Cover 9@9: Matt Ryan for MVP?

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The AJC’s D. Orlando Ledbetter and Noah Coslov talk about the Falcons two-week trip out west, the impact of losing LB Sean Weatherspoon and how to attack Denver’s vaunted defense on Sunday.

October 2, 2016 Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan throws against the Carolina Panthers in the Georgia Dome Sunday October 2, 2016. BRANT SANDERLIN/BSANDERLIN@AJC.COM

However, New England quarterback Tom Brady returns from his deflategate suspension this week.

“I would say we are just getting started, honestly,” Falcon coach Dan Quinn said when asked if he thought Ryan was the MVP so far.  “That’s no deflection towards Matt or Cris (Collinsworth’s) comment, but we’re just through the first quarter of the season. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Making Ryan the MVP of the first quarter is kind of like Buffalo coach Rex Ryan declaring the Bills the offseason winners. Both are nice, but they don’t count for much.

“We’ve got a lot of work to improve upon and those discussions are better said at the end of the season not at the beginning of them in my opinion,” Quinn said.

NEW ORLEANS, LA - SEPTEMBER 26: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 26, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Falcons won 45-32. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

It was “Hawk Time.”

With Sean Weatherspoon out for the season and Paul Worrilow (groin), De’Vondre Campbell (ankle) and Deion Jones (calf) all injured, the Falcons signed veteran linebacker A.J. Hawk to a one-year contract on Tuesday.

To make room for Hawk, the Falcons released outside linebacker O’Brien Schofield. The team also placed Weatherspoon on injured reserve.

Schofield was signed Sept. 22 after the injuries to Campbell and Worrilow. He played 14 defensive snaps and 38 special teams snaps in games against the Saints and Panthers.

Weatherspoon was injured in the 48-33 win over the Panthers on Sunday.

Hawk, who’s 6-foot-1 and 245 pounds, was the fifth overall pick of the 2006 draft out of Ohio State.

He played weakside and middle linebacker over nine seasons with the Packers. Hawk played with the Bengals last season and started 11 of 16 games.

Hawk, 32, has played in 158 games with 147 starts in the NFL. He has 644 solo tackles and 306 assists over his career.

Hawk also has 20 sacks, three forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and nine interceptions.

He helped the Packers win Super Bowl XLV over the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

In five of his seasons with the Packers, he led the team in tackles.

Palardy was originally signed by the Oakland Raiders as a undrafted free agent from Tennessee. He was recently with the Cleveland Browns.

In addition to working out Hawk and Palardy, the Falcons held workouts with kicker Mike Meyer (Iowa) and linebacker Jayson DiManche (Southern Illinois).

This special trading card is part of the Panini Instant collection, which exists to commemorate milestones and achievements in real-time so fans don’t have to wait months (or even seasons) to capture their favorite moments.

An Atlanta Falcons cheerleader entertains the fans during their annual Friday Night Lights NFL football practice at Grayson High School Friday, Aug. 5, 2016, in Loganville, Ga. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

“As we went through the offseason, we knew we were going to be playing the AFC West and the NFC West so we thought if we had the opportunity, I know Denver’s not on the West coast, but trips we would call out West, we want to do one of those back-to-back,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said.  “You can request that through the league, which we did. You don’t know which one you’re going to get but when we had the opportunity to do that I thought man it came at a great time for us, right at the beginning of the season for our team to spend a whole week together out on the road. I’m really pumped for these guys to have the opportunity to do that.”

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

WR 11 Julio Jones, 16 Justin Hardy, 14 Eric Weems

LT 70 Jake Matthews, 76 Tom Compton

LG 67 Andy Levitre, 68 Mike Person

C 51 Alex Mack, 63 Ben Garland

RG 65 Chris Chester, 71 Wes Schweitzer

RT 73 Ryan Schraeder, 76 Tom Compton

TE 83 Jacob Tamme, 81 Austin Hooper, 80 Levine Toilolo, 82 Joshua Perkins

WR 12 Mohamed Sanu, 19 Aldrick Robinson, 18 Taylor Gabriel

QB 2 Matt Ryan, 8 Matt Schaub

RB 24 Devonta Freeman, 26 Tevin Coleman

FB 42 Patrick DiMarco

DE 50 Brooks Reed, 99 Adrian Clayborn, 93 Dwight Freeney

DT 95 Jonathan Babineaux, 90 Derrick Shelby

DT 97 Grady Jarrett, 91 Courtney Upshaw

DE 94 Tyson Jackson, 77 Ra’Shede Hageman

LB 44 Vic Beasley Jr., 41 Philip Wheeler

LB 45 Deion Jones, 55 Paul Worrilow, 53 LaRoy Reynolds, 54 A.J. Hawk

LB 59 De’Vondre Campbell, 41 Philip Wheeler, 54 A.J. Hawk

CB 23 Robert Alford, 29 C.J. Goodwin, 32 Jalen Collins

CB 21 Desmond Trufant, 34 Brian Poole

S 37 Ricardo Allen 27, Robenson Therezie

S 22 Keanu Neal, 36 Kemal Ishmael, 38 Dashon Goldson

K 3 Matt Bryant

KO 5 Matt Bosher

P 5 Matt Bosher

KR 26 Tevin Coleman, 14 Eric Weems

PR 14 Eric Weems, 16 Justin Hardy

LS 47 Josh Harris

H 5 Matt Bosher

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