There are some monumental days in Matt Ryan's career with the Atlanta Falcons, beginning the day he was selected by the team in the first round (3rd pick overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Just more than five years later, Falcons Owner and Chairman Arthur Blank proved how much he valued Ryan, offering the franchise quarterback a five-year extension on July 25, 2013. While Blank appreciates what Ryan has meant to the organization in the past, he's also excited to see what's next for his star signal-caller.
"I think the next five, six, seven years are going to be critical in terms of maximizing his talent and his ability to be our franchise quarterback and be our leader on the field," Blank said.
If Ryan responds to having a new head coach like he has after signing his two contracts with the team, Blank should be able to rest easy. The 29-year-old Falcons quarterback currently owns 18 franchise records, including throwing for 4,000-plus yards in four-straight seasons.
In 2014, Ryan completed 415-of-628 pass attempts (66.1 percent) for 4,694 yards with 28 touchdowns, 14 interceptions, and a 93.9 passer rating. He fell 25 yards short of eclipsing his own franchise record of 4,719 passing yards in 2012, his second Pro Bowl season.
Ryan's prime years in the NFL will be played under the direction of a new head coach, something Blank says will factor into the hiring process.
"I think this decision is a critical one in that regard," Blank said. "We want to make sure we take advantage of the opportunity. He (Ryan) may not be a part of the interview process, but his presence in this franchise and his presence on the team and in the community is going to be a very important factor for our success and in attracting what we think is an outstanding list of candidates to be potentially our head coach as we go forward."