Falcons QB Ryan: ‘I’m fine’

Like most NFL quarterbacks, Matt Ryan took his lumps early in his career. Since then, he’s been so consistent that there have not been many times the Falcons signal-caller has faced scrutiny for more than a game or two at a time.

One of those times is now.

Ryan threw two interceptions in Week 5 against the Redskins and two more Sunday against the Titans. He hasn’t that many interceptions over a three-game span since he had three against the Bengals in Week 2 last season and two against the Vikings two weeks later.

The difference is that the Falcons are 6-1 now, not on their way to a 2-6 start, and yet still there are worries about Ryan. He said he’s been around long enough to know that’s life as an NFL quarterback.

“At this point I kind of understand the nature of playing this position and what comes with it,” Ryan said Wednesday. “When you are playing great, there is a lot of credit you get. When you are not playing your best, there’s a lot of blame that you get. It’s part of the deal.

“It’s not something I shy away from. It doesn’t affect the way I prepare or my confidence. I’m ready to go.”

Ryan’s body of work suggests he won’t falter for long.

For six years Ryan has been one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks. Even with the uneven play over the past three games, Ryan ranks fourth in the league in passing yards (2,002). He’s already hit on five passing plays for 40-plus yards, putting him on a career-high pace, and he’s helped to engineer four Falcons comebacks in the fourth quarter this season.

And, to repeat: the Falcons are 6-1.

Still, Ryan has thrown six interceptions, including two in the end zone. There also were some other uncharacteristically inaccurate throws by Ryan against the Titans. It’s probably a compliment to Ryan that his recent struggles have led some Falcons supporters to speculate that he must be hurt if he’s so inaccurate.

Ryan said that’s not the case.

“I’m fine,” he said. “My body is fine. I’m healthy. I feel great through seven weeks of the season. I don’t feel like I’ve played my best, but that’s this league. There is going to be ups and downs.

“You’ve got to continue to trust both in your preparation and what you do to get ready and trust in your ability. That’s something that will never change for me.”

Ryan said he plans to get back to the basics. The fundamentals for his position are important, especially footwork. Getting properly aligned and balanced allows a quarterback to be more powerful and accurate with throws.

Ryan said his mechanics have been “OK.”

“They can always be a little bit more sharp though,” Ryan said.

In the big picture, Ryan still is having a good season. The aforementioned fourth-quarter comebacks included sharp throws by Ryan for big gains to wide receivers Julio Jones, Roddy White and Leonard Hankerson. Coach Dan Quinn said he’s been pleased with Ryan’s competitiveness and also his decision-making before the snap.

Ryan said the offense has to be more detailed, but that the Falcons aren’t far away from finding their groove. Quinn said Ryan’s recent interceptions won’t affect how offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan calls games.

“The way (Ryan) attacks and the way we want to go after it, we’re not going to back off,” Quinn said. “We just want to make great decisions with the football. We have belief and trust in him like you couldn’t imagine. We’re anticipating those turnovers going away and defensively (being) able to get more.”