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 Post subject: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:33 pm 
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Atlanta's Matt Ryan won't back down

By Ashley Fox
ESPN.com


Once the regular season starts, Matt Ryan vanishes from Twitter. He doesn't post anything. He doesn't read his mentions. He doesn't lurk.

Last year, that was a wise thing. The Twitterverse can be vicious, and Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons gave it plenty of ammunition. A 4-12 record can spawn a lot of hate.

"I imagine it would have been really complimentary, judging how Twitter goes," Ryan said sarcastically.

But the 29-year-old Ryan is committed to proving that 2013 was an anomaly to a career that had produced an average of 11.2 wins over the five previous seasons, the most prosperous stretch in Falcons history. Ryan wants to get Atlanta back to the playoffs and to win in his seventh season what Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson won in his second: a Super Bowl championship.


Matt Ryan
Matt Ryan will be asked to assume a larger leadership role now that tight end Tony Gonzalez is retired.


That would end the speculation. That would end the debate. That would close the gap between being thisclose and being elite.

Winning it all has always been the goal.

"In order to be the best of the best, it's about winning Super Bowls," Ryan said. "And I haven't shied away from that. I feel I'm capable of doing it, and I'm the player that's going to get it done, but it hasn't happened up until this point. Certainly, I'm hell bent on trying to make that happen."

But Ryan can't do it alone.

There were a slew of issues that led to the Falcons floundering last season one year after falling a mere 10 yards shy of the Super Bowl. Injuries started early, mounted quickly and affected key contributors, including wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones, left tackle Sam Baker, defensive end Kroy Biermann, defensive tackle Corey Peters, inside linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and running back Steven Jackson.

The offensive line did not adequately protect Ryan. The defensive line did not generate an effective pass rush. While Ryan had the second-best completion percentage and second-highest yardage total of his career, he was sacked a career-high 44 times and threw a career-worst 17 interceptions.

For the first time since drafting Ryan third overall in 2008, the Falcons finished with a losing record and for the second time didn't make the playoffs.

Shortly after the season, an ESPN The Magazine story on Tony Gonzalez quoted the future Hall of Fame tight end, who played with Ryan for five seasons, as saying that Ryan is "not elite" but was "this close" to being so. Ryan has a huge contract and gaudy statistics but a 1-4 postseason record.

The criticism, if you call it that, was warranted but blown out of proportion.

"Tony called me right after," Ryan said. "I think Tony was a lot more pissed about it than I was. He's one of my best friends, not only on the team but in general. We grew really, really close, and he was like, 'You know how I feel about you and what I think about you professionally as a player,' and I don't think he said anything that bad."

When you go from being a Super Bowl favorite to 4-12, those things happen.

Ryan is committed to getting the Falcons back to the playoffs this season, and he believes, despite last season, that they have the talent on both sides of the ball to be a legitimate Super Bowl contender in 2014. He said the Falcons' locker room never fractured under the duress of last season.



"I think certainly last season has made all of us tougher and all of us probably a little bit hungrier," Ryan said. "The year before, we were close to where we wanted to go. Last year, we were nowhere near where we want to be. Everybody has used the disappointments of last season as motivation for this season."

Turning things around depends, of course, on Atlanta getting and then remaining healthy. Jones and Baker are not participating in organized team activities, although they should be ready by training camp. White has missed time for personal reasons. But on Tuesday, Weatherspoon tore his Achilles tendon; he will miss the 2014 season.

Ryan has grown into more of a leadership role than he has ever had in Atlanta. With Gonzalez retired and White and Jones out, Ryan has had to teach the Falcons offense to the younger wide receivers and tight ends. Ryan has tried to remember what his offensive coordinator at Boston College, Dana Bible, used to tell him: "It doesn't matter how fast you see things, because you still have to play with the other 10 guys around you. If you're the only one who sees it that way, it doesn't do us any good."

Said Ryan: "With veteran guys, you find that you talk about things [in meetings], and [what you talked about] ends up happening on the practice field. With younger guys, that's not always the case. ... It has certainly improved my patience, and as a whole it will benefit our team if those guys can go out and perform."

Even so, Ryan will need to take on an even greater leadership role with Weatherspoon out. Weatherspoon was the Falcons' leader. Now that responsibility will likely fall to Ryan and a combination of White and at least one defensive player.

Ultimately, the Falcons' fortunes will be up to Ryan and his veteran teammates. Ryan wants to prove he belongs among the elite quarterbacks in the game, and he knows at this point there is only one way to do that: win a Super Bowl.

"It's on to next season," Ryan said. "Hopefully we can be the one getting that done this year."





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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:52 am 
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Well regardless if he's right or wrong I like him saying that!!

It usually doesn't matter; but if anyone's a leader you usually think of your Qb. That one of the things I felt Ryan lacked. Leadership.

So I'm glad he spoke out, and of course I hope the team does 80% as well as he's saying, well I wish they'd win it all, but let me see the playoffs first.

We will get a decent feeling for the team with their first record game being against N.O., Lets see if we play them tough!!

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:09 am 
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I'm not sure why you thought Ryan lacked leadership.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:10 pm 
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Well maybe I should have said the "extra leadership " you hope from a Qb.

I've just not seen him engaged with the team except for calling the plays,
never heard him speak out in a positive way like this.

I understand their are a lot of ways to show leadership, like the studying
that is said he does, or just doing your job every day.

Maybe its an unfair thing for me to say since I'm not on the team, but remember i said I " felt it" not I knew it.

Since I'm talking about feelings an example would be Ryan's leadership
compared to Drew Breeze. I see Breeze walking over and talking to the coach about "something " and noticed he gives linemen slaps on the back,
and his receivers, when they do well. I've seen Breeze get in a lineman's face when their was no blocking, again its just a feeling I've had, and that's why I felt complementary when I heard him speak positively.......

When your on a football team you know who the leaders are, and sometimes their not your best players, but some who get the most of what they have. Obviously I'd rather have the good play, and I hope its obvious by my response since its not a stat, that I could be wrong, but I still liked him speaking out.

I think it probably comes with your personality.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:14 am 
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Posted: 6:00 am Monday, June 16th, 2014
Finneran: ‘Heads are going to roll’ if Falcons don’t win

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

FLOWERY BRANCH – Former Falcons wide receiver Brian Finneran, who’s now a local radio personality on 680 The Fan’s The Front Row show, painted a bleak picture of the upcoming season during a segment on the SiriusXM NFL Radio show.

On the eve of mandatory minicamp, Finneran tossed out this bomb when asked about pressure to win this season on a recent segment on NFL Radio.

“But owners want you to win regardless of who’s on the field,” Finnernan said. “Who’s hurt and who’s not. They’ve got to do that this year or unfortunately, heads are going to roll because that’s the nature of this beast.”

Here’s some background on Finneran, who was not re-signed after the 2010 season.

A transcript is below, but some of the highlights included:

–He’s not very high on the defense.

–He believes Coach Mike Smith might and the team is too tight and stressed out. “To say guys are a little tight and maybe a little stressed is maybe an understatement, especially on that coaching staff.”

–He doesn’t know how they are going to replace Tony Gonzalez.

–Rates 50-50 as the odds that Steven Jackson can get the rushing attack moving.

–Joe Hawley will win the starting center competition.

–If they stay healthy, the Falcons may make a wildcard playoff bid.

Q: NFL RADIO: (Not on the clip sound clip, but had to be something about the defense.)

A: FINNERAN: When you look at that linebacker corps for the Falcons, it’s nothing to write home about. Sean Weatherspoon was one of the bright spots and he’s now gone for the season.

Q: Is his career in jeopardy, do you think?

A: I don’t know. He’s one of those guys, like you said, who’s an absolute specimen (with) physical workout speed, agility and power. The stuff that he brings to the football field is just awesome to watch.

Q: Hey, let’s talk a little bit broader about your team as you see these guys. It seems from the outside looking in, a lot of pressure is on the coach. This is the year they’ve got to perform. Do you think the owner is a little antsy with these guys?

A: To say guys are a little tight and maybe a little stressed is maybe an understatement, especially on that coaching staff. Coach Smith may be feeling it the most just because you want to go into a new stadium with a winning record and a winning attitude. That’s what they had up until last year. Injuries played a huge role. But owners want you to win regardless of who’s on the field. Who’s hurt and who’s not. They’ve got to do that this year or unfortunately, heads are going to roll because that’s the nature of this beast. That’s the nature of the NFL. If you don’t win for me and we have a new stadium coming, we have to figure something else out.”

Q: In any other year, no pressure on the coach, coming off a great season, we would have been focused on one subject, replacing Tony Gonzalez. But we almost never get any calls about it on this show. We seem to never discuss it, but ultimately that is a huge hole that has to be filled. How’s that looking?

A: That’s not looking so good at all. You’ve got Bear Pascoe, who can block people I think and maybe catch a ball in the flat every once in awhile off some play-action stuff, but he’s not going to get down the football field at all. You have Levine Toilolo who they had last year as a rookie. (He) surprised me a little bit. Jumped around and made some plays in the redzone. By no means or by (any) stretch of the imagination is he Tony Gonzalez, but he gives you another weapon in the redzone. He’s not a pure type of receiver like Tony was. But he has some ability. A very raw talent. But as far as what they were this year compared to last year, it’s a huge drop off and they will feel it in a huge way. Hopefully, guys like Roddy White can kind of pick up the slack there in third down situations. Harry Douglas, who had a big year last year, can kind of do the same. Those are some big shoes to fill and I don’t know if the Falcons can do it.

Q: When healthy Steven Jackson is an absolute monster. We know that your team wanted to get a little bit bigger in the trenches, not only defensively, but offensively. Obviously, getting (Jake) Matthews as your top draft pick from Texas A&M was huge, but what are the odds that Steven Jackson can get that running game cranked up here?

A: I’d probably put it at 50-50. It’s just a toss-up right now. If Sam Baker can stay healthy, that could give you a good chance. Justin Blalock has been a staple at left guard. Joe Hawley will get the center duties. He finished the season last year at that spot and Matt Ryan likes Joe a lot. With the guys they have on that roster, he’s probably the best fit for that team. Then you picked up Jon Asamoah from Kansas City. It’s a re-defined, whole new facelift line for that (offensive) line. Matt is happy with how they are looking. They are physical. Mike Tice brings an attitude to that offensive line as the new (offensive) line coach. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how the running game changes, but again Steven Jackson has to stay healthy. If he doesn’t, then Devonta Freeman, the kid out of Florida State, enough of a every-down back to help out? I don’t know.

Q: Wow. There is a lot of work to do in Atlanta. After talking to you, I feel differently about this team. They need to get through preseason without a single injury.

A: That definitely has to happen. They have to stay healthy. Julio has to stay healthy. If that happens, Matt will be very pleased and this team will go . . . will (make) a run at the playoffs. Maybe, a wildcard. If somebody else gets banged up on the offensive side of the ball, they are going to have a tough, tough year.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:07 pm 
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They have to stay healthy. Julio has to stay healthy. If that happens, Matt will be very pleased and this team will go . . . will (make) a run at the playoffs. Maybe, a wildcard. If somebody else gets banged up on the offensive side of the ball, they are going to have a tough, tough year.


You've got to hit some in summer camp, that's part of conditioning to be use to getting hit, during the season. We've got two scrimmages planned,
to expect no injuries during the preseason I think is unlikely. I know he said no injuries to the offense, but what about the defense, their not exactly in position to take any either.

No injuries and we might make the playoffs, but one injury and we are
doomed? I guess we're back to all or nothing....... Should their be a coaching change please no Mike Tice or our Defensive Coach. I think Tice will be a good line coach although his last year in Chicago he took a lot of heat with no players......

B. Finneran implying the coaches are too tight, is weird in this respect,
The team played well while Finneran was playing, last year was their first aweful year, but Bryon should know a lot more than me. How do you get it perfect? Easy atmosphere with Mora and the team and himself fell apart, but they made playoffs, now Smith being to rigid, and
his record was pretty good until last year?? I guess now that Bryon is now is in the media he needs to be extreme, although I think he believes what he says!!

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 1:22 pm 
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Well, if the season tanks because Matt Ryan gets hurt, then Mike Smith has gotta go!

They have horrendously mishandled the backup QB for the past 3-4 years, gambling continuously with subpar No. 2 QBs. If that gamble catches up with them this year, they have no excuse!

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:44 pm 
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Agreeded, that is what will happen if Ryan gets hurt.

Again I won't put this all on Coach Smith, both he and Thomas D. are not
completely stupid. They both know they've gambled the last few years ......
The final call is Thomas D's but he's said he wouldn't go against Coach Smith on big issues.

I swear Tim Tebow should be brought to camp, he won't disrupt anything
IMO and he's won a playoff game. I know they were almost running a college offense in Denver when he had some success, but I feel like they don't bring in a good second string Qb, because they don't want a Qb controversy. That should be long gone.

Crap, Josh Freeman had a promising career who can't find a job, or where is Rex Grosman?? Matt Schaub's contract was to high but Oakland only gave up a 6th for him and I think he restructured.

There are guys you can talk with that you don't have to do the deal, until their understanding their coming in for second string.

Dom Davis just should never see the field if he's still our second string Qb. Nobody on the coaching staff even talks about a second string Qb?

Yes, that will get you fired even if the next guy doesn't do any better.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:57 pm 
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I swear Tim Tebow should be brought to camp, he won't disrupt anything
IMO and he's won a playoff game.
I know they were almost running a college offense in Denver when he had some success, but I feel like they don't bring in a good second string Qb, because they don't want a Qb controversy.


:lol: Wait?!?!? What?!?!? Did you really just post that? Edit it quick before anybody reads it. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:20 pm 
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Yeah I'm just gonna ignore the Tebow thing. The goal is to get someone that can complete a 12-yard pass which is NOT Tebow.

David Carr
Josh Freeman
TJ Yates


Sign one yesterday.

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:12 am 
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Good call, Pudge. :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2014 2:21 pm 
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No I didn't edit, I'm just outnumbered 1,000 to 1. (:

I really hate it when the whole world is wrong except me (:

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 Post subject: Re: Ryan says they're still contenders
PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 2:07 pm 
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Sure Atlanta is a contending team. I do think they are good enough for a wild card berth. If they can get in with the wild card see: Giants, New York - 2011 (also managed to thump a promising Falcon team 24-2).

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