Matt Ryan on the Eagles

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is headed into his eighth season in the NFL and is optimistic about going into the season. Photos by Curtis Compton. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on facing the Eagles:

Q: What is most impressive about their defense?

A: "Philadelphia's defense has a really formidable front seven. … Across the board, they are relentless. They were either first or second in sacks last year. (Tied for second with 49.) They were at the top of the league in terms of getting after the quarterback. That's a point of emphasis for us. We have to be rock solid in our pass protection and we've got to run the ball. Running the ball helps to slow down that kind of stuff."

Q: Where’s the run game going into the opener?

A: "I'm excited about our young guys. Obviously, I think they are all very talented. I like what Tevin (Coleman) brings to the table. He has some great speed. … I think he showed what he can do (in the fourth exhibition game). Devonta (Freeman) is a guy who played more and more for us last year. I don't think he's going to be overwhelmed by the situation."

Q: What do you see from Philadelphia’s secondary, which gave up 72 explosive plays last season?

A: "They've certainly made some changes in the secondary, too. The personnel is a little bit different from where they were at last year. I think when you look at what they do, they play well as a scheme. The pressure helps the back end. Their scheme, while they have given up some big plays, they do play pretty sound defense."