS

July 26th, 2012
10:50 pm

Sunshine where I live most of the time 320 days a year!!! Sorry, facts and honesty always kills the “buzz” of liars and pollyannas a great deal! Want another PBR to drown your sorrows (The official beer of depressed Matt Ryan fans since the 3rd QTR of the NFC Divisional Round)!

JSS

July 26th, 2012
10:54 pm

I guess he went to join IJonathan, Georgia Peach, and that looney quasi-sociologist masquerading as a ninja on the merry-go-round at Six-Flags?

JSS

July 26th, 2012
10:58 pm

“If you try to talk intelligently to unintelligent people then that makes you unintelligent too.”
That is some helluva self-analysis there fella! How long have you been of your unintelligence?

JSS

July 26th, 2012
11:02 pm

Let me insert “aware” before Cliff Clevaen posts a critique!

Brad

July 26th, 2012
11:02 pm

FACE IT! VICK IS GONE! HE IS A COACH KILLER! PLEASE GO BE EAGLES FANS! I WAS SO EXCITED WHEN THE IDIOT GOT CAUGHT!

ccc

July 26th, 2012
11:10 pm

Isn’t Michael Vick the quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons?

Scooter

July 26th, 2012
11:11 pm

BTW, JSS, it’s not the fact that you dog on Matt Ryan constantly that makes you annoying as hell..it’s that you’re one of those narcissists that tries to justify being an a-hole by claiming you are just “keeping it real”. Face it, you’re an a-hole..the sooner you admit that to youself, the faster you can try to do something about it :)

Scooter

July 26th, 2012
11:14 pm

Oh, and to add to my last comment JSS, noone likes a self important blowhard. Matt Ryan might suck and I might even agree with some of your critiques about him and his talents…but acting like you’re an NFL scout instead of some guy that sits behind a keyboard like the rest of us doesn’t help your points, nor does denigrating the intelligence of anyone that doesn’t agree with you.

rollo lawson

July 26th, 2012
11:29 pm

Asante probably told him to stop playing like a b#tc# in big games, grow a pair, stop trying to be so politically correct/vanilla all the time, take charge of this team, and take us deep into the playoffs!!