Matt Ryan on 2009: “We want to win our division”

Flowery Branch – A year ago minicamp for Matt Ryan was about Matt Ryan, who was just trying to show he belonged in the NFL. This one was different. The world now knows Matty Ice belongs, and the Iceman himself is focused on his team.

“Last year you were just trying to keep your head above water,” Ryan said Sunday, the Falcons having completed their weekend drills. “I certainly don’t want to sound like I have it all figured out — because I don’t — but this year it’s more about fine-tuning.”

A quick way to get Ryan to try and change the subject: Ask about last season. The greatest rookie quarterback in NFL history doesn’t care to revisit his rookie year — at least not yet. “It’ll be be nice to look back on when you’re done playing,” he said. “But right now it was just a good start. It’s something to have in the bank.”

When he does recall 2008 — hey, writers are paid to be persistent — does he think first about successes or failures? “A little bit of both. You have to learn from your mistakes: ‘Why did I make that mistake?’ But you also have to learn from what you did well: ‘Why did this work?’ You can’t just focus on the negative plays, or the positive.”

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Then this: “At this position, you have to have no conscience. You’re going to make some mistakes, but you can’t let them weigh on you.”

If he’d dared to imagine the ideal rookie season, would what became reality have come close to the dream? Ryan: “We would’ve won a couple of more games down the stretch, with us being in the playoffs. It was a good first year, but that’s done.”

Regarding minicamp, Ryan said, “It was a chance to work on the things I need to do better.” Such as? “Decision-making. There are two things you have to do as a quarterback — make good decisions and be accurate with your throws — but making good decisions is No. 1. I want to make decisions quicker and better.”

Ryan might or might not have a better season in 2009 than in 2008, but if he doesn’t it won’t be for lack of trying. This, as we know, is a young man — he turns 24 on Saturday — of unflagging focus. Asked about his new playmate Tony Gonzalez, Ryan pointed to the field, where practice had technically ended.

“You see six guys still out there, and four are doing interviews,” Ryan said. “But those two are working. [Indeed, Gonzalez and another Falcon were hitting a blocking sled.] He’s teaching young guys how to work. It’s not by chance — there’s a reason he’s the greatest tight end of all time. He’s a huge pickup for us.”

What would be reasonable goals for Matty Ice and the 2009 Falcons? “It’s the same as last year: We’re not worried about outside expectations. But we want to win our division and give ourselves a chance. That’s it. There are no personal goals.”

Last question: What’s with the hair? “Aerodynamics,” Ryan said, and then he laughed. “I just felt like going shorter. It’s easy to maintain.”

He laughed again. “I’m just happy it still grows back.”

180 comments Add your comment

Mark Bradley

May 10th, 2009
3:58 pm

Sorry, folks. Had some technical problems on this end today, and somehow the “allow comments” box on WordPress got unticked. Wasn’t intentional. Purely a pilot error. Feel free to have at it.

Jack G.

May 10th, 2009
4:13 pm

Good to see all the enthusiasm (sic) and there is certainly good reason to be optimistic. However just a word of caution. Tom, Mike, and Matt are all sops this year. Dont overlook the Soph jinx

Jack G.

May 10th, 2009
4:14 pm

Reid Adair

May 10th, 2009
4:16 pm

Matt Ryan sure seems to have the right attitude on his career so far and the team.

NCFalconFan

May 10th, 2009
4:18 pm

So what do you think Bradley? Will they win the division with that tough schedule? Sopohmore Slump for Ryan? How does the defense look?

Supes

May 10th, 2009
4:21 pm

Team first attitude will go a long way towards making 2009 a success for the ATLANTA FALCONS.

Win the Division, and go from there. Great way to set goals for the future. Winning the division automatically will put Matt Ryan or Michael Turner in the MVP race (you figure they’ll both put up big numbers) and for the Pro Bowl selections. So as far as personal goals, I’m sure Matt understands they are both connected to making the Falcons division champs and back to back winning seasons for the 1st time in this Franchise’s history.

Tony Gonzalez is the ultimate pro, and he’s already proving it during this 1st mini-camp. Way to go Tony! Glad he’s a Falcon!

Truth-serum

May 10th, 2009
4:27 pm

I was rather hoping for a exciting, more talented QB. So one who gives defensive co-ordinator a fit. Some one who excites the crowd and can motivate a city. Some one who is salable and marketable. Some one respected by his peers….some one like say MICHEAL VICK!

Truth-serum

May 10th, 2009
4:33 pm

Supes

May 10th, 2009
4:21 pm

THE ONLY THING THE CURRENT QB IS GOOD FOR IS HANDING OF TO TURNER AND NORWOOD. YOU ARE RIGHT ON ONE THING. TURNER WAS THE MVP FOR THE FALCONS AND RUNNER UP FOR THE LEAGUE. BIRDS HAD TO RUN BALL CONTROL. HOW ABOUT A REAL QB THAT CAN THROW DEEP, ACROSSS HIS BODY, CHANGE ON THE RUN, AND SCORE IN THE RED ZONE. BY THE WAY…WHAT WAS THE BIRDS AVERAGE IN THE RED ZONE?… THE CURRENT QB CERTAINLY DOESNT HAVE THE TALENT OF 28 YEAR OLD MICHEAL VICK. GO VICK!!

Mark Bradley

May 10th, 2009
4:34 pm

I think they’ll win the division and Ryan will be just fine.

Too bad he’s not marketable and not respected by his peers. (Still laughing at that one, Truth. Too funny!)

Truth-serum

May 10th, 2009
4:34 pm

Matt Ryan on 2009: “We want to win our division”
2:47 pm May 10, 2009, by Mark Bradley

EVERY BODY SAYS THAT. BELLY UP FIRST ROUND!

NikkiFree

May 10th, 2009
4:36 pm

Who cares about a sophmore jinx. Make your own luck.

big daddy

May 10th, 2009
4:36 pm

Truth, you left out black, btw, already tried that, not working out

Freshmaker

May 10th, 2009
4:37 pm

Lol…you can’t even spell Michael correctly. Just shut up, Truth.

Freshmaker

May 10th, 2009
4:39 pm

Great to see Ryan working so hard. That work ethic is going to rub off on the rest of the team. Glad we have a good leader at QB now. I don’t know if our record will be as good or better than last year, but I think we’ll put up another winning season and make the playoffs. Go Falcons!

David C

May 10th, 2009
4:41 pm

Yes Truth. Vick has the respect of HIS peers. Convicted felons. Ryans first NFL pass went DEEP for a TD.

wang dang doodle

May 10th, 2009
4:41 pm

Yeah, Truth, you suck.

And….you’re gay!

falcon21

May 10th, 2009
4:41 pm

Why is it people will not let the Vick crap go? It is over and done with!

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
4:42 pm

Redemption is near………….. May 20, 2009…..

David C

May 10th, 2009
4:44 pm

Yes..May 20th…don’t let your dog out anywhere near Virginia..they could be bait

Screg

May 10th, 2009
4:45 pm

Truth, Matt Ryan threw for more yards and TDs in his rookie year than Vick ever did in his entire career. Vick may have had a cannon arm, but lacked the tuch and accuracy to be a QB.

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
4:49 pm

David C….you know who has the most talent. Cmon man. Nothing against Ryan, he can be an average QB, even with a system that fits his strengths, something Vick didn’t have here after Reeves was fired unjustly. Vick has something to prove, and he will do it big time. I’d take Vick over Ryan anyday. He’s paid his debt, now it’s time for redemption.

Vick 09

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
4:51 pm

Screg….I see you forgot about all the drops…..

Paul From Milton

May 10th, 2009
4:52 pm

For the first time in – well, forever – I feel like the Falcons have a clue. This is a blue collar, let’s line up and play football team that seems put together using the New England and Pittsburgh way as a model. You know, the model that is successful year after year. Thank God the smoke-and-mirrors act of the past few years is gone. It’s no longer about the bling, it’s now about the ring.

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
4:59 pm

Paul From Milton, well tell me why it wasn’t this way when Vick was here? You think Vick FORCED A.Blank to make it a one man team? I’ll give you one name…Rich Mckay. Things sure have improved since he was stripped of his GM duties…what a coincidence. They build a true “TEAM” atmosphere for Ryan because they know he’s limited, yet when they have Vick, they want to sell tickets and put the ENTIRE LOAD on his shoulders. Its all good though, its in the past. Vick will redeem himself

wxwax

May 10th, 2009
5:04 pm

Ryan sure seems to be a remarkably mature young man.

No-one knows how the season will go, or if he’ll escape injury.

But if he fails, it won’t be because of his head. And that alone makes a pleasant change from what preceded him with the Falcons.

It’s great to see the Falcons have picked-up another leader in Gonzales. The Hawks are a prime example of what leadership, and its absence, makes to a team. Fascinating to see New England’s “character” philosophy spreading through the league along with its alumni. You now hear it emanating from KC and Denver, too.

By the way, y’all, ignore Truth, don’t respond to him. He’s a troll. And trolls only feed on one thing: attention.

So starve him to death.

Kane337

May 10th, 2009
5:23 pm

Umm, the Steelers beat the Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII.

Leland

May 10th, 2009
5:30 pm

Dear Mr. MB–it being a holiday, I was all set to make a comment, but I couldn’t cause on account of what you said up there in the first spot. (How does it feel to be first, Mr. MB? Tolja, didn’t I?) Anyhow, all ready to fire, I had to go over to DOL’s thing, and I left my contribution there. You can take a look if you want to. Your pal, Leland.

Blake

May 10th, 2009
5:32 pm

Correct me if I’m wrong, Mark, but I thought the days of allowing non-football related and verbal assault posts were over. Yes, I realize the irony of myself also posting a non-football related post. Anyway…Go Falcons!

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
5:47 pm

Down Low

May 10th, 2009
5:57 pm

As long as their QB is not black, the Falcons will still have a chance.

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
6:10 pm

As long as their QB is not white, the Falcons will still have a chance.

Bob

May 10th, 2009
6:11 pm

I have been a falcons fan for a long time going back over 40 years. I route for them through the good and bad. I am optimistic we will now see some consistent good times, the city and fans deserve it. These falcons are fun to watch. I do not wish Vick any ill will. I wish things would have worked out better for him and the falcons. He has paid a high price for his actions as have the falcons. I wish him luck . I also look forward to seeing Matt and this entire team having a great run.

Tom

May 10th, 2009
6:39 pm

Mark, you made Deadspin:

http://deadspin.com/5246162/feuding-reporters-briefly-enliven-terrible-cavs+hawks-series

Some of the comments:
“America, get to know the a**holery that is Mark Bradley. A truly awful sportswriter.”
“Mark embarrasses Atlanta again…if this guy has kids, then i feel bad for them.”
“I haven’t seen a guy (Bradley) back down that quickly since the last commenter fight.”
“Bill Martin just pwned Mark Bradley. Good for him. F*** Mark Bradley, seriously.”

Tom

May 10th, 2009
6:50 pm

Mark, will you address the comments of your “fans” on Deadspin?

Some people alleged that you lack the skills to be a journalist and that you’ll be fired soon. Others claim that your wife is trying to divorce you (citing bedroom issues) which leads to your poorly written articles. What do you have to say for yourself?

fanATicaL

May 10th, 2009
6:55 pm

It’s not returning to those days.Just knew the athletic value of Vick. And wished He would have gotten the personel support. That Ryan is recieving now.
It’s all a learning process on all sides. From top (ABlank))to bottom the addition of the new scout (MAllen surprise from the NE program).Some of the hardest lessons learned.Cause lots of pain.

dgroy

May 10th, 2009
7:37 pm

Vick Supporter……..you’re stupid!!!!!

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
7:58 pm

“Vick Supporter……..you’re stupid!!!!!”

I guess you don’t like to hear facts, do you **dgroy**. You mean to tell me, from top to bottom, that Ryan doesnt have a better support system (WRs are now mature and actually catching the f’ing ball, **better front office decisions**, a RB that can get the tough yards, a real coach besides Dan Reeves, etc etc etc) than Vick had it in this sorry a$$ sports town? **Cmon woman**. Let’s be real here.

TROTTINGHOME

May 10th, 2009
8:08 pm

BEST ARTICLE I HAVE READ FROM AJC IN A LONG TIME.

GO BRADLEY GO BRADLEY….

Truth-serum

May 10th, 2009
8:15 pm

Mark Bradley

May 10th, 2009
4:34 pm

Judging from the response here and on all the other sites the Vick controversy breaks down among racial lines. His peers? His peer took a ten thousand dollar fine from the gag ordering NFL to make a statement of there support for Vick. Most Atlantians favor Vick. Its the press and rednecks who have an issue. His Peers? I wouldnt call Mark Bradley his peer. Id call the players in the NFL his Peers. If you take a poll of players this would largely be a non issue. It losers like you that have an issue with Vick, Mark.

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
6:10 pm

The truth is that if you were to take away Hate journalism and Hate journalist, Micheal Vick is Still Very popular, love and admired. He still has a huge fan base that could sell out easily if you take Hate jounalist out of the mix.

Peta,AJC and racist rant loud enough to cause a stir. The Truth is Vick is more Marquee after prison than the current hand off artist will ever be. What did you say his average is in the red zone?

If you let the players and fans speak rather than the AJC(hate journalist)and the Bubba crew you would find M. Vick is a desired talent. Now Hate on.
Down Low

May 10th, 2009
5:57 pm
As long as their QB is not black, the Falcons will still have a chance.
Those are Mark Bradley’s sentiment too!

Truth-serum

May 10th, 2009
8:18 pm

Tameka

May 10th, 2009
6:43 pm

No one has ever accused you and Mark Bradley or the AJC for that matter of being racist. You seem like such humble and Godly people… NOT!!

Do you guys cling to your guns and bibles in times like these.

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
8:19 pm

eddiedawg

May 10th, 2009
8:26 pm

Vick is black, Matty is white-who cares?? I want the Falcons to win, and I don’t care what color the QB is. I am a Falcons fan who loved Vick’s game, but he is gone. There is a huge difference between being a Falcons fan and a Vick fan. Support the team, losers, or go chat about your hero at convictedfelons.com.

**GO FALCONS**

Justin

May 10th, 2009
8:35 pm

If nothing else these vick supporters prove to us that Vick is ignorant in what he did and that he was raised wrong and probably by the same type of people that support him. None of this is a black white thing if vick is such a great QB then why didnt any team bite at the 7th rnd pick asking price during the draft? He’s garbage and will never be better than a below average QB, yes he is a great runner and sure he made some awesome plays for the falcons but all he did was beat green bay he never play good against Carolina TB No or any other good team he’s the definition of a bottom feeder and he’s bringing his dog circus to a project near…. right where he belongs!

Vick Supporter

May 10th, 2009
8:46 pm

Ryan will be exposed this year. Write it down. We all know his arm is suspect

Mark Bradley

May 10th, 2009
8:47 pm

Sorry, Leland. I feel your pain. But also, oddly enough, the exhilaration that comes with being first!

I should do that more often.

brewdawg

May 10th, 2009
9:15 pm

Mark was among the biggest Vick supporters out there. So let’s not go there with him. Mark was still supporting him during the trial. It was when Vick failed a drug test during the trial that Mark basically washed his hands of him. I wish Vick the best, hope he can salvage his career, and most importantly, has become a better person.

BTW Mark, your photography skills have improved greatly. Love the shot of the practice field.

eddiedawg

May 10th, 2009
9:16 pm

Vick will be exposed this year. Write it down. We all know his leadership is suspect. Oh wait-that happened two years ago……

TRUTH-SERUM

May 10th, 2009
9:52 pm

Open Minded…

May 10th, 2009
6:18 pm

obviously the issues hasnt been settled. Lets keep it real. How many times has Vicks name been mentioned on this blog which is suppose to be about that scrub quarterback that hands off to Norwood. Its a matter of integrity… clearly black and white.
brewdawg

May 10th, 2009
9:15 pm
I dont agree with you that Mark has been a Vick supporter. I think he gets off on hate Journalism and is not a loyal person.

I also think that it would heal a obviously racially divided city on the issue of Vick if he is given a chance to get his Job back. Who cares about the past. What ever. The man has done more than what you and the other bubbas suggest for a punishment. Move on! Let it Go! The man should have a right to get his Job back. Its haters like you that are the problem,. Like Author Blank you have no depth.

TRUTH-SERUM

May 10th, 2009
9:55 pm

May 10th, 2009
6:10 pm

The truth is that if you were to take away Hate journalism and Hate journalist, Micheal Vick is Still Very popular, love and admired. He still has a huge fan base that could sell out easily if you take Hate jounalist out of the mix.

Peta,AJC and racist rant loud enough to cause a stir. The Truth is Vick is more Marquee after prison than the current hand off artist will ever be. What did you say his average is in the red zone?

If you let the players and fans speak rather than the AJC(hate journalist)and the Bubba crew you would find M. Vick is a desired talent. Now Hate on.
Down Low

TRUTH-SERUM

May 10th, 2009
9:56 pm

Micheal Vick on 2009: “We want to win our division”
2:47 pm May 10, 2009, by Mark Bradley