Here’s what Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan had to say on Wednesday:
On Cleveland’s defense: “I think they lead the league in turnovers. I think they’ve done a good job in the secondary of making plays and passing the ball in the air and coming up with interceptions. I think they’ve also done a nice job of forcing fumbles and they’re aggressive when they tackle of trying to knock the ball out. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen from them on film.”
On whether the feel of the players in the system and how to utilize them correctly is underrated from an offensive coordinator: “Probably another question I haven’t given much thought to. I can just speak from my experience, it’s important. It’s very important to utilize what you have the best way that you can and the offenses that I’ve been a part of that have been successful do that. And they’ve been different throughout my entire career. We’ve had different guys in the ten and a half years that I’ve been here so it’s definitely important. I don’t know how much fans or other people value that, or don’t. From experience, I think it’s very important.”
On what it’s like to have Deion Jones back out there and seeing a Pro Bowl linebacker on the scout team: “Seen enough of it in the offseason and training camp. He’s a great player, I’m happy for him that he’s able to get back out on the field and start to practice. He’s put in a lot of hard work in terms of rehab, we’ve seen him a ton up here and the amount of time that he’s put in so I’m happy he was able to get out there today.”
On the many criticisms that were aimed at Steve Sarkisian and the offense last year, what does he believe was the most unfair: “I guess I’d have to know all of those criticisms. The biggest thing was probably just it’s not always the easiest situation to come in and replace and have to be the guy that adjusts to 25 or 26 guys. Like anything in life, it takes time to get a feel for things and I still think that he did a good job last year. That’s the biggest knock of anything, people forget we were in the playoffs and we won a playoff game against an excellent defense out there last year with him dialing up the plays and calling plays for us. I think more so than anything that gets undervalued sometimes the success that we had last year.”
On whether he keeps an eye on what’s going on around the league such as guys that join other teams or where they rank in the standings: “You see it. I definitely see it for sure. It’s nonstop. The coverage of our league right now is nonstop. So it’s not like I’m actively searching it but you can’t miss it. You see what other teams are doing and you see some of the guys that are getting picked. You see Dez Bryant going to the Saints. You see us picking up Bruce Irvin so you see some of those things and what’s going on around the league. But you put it aside and you focus on what you’ve got coming up in the week and the opponent that we’re going against.”
On the success that the other two NFC South teams are having: “Yeah, we know where to stand in the division for sure. We know the teams that we’ve played really well. I know the Saints have won like six in a row or whatever it’s been for them. They’re playing really good team football right now. Carolina is another good football team. Tampa has had a couple of tough weeks but they’re talented as well. The division that we play in is tough and we certainly understand where we’re at in the division.”
On the play of rookie running back Ito Smith:
“He’s gotten better for us every week. I’ve been really impressed by his growth game to game. It’s pretty cool to see that from young players, specifically rookies. To see how much they work at it and to see how much they learn. The questions that he asks, he’s a smart player. He’s asking the right questions, he’s locked into what he needs to be focused on. He’s talented. You see it with his touchdown run last week, ability to accelerate, jump, stay on his feet, stay behind his pads and to carry guys into the end zone. He’s a good player. He’s played really well for us.”
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