Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, who leads the league with a 121.6 passer rating, addressed the media on Thursday.
Here’s what he had to say heading into the Monday Night Football showdown with the Saints:
Q: Can you all continue the diversification of the offense?
A: “Yes, absolutely. It’s been good for us so far, especially in the passing game. We are spreading the ball around, getting a lot of different guys touches. I think that speaks to our depth on offense at all positions. It’s not just wideouts getting involved. Our tight ends did a great job last week. Both of our running backs catch the ball extremely well out of the backfield. We’ve got a fullback who is very talented in the pass game as well. To me, we have a lot of guys that can contribute. (Offensive coordinator) Kyle (Shanahan) has done a great job of kind of making it difficult for a defense to key in on where the ball is going. That’s been a good thing for us.”
Q: What did it feel like to get the three redzone scores and beyond that, scoring on six of seven of possessions?
A: “Yeah, that was good. I felt like we got in to a good rhythm. Specifically, from the second quarter on and into the second half. I thought we did a good job of creating explosive plays both in the run game and the pass game. I thought it was a good mix of the two. We spread the ball around, we got everybody involved and we kept it going. Our offensive line, continues to do a great job. I think they’ve been excellent in Week 1 and Week 2. That was a good couple of drives for us.”
Q: How has the Saints defense been playing?
A: “I thought they did a nice job against New York, kind of keeping New York out of the end zone. They were a little bit of bend, but don’t break. They did a really good job in keeping a talented offense out of the end zone. We are going to have our work cut out for us, there’s no question about that. Every time that we go play against these guys it’s tough. Good defense, but it’s all about us. We have to have that approach. We have to take care of our business and play the way that we are capable of playing.”
Q: With the injuries, how do their young cornerbacks look?
A: “I think they’ve done a pretty good job for being there first couple of games out there and haveing been thrust into that spotlight. They were matching up against some really good receiving tandems. That’s two pretty good offenses that they’ve gone against in Oakland and New York. I think their corners have done a nice job.”
Q: Did they play the three safeties together?
A: “Yeah, they’ve done a little bit of that where (Kenny) Vaccaro goes down into the slot and plays some of whatever you want to call it (big) nickel. They are diverse. They’ll give you different looks in the front seven. They’ll have three-man fronts, four-man fronts, three safeties looks, three safeties with two corners: certainly, identifying their personnel is important.”
Q: How’s the rookie Vonn Bell playing back there?
A: “I think their young guys across the board have done a good job.”
Q: What does that bring when you flex your running backs out and they are legitimate receiving threats?
A: “That’s huge. We’re not putting those guys out to spread anything out. We are putting them out there to throw it to them. Both of those guys have show cased just how talented they are with the ball in their hands. Tevin (Coleman) did a great job on one last week. He was running full speed coming through the middle and caught a ball that was in front of him and kept accelerating through it. You’re hoping that that your wideouts can do that and we’ve got running backs who are capable of doing that. For us, it’s a really good thing.”
Q: Can you recall any three-game span where you’ve hit 11 different guys?
A: “We’ve had some pretty deep offenses that I’ve been apart of throughout my career here. Certainly, I think in 2012, 2011, around that time, we had a lot guys catching the ball. I don’t know if it was 11 guys in two weeks at that time, but this has been a good stretch. Some of the good teams that we were on, we did things like that as well.”
Q: How’s tight end Austin Hooper developing?
A: “He’s worked really hard, first and foremost. There is no substitute for that hard work as a rookie. He’s putting in the time. We have a great tight ends coach in Wade Harman. Wade does a good job with those guys of getting those guys prepared week-in and week-out to go play. They all play hard and they know their assignments and where they are supposed to be. Austin has done a great job. I also think he’s a talented guy. The game doesn’t seem too big for him when he’s out there.”
Q: How are the running backs handling the split?
A: “I think collectively, they all take pride in getting that run game going. In our locker room, we have a lot of unselfish guys. When the ball is going in a lot of different directions and guys care only about winning and being productive on the offensive side of the ball, it’s fun to be a part of.”
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