Falcons’ Matt Ryan: ‘We’re capable of moving the ball efficiently’

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Caption
Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on moving on from loss to Eagles, and the formidable Tampa Bay defense.

Credit: D. Orlando Ledbetter/AJC

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan spoke to the Atlanta media on Wednesday. Here’s what he had to say:

On the team moving on from the week 1 loss vs. Philadelphia: “Obviously, we didn’t start out the way we wanted to, and get the result we wanted to in game 1 but it’s a long haul, and so I think the attitude’s been good, you know, we had good meetings this morning. Good stuff on Monday of getting back in and guys getting in the weight room, getting out onto the field and being detailed in the meetings. I think it’s exactly what you want from guys, now we got to stack on that the rest of the week, we’ve got to have a really good week of preparation, we’re playing a really good football team. It’s going to require our best, but you know I think the start to the week has been good.”

On Tampa Bay’s defense: “I think they’re really a good front seven, a defensive line that’s strong on the inside, they’ve got talented edge rushers, good edge setters in the run game, two athletic linebackers, guys we’ve played against a lot in the past. We know how talented and how good of players they are and they’ve had some injuries in the secondary, but they’re guys we have gone against and know what they’re capable of as well. So I think it’s a defense that is playing with a lot of confidence, and it’s going to require us to go out down there and play really well.”

On his role as leader changing after a loss: “I think you adjust every week, you’ve got to get a pulse for what’s going on and what certain guys need and I feel like I’ve got a good feel for our guys. I think when I look back at the last game and what we need to do moving forward, I think it comes down to detail, of staying disciplined in what we’re coached to do and just going out there and executing the way that we’re capable of because when we do I think we’re capable of moving the ball efficiently. That’s what we’re going to harp on this week and that’s what I’m going to harp on is the detail and making sure that we’re as disciplined and detailed as possible.”

On response from the offensive line: “They do exactly what you would want them to do: come back in, watch it and learn from it and get back to work. I think all those guys have a lot of pride, personal pride and professional pride in what they do and for some of these young guys it’s their first real opportunity to have a full-game evaluation and learn from that and make the adjustments, and you know I think it’s going to be good for them. I think you can learn a lot early in the season. I remember myself just from week to week, as a young player making huge strides.”

On if QB matchups get in his head: “No not really. I think you focus on the guys you’re going against. I’ve played against a lot of great quarterbacks during my career, and you know that they’re always going to give their team an opportunity, on the other side, regardless of how the game shakes out. Going against Drew Brees for 13 straight years in division, you know that’s how it’s going to be. Tom’s (Brady) the same kind of player regardless of how a game shakes out, he’s mentally tough, does a great job of staying in the present, and operating at a high level, and so you know you have to be at that same level on your side, but it’s about their defense. The defense they’re playing with creates a lot of issues for us and we’ve got to find ways to attack it.”

On how the media/public emphasize quarterback matchups: “I understand the nature of our sport, and the popularity of that position and the emphasis that’s put on it. You can’t worry about what he’s doing, you have to focus on what you’re doing, and going out there and you know, executing the way that that we’re capable of in the way that I’m capable of.”

On how coach Arthur Smith’s approach to adversity compares to others he’s played for: “Every coach is different I think all - I’ve been lucky, all three coaches that I’ve played for in their own ways were extremely consistent, and it doesn’t mean they’re the same, but they’re very consistent to who they are. I think that’s .... as a player, it’s nice when you have that. There’s a level of dependability and consistency that you show up to every day in the building. You know what’s expected from you. I think Art has done a great job of that, not only this past week, but through training camp, I mean there’s lots of different things that come up and he’s, you know, he’s been really good with that so far.”

On challenges facing a division opponent in the second week of the season: “I mean it’s one week. Every game on your schedule’s tough. What they did last year is incredibly impressive and they’re talented and they’re a good football team, but every year is different. I think you just take it week by week. You don’t look any further into who they are or whatever. They’re 1-0 and they’re in our division and they’re playing well, and so we got a lot of respect for them. There’s no question about that. I’ve played a lot of football against these guys on the defensive side of the ball, so I know that they’re very good. My message to our team is we need to be very good as we can be. Let’s focus on that.”

On his response after being sacked: “It’s a combination of everything. You’re looking at what they’re doing and making sure we’re right in the calls that we’re making, making sure everything’s giving you the best opportunity to be successful, pre-snap, and then you encourage guys, come on, settle down. It’s just kind of get into the game, those kind of things and then you know you’ve got to look at ways to get the ball out, and find ways to get it out quicker sometimes or be better with your movement in the pocket, and those are things I look at every week.”

On lessons learned when finishing games: “Well, the lesson is very important to finish them when you get your opportunities. I don’t think there’s any mystery to it, you have to be on your details, you have to be disciplined, and you’ve got to make plays when they present themselves. We know going against this team that they compete for four quarters, and they’ve found ways to climb back into games and find ways to win. So, if you’re in those positions where you’re ahead, you’ve got to find ways to close it out and I think we’ll do that, I really do. I’ve got belief in the guys that we have in our building that we’re going to get this thing right.”

On if there is added pressure playing Tom Brady: “Of course, we want to win this week. It’s not going make up for that (Super Bowl loss). It’s one of those things, it’s a part of your past, it’s part of what happened. It’s got no bearing on this week,”

On setting protections with center Matt Hennessey: “It’s a combination of both. Typically, we start with a base call, and if we’re getting out of that, it’s an opportunity for the quarterback to put us in the right protection.”

On film study vs. Todd Bowles’ Tampa Bay defense: “He’s been really good for a long time. I played him in a number of different spots whether it goes back to Arizona or the Jets or here in Tampa. He’s got a really good feel for the game, of when to dial up certain pressures, when to play coverage. You know they’re going to give you a number of different looks, and you’ve got to be prepared for something that you haven’t. Plan for what you haven’t seen up until this point. I have a ton of respect for him, and I think the biggest thing though, when you go against a coach like Todd who’s had so much success is that you have to know where to get the ball out, you have to be sound in your protection rules, and you’ve got to trust your keys, because there’s going to be different people coming in different spots. But if we’re keyed in and, across the board, our eyes are in the right spot. You know we can get the job done.”

On if it is frustrating starting 0-1 this late into his career: “I mean it’s one game. They all count one, and I remember Bill Musgrave telling me that after my second game in the NFL - he was our quarterback coach. We went down, it was tough loss, and we had won the first week and he said, ‘listen man, they all count one, and so you put it away, you learn from it and you move forward.’ It’s disappointing because you know you’d like to start fast you’d like to come out and play your best right away. The good teams I’ve been on are the ones that got better as the year went on, and improved, and I think that’s what we’ll have to focus on. Improvement, daily improvement and trying to find a way to be better this week and get a win.”

On thoughts about number of opportunities left: “I don’t think of it like that. The guy we’re playing against this week is 44 and so I feel pretty good.”

On sustaining success based on what he’s seen from early downs vs. Philadelphia: “You watch how we ran the football early in the game. The effort and the intensity that our backs played with, I think that’s something you can hang your hat on, both those guys. I thought we ran the football really hard. I think those drives were really efficient on first down. We’re getting into looks, we’re second-and-five or less, we’re making first downs on first down. When we can do that, I think it makes it extremely difficult on a defense to defend everything. It’s important for us to play like that, but, when we don’t, we’ve got to be better on third down. We have to find ways to convert in some of those third downs to get into drives a little bit better so I’m excited about that I think we can improve in that third-down area. I thought the third downs we converted in those first two drives really kept us going.”

On leaning on tackle Jake Matthews to help younger offensive linemen: “Yeah, for sure. Jake such a good influence not only on just our line but the whole team, the way he works, how consistent he is day to day, the effort that he puts into it, the, the level of detail and the way that he practices. Those are all great lessons for guys to learn from.”

On coach Arthur Smith being offensive-minded and the communication as a result: “It’s different because it’s the head coach but the interaction to play caller has kind of always been that way whether it’s from upstairs or whether it was with guys on the bench and so you know that part of it’s similar. It’s just different in that he’s got some other responsibilities as well as just calling up the play. So, I thought the communication was really good. I thought we were efficient and how we operate it and he did a great job of communicating. "

On playing until he is 44 years old like Tom Brady: “I would love to, you know, as healthy as he is and as good as he’s playing right now I think that’s great motivation for all of us but I’ve said it before, I’d like to play as long as I can if I feel good, but you never know. I mean, you never know what’s in front of you, you never know how things can change but, you know, right now I feel really good.”

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