Matt Ryan welcomes Tom Brady to the NFC South

Video: Falcons’ QB Matt Ryan talks about social action, and discusses his new teammates too. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter.

During a break in his talk that mostly was about his social-action stances, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan welcomed Tom Brady, who signed with Tampa Bay this offseason, to the NFC South on Tuesday.

“It’s going to be a tough division, no question about it,” Ryan said. “Tom is a great player. Anytime you add a guy who has won that many championships, won that many games, you know he’s going to be tough to beat.”

The Falcons split with the Bucs last season. They needed an interception return for a touchdown in overtime last season to get a win in the regular-season finale.

“Their team was tough last year,” Ryan said. “Their defense was really, really good. Real tough to go against. I expect them to be really good (and a) tough competitor. Same with New Orleans. Same with Carolina. The division has been tough for a long time.”

Ryan said it would not be wise to count out the Falcons in the NFC South.

“I think it’s about us, though,” Ryan said. “The mindset is that we have to have, is that we (must) have ourselves prepared and be ready to go.”

Ryan has seen most of the offseason rankings that mostly place the Falcons in third behind the Saints and Buccaneers. The Saints have won the past three division titles and won by six games last season in an NFL built on parity.

“I have the belief that we are right there with all of those teams,” Ryan said. “They have to deal with us as well. We create a number of issues for these teams to go against. If we play our best, we can go toe-to-toe with anyone, any week.”

The Falcons are putting a lot of stock in their road wins over the Saints and the 49ers last season.

The Falcons also will need to have improved play along the offensive line, find a pass rush and hope their young cornerbacks hold up.


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