Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Ravens:
On practice today: “It was a good practice. I thought the intensity, the effort, the mindset was good across the board. We’ve got to stack it, we’ve got to have a good practice tomorrow and keep that going the remainder of the week so we’re ready to go Sunday when we kick it off.”
On the running attack – how much focus is getting that going: “Yeah, I think it’s important for us to get the run game going. I think there are a number of factors that lead into that too. We have to play from up front, we have to play from a space where we’re able to call runs and stay balanced. I think we have to be more productive across the board both in the run game and the pass game on first down. So that we’re in second-and-6 or less where we have the full playbook available to us. At the end of the day, our execution as players needs to be better. We have to do a better job within our assignments. So, I think the mindset of those three things is really important for us this week and that certainly has been the case for us in practice and in our meetings.”
On going up against the Ravens defense which is first in the league: “They’re certainly playing really well on the defensive side of the ball. I think you mentioned they’re number one in points allowed, number one in yards allowed. They’ve just been stingy, they do a nice job in terms of using different looks. In terms of pressure packages and blitz packages, they have a number of different ways to get after you both in the run game and in the pass game. So we’ve got to play well up front for sure, and at all positions, we have to play well. But we have to be on top of our plan when you go against a defense like this that gives you a bunch of different looks you have to be on top of your rules both in the run game and in the pass game.”
On the turnovers last week: “Yeah I mean that hasn’t been us this year, but it was us this past week and it’s certainly something that we have to clean up and something that we have to get better at. When we get our chances in that part of the field we have to come away with touchdowns. And that’s something that throughout most of the year we’ve done a nice job of. Was not the case last week so that’s definitely a point of emphasis for us this week.”
On preparing for the blitzing by the Ravens: “Yeah, they do a lot of different things. I think the best thing they do is a disguise of where they’re bringing things from. That makes it difficult on you if you’re chasing too many different things. For us, it’s going to be important to lock in what we do and be sound in our pass protection and our identification of where guys are at, but they give you a lot of different looks.”
On the offensive line: “I think they’ve done a good job. Our guys up front, they’re tough and they have a lot of pride and they practiced well today. I think their mindset and approach has been right all year and I think they’ll play well.”
On Zane Beadles: “I’m comfortable with all of our guys. I see how they approach it week in and week out and I know we have a great coaching staff that gets our guys ready to play. Specifically, Zane has done a great job. He’s a veteran guy who's played for a long time. You can tell he is very professional in his approach. That’s been the case since he’s stepped into this building. We have confidence in him just like we have confidence in the rest of our guys.”
On the run game and collaboration throughout the week with Steve Sarkisian: “No there’s definitely dialogue in all facets of all of our plans in the run game, pass game, protection, all those things there’s an open dialogue throughout the week. Obviously, we don’t want to put things in that don’t look good. But I just think the execution to me has been a bigger thing. We have to execute better. Quite frankly, we have to be in a better position in ball games. We can’t play from behind like we have in the last couple of weeks and expect to run the football at a high rate, you have to throw the ball in those types of situations to get yourself back into it. So to me, it’s staying in front, staying in front of the chains, staying in front of the game and making sure we have all of our things available to us.”
On whether he is in a position where he wants more run calls: “I think as a quarterback I would be lying if I said I was asking for the run calls. No that’s definitely part of what we talk about on the sidelines for sure.”
On My Cause My Cleats initiative: “This year I think first it’s a great initiative that the NFL has done. I have two causes that I’ve put on my cleats. One is the Northside Hospital NICU here in Atlanta and the March of Dimes. Both of those are important to me personally. Obviously, my sons were born prematurely here in Atlanta so they spent five to six weeks respectively at Northside in the NICU and had unbelievable care there. Doctor Sandy Jun was amazing with spearheading the treatment and the care for our boys. To her and the nurses and to everybody that was there that helped us through that time, it was a huge thank you and that’s why I wanted to put them on my cleats as a way to say thank you. For March of Dimes it’s to create awareness for that cause and to try and raise money for both the mothers and the babies that are still in the womb and born prematurely to give them the best chance that they can have from day one and those are two things that are really close to my hear and my wife’s heart.”
On the most tense moment through that process: “I think the most nerve-wracking time for us both was when Sarah got admitted to the hospital last year in January. Not knowing what was going on. I think for anyone that has had children prematurely or has had a pregnancy or is on bed rest in the hospital, the scariest part is when they talk to you about survival rates for children born at certain times. That was probably the hardest thing to go through for the both of us. It was amazing for her to spend as much time and to keep our boys in there as long as she did to get the boys to a spot where they could thrive when they were born. We’re both very lucky and very fortunate for that to be the case.”
On message to couples that deal with that: “One, there’s a lot of people that are thinking of you and are praying for you. There’s a lot of support, I know it can be a stressful and lonely time but there are some amazing doctors. And there’s a lot of people out there researching things to make sure that every baby has the best chance and every mom has the best chance for a healthy outcome in these situations.”
On the significance of the absence of Devonta Freeman:
“It’s certainly hard when you have a talented player like him, he makes a ton of plays for us in that. So it’s always difficult to replace those guys. We’ve been fortunate to have two really good running backs to step up without him there but when you have great players you want to have them available. I don’t know how much it affects it but probably certainly effects it at some level but our other guys have done a nice job.”
On beyond his skill set is there a portion of the run game he brings that is missing: “I think everybody has a different flavor. To me, we don’t call plays differently for our guys. The way they might run them might be a little differently but the calls, the calls are really the same.”
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.