Falcons’ Matt Ryan on being sacked: ‘It’s just a part of the game’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

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Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter

Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say about the improved running attack, getting sack and the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday:

(On what they can learn from the last meeting): “Yeah, for sure. I mean there’s a couple of clips in that game or plays where we had opportunities in the red area and we turned the football over in the red area.That makes it difficult to overcome when you’re going against a really good defense. We just need to play cleaner and play better. But you know, it’s a good defense. I think statistically they’re up there at the top or near the top in most categories. And so, really solid front seven, good players on the back end. It is going to be a good challenge for us.”

(On the improved rushing attack). “We’ve made strides, you know, the last couple of weeks and hopefully that’s something we can continue to, to hang our hat on. You know, it helps, it does. You mentioned trying to slow down pass rushers and trying to do different things to keep them off balance when you can get the run going it definitely helps in that regard. So, we’re gonna keep trying to improve there, keep trying to do better. And I think we’ve set a standard for ourselves the last couple of weeks of what we’re capable of.”

(On the play of Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson) “He’s a great player and has been for a long time. I think he’s developed into one of the better linebackers in the league. He’s physical against the run. He plays with great speed. Very good pass rusher and is excellent in coverage. Early in his career, they use him kind of in nickel spots and he could cover wide receivers and tight ends and be really good in that space. So he can he can do it all and he’s playing at a high level right now.”

(On how he handles being sacked) “I don’t know. I think it’s just a part of the game. It’s part of this profession. It’s tough. Mentally, for me, it’s always bounce up and go to the next play. What are we going to do next? I think whether if it’s positive or negative, you always have to have that approach. Even after you throw a touchdown pass or take a sack or throw pick or whatever. You’ve got to focus on the next play. And, you know, keeping that mindset, you know, I have always found for me, helps.”

(On sacks derailing young QBs careers) “I think, for me, I can’t speak for other people, but for me, I’ve always just thought that that’s part of it. That’s part of playing the position. There’s going to be plays like that, that happen. Trying to always have that mindset of not letting the previous play, you know, affect what your what your next play is going to be about or how you’re going to operate. You know, for whatever reason, that’s the mindset I’ve taken since I was young and it’s worked for me.”

(On if he remembers the first time he was sacked) “That’s a long time ago. … No, no, no, no, no, you got to be able to delete information. I think, honestly, I think that’s a huge part of the playing this position is being able to kind of wash some of those things out. You just go back to, alright, you got to trust that we’re going to operate. We’re going to stay in scheme. We are going to do things we need to do on the very next play. I’m really just trying to get into that mindset, but as far as we’re calling it now, I don’t know.”

(On if he feels like the guy who’s been hit more than any QB in the league) “I feel good. I really do. My body feels good. I feel like I’ve gotten into a space later in my career where I’ve really learned what I need to do in terms of taking care of myself and making sure that I’m as fresh as I can possibly be week to week. I think I’m much better at that at this point in my career than I was earlier. I feel good for being in December being in the middle of it. My body feels great.”

(On if he saw the Monday night game) “I did.”

(On if he texted play-caller Arthur Smith and tell him not to get any ideas): “I don’t know, it worked for them. You know what I mean, it worked out pretty well. The conditions looked tough. It really did. I mean, not being there but watching from the outside-in. It looked like those gusts were pretty strong and so you know, credit to them. I don’t know what the record for the least amount of pass attempts is. They missed it. They were close, man. They were close. I think they had three.”

(On demanding to pass in that situation) “I’ve never been a part of anything like that. If it’s working, you know, at that point, you got to do what you got to do to win. Ultimately, personal stats and individual success it doesn’t matter compared to winning football games and getting the job done. We all play different roles every week. And sometimes, your number is call more often. And sometimes it’s called less often. But whatever the number is, you got to go out there and do your job.”

(On Kyle Pitts learning from his last matchup with Stephon Gilmore) “I think we all have those kind of moments. They don’t stop. As long as you play, you’re a week away from getting humbled. It’s just the nature of, of this league. It’s so competitive. I think the biggest thing you go back to is the basics in those kind of situations. Your attention to detail has to be spot on. You really have to trust your footwork, trust your release and work your technique. I think those are the things that at this level in this league, they have to be on point every week. If they’re not guys can get after you. It’s definitely a defense and Gilmore is a player that you have to be on it. You have to be on top of what you’re doing. I think Kyle has done a great job that as the year has gone on. It’s going to important for him this week to have a great week of practice to get himself ready to go feeling great and then you know, trust his technique and trust his ability to go out there and make plays.

(On his left eye). “I just had a little pinkeye. I’ve been putting the drops in there. The last couple days, it’s looking a little better. You should have seen me Monday.”

(On wide receiver Russell Gage’s play of late) “I think this is some time you know stretch kind of early in the season and then kind of getting back into that you know, football shape and feel and playing I think you know that always takes a little bit of time coming off those kinds of things, but I just think, he’s done a great job of staying in scheme. You know, doing exactly what we’re asking him to do. Not trying to do too much. Trying to be open in the timing of the play. We talked about that all the time. You know, we love you to get awesome separations, but it’s got to be within the timing of the scheme. And you know, I think the last couple of weeks he’s really done a nice job of staying on time, staying in the right space. Making plays when the ball comes his way.”

(On Gage’s growth as a player.) “I think it’s part of the maturation process and he’s grown a lot since he got here. He’s improved in all those areas. And I think, you know, sometimes he has such great athletic ability and you know, such you know, good change of direction, that you fall in love and making people fall or whatever, but we got to do it, you know, like like he’s saying, you know, not panicking or anything, not trying to do too much, you know, just staying in scheme and doing a great job that I think, you know, that’s, that’s, that’s part of playing together, you know, playing as a unit, and I think he’s, you know, he’s definitely improved in that area throughout his career and I think he’s done a good job the last couple of weeks.”

(On if he can see with the pink eye) “I can see fine, it just looks… worse that it feels.”

(On the play of running back Cordarrelle Patterson) “I think he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. He plays hard. He plays physical. He’s done a great job in the run game. He’s done a nice job in the passing game for us. Yeah, I think, I think from what they’ve asked him to do, I think he’s done that. And I’ve been really pleased with him. He’s a great teammate. He’s awesome in the locker room, awesome in practices. He’s the kind of guy you want in the locker room, the guy you want to be around and the guy you want in critical situations of games that’s not scared to go make a play.”

(On converting third down-and-longs) “Yeah, you definitely don’t want to be there. But when you are there you’ve got to find a way. I think number one, it’s about timing, spacing and trust in the passing game and guys being in the right spots. Trying to space out the field really well. I think the coaches have done a really good job of putting in certain concepts to attack certain coverages that we’re seeing in those spots. I think they’ve done a great job of that. Protection has been good. And then we’ve had a couple play extensions, too. You know, where you kind of get outside the pocket and you make something happen when it’s not initially there are designed to be there. And if you can get one or two of those a game, they are huge. You know, they are bonus conversions. We’ve done a nice job of that the last couple of weeks.”

(On Carolina’s corners) “I think they’re aggressive. They do a good job trusting the front seven to get after it and they’re aggressive with how they play. They make it difficult for you. You have to be accurate you have to be on point. With where you’re putting the football because they’re going to make their breaks and they trust their instinct. I think both of those guys are playing well.”

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Falcons’ 2021 schedule features trip to London, January trip to Buffalo

Atlanta Falcons schedule and scores

Eagles 32, Falcons 6

Buccaneers 48, Falcons 25

Falcons 17, Giants 14

Washington 34, Falcons 30

Falcons 27, Jets 20

Bye Week

Falcons 30, Dolphins 28

Panthers 19, Falcons 13

Falcons 27, Saints 25

Cowboys 43, Falcons 3

Patriots 25, Falcons 0

Falcons 21, Jaguars 14

Buccaneers 30, Falcons 17

Final Five games

Falcons at Carolina, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 12

Falcons at San Francisco, 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 19

Detroit Lions at Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 26

Falcons at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2

New Orleans Saints at Falcons, 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 9

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